Nurses association shows appreciation for all outstanding nurses in Southern Maryland
In light of Nurses Appreciation Week, May 6-12, the Maryland Nurses Association District 9 hosted an awards dinner to celebrate and honor the care, kindness and patience shown by nurses in Southern Maryland.
Nurses and guests attended the awards dinner and heard a presentation, “Silent Killers: GYN Cancers,” by Dr. Ngozi Wexler, at Middleton Hall in Waldorf.
Michele Gleitsmann, president of the Maryland Nurses Association District 9 board, said the association supports the nursing students and nurses in the association’s three counties, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s, with a combination of awards.
“It’s important for the nurses that we recognize each other and make sure the community learns of our good work. People have seen the good work we do, what we accomplish, and the pride and respect we feel for one another,” Gleitsmann said.
Gleitsmann said that in order to decide which nurses to nominate, they take into consideration each nurse and nursing student’s work criteria, their education, their professional organizations and their peers’ opinion of them. The association then meets to choose a winner.
Southern Maryland nurses were recognized through awards such as the Grace E. Brown Scholarship Award for Advanced Practice, won by Kelley Cooper and Andrea Doctor; the JoAnne Zwick Caring Award, won by Gail Lessner, the Student of the Year Award, won by Christine Hurry; the Nurse of the Year Award, won by Nona Alexander; and the Grace E. Brown Educator Award won by Mary Hannah, manager of population health management at the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center.
“I’m really honored to be here representing my hospital. I’ve done a lot of education for patients, nurses and for people in community health,” Hannah said. “This award shows me that what I’ve done has been recognized, especially to be nominated by one of my hospital’s community organizations that we work with, that speaks a lot to population health. I graduated nursing school back in 2001 so 15 years into it now, although I do feel like nursing is its own reward, to receive an award like this, reignites my fire for what I do.”
Wexler, a board certified minimally invasive gynecologist and medical director of the OB/GYN Hospitalist Program at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, told the room of about 100 nurses how to identify common gynecological cancers, each cancer’s risk factors, most common symptoms, as well as the best practice management options for nurses, during her presentation at the district’s awards dinner.
“Congratulations to the nurses who have won awards,” Wexler said. “Nurses are around patients constantly so I’m hoping that the nurses who were present can now diagnose or recognize the most common symptoms of cancer of the gynecologic organs so that they can better help their patients and also to prevent these cancers from becoming as prevalent as they currently are.”
Rose Essex, a certified diabetes educator and vice president of the District 9 board, said nursing isn’t just at the bedside, because a nurse is first and foremost a teacher and people lose track of that.
“I hope people gain a better understanding of what nurses do and not just in a hospital because we also work in the community and we’re members of the community so we encourage education among our younger people and we honor the ones who are working in the trenches everyday,” Essex said.
Gleitsmann and Essex said by the year 2020 a bachelor’s degree is going to be the minimal required education level to become a nurse and many institutions are working toward getting all of the nurses who have already obtained an associate’s degree or high school diploma to move forward with obtaining their bachelor’s degree.
“It was a professional decision made by nurses about nursing education and that’s where the future of nursing is headed,” Gleitsmann said.
Award winners of the evening include, from left, gentleman accepting the award for Eden Bautista; Haidee Azul; Mary Hannah, winner of the Grace E. Brown award; Nona Alexander, Nurse of the Year Award winner; and Maryland Nurses Association District 9 President Michele Gleitsmann.
St. Mary’s Commissioner John E. O’Connor read the Nurses Appreciation Week proclamation for Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties on May 9 at the Maryland Nurses Association District 9 awards dinner.
The Maryland Nurses Association District 9 Awards Dinner at Middleton Hall in Waldorf on May 9 had approximately 100 nurses and medical professionals in attendance.