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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Houston VA Nurses Recognized for Excellence

October 17, 2012 

On September 6, 2012, the Good Samaritan Foundation hosted its annual Excellence in Nursing Awards Luncheon. The event honors nurses who demonstrate a passion for the nursing profession and the desire to excel beyond expectations. Winners included seven nurses from the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC).  

The Gold Award winner in the Clinical Practice in a Large Hospital category was Omana Simon DNP, RN, FNP-BC.  The Bronze Award winners in the Clinical Practice in a Large Hospital category were Arceli Katigbak MSN, RN, CCRN; Sybill Kyle MSN, RN-BC; Beth Reimschissel MSN, RN; and Laterrica Stringfellow MSN, RN. The Bronze Award winner in the Clinical Practice in Hospice/Home Health Care/ Clinic/Other Setting category was Eron Wahid MSN, RN-BC, CNL. The Bronze Award winner in the Nursing Education Clinician category was Charlotte Joubert MSN, RN, CEN, CNL.
Founded in 1951, the Good Samaritan Foundation encourages nursing excellence through a variety of supported programs: assisting nursing students with the cost of their professional education, faculty development at nursing schools, continuing education for practicing nurses, innovative nursing research, and recognition and reward programs for nurses who demonstrate excellence in teaching and practice.

The Good Samaritan Foundation created the Excellence in Nursing Awards to recognize nursing's "best and brightest."  Nurses are nominated by their peers and selected by a distinguished committee of nursing leaders. Nominated nurses must exemplify excellence in teaching, mentoring, leadership, and service. By rewarding exemplary teachers and practitioners, Good Samaritan is helping retain quality nurses in this vital profession.

In January 2009, the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation's leading nursing credentialing organization, again granted its Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services to the MEDVAMC. The MEDVAMC is only the second VA medical center in the nation to achieve this recognition, and remains in the group of fellow Texas Medical Center facilities with Magnet status; The Methodist Hospital, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Texas Children's Hospital, and The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

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Awarded re-designation for Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services in 2008, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center serves as the primary health care provider for more than 130,000 Veterans in southeast Texas and provides some of the most complex care within the VA Health Care System. The DeBakey VA employs nearly 3,600 staff and is one of 49 institutions within the prestigious Texas Medical Center, one of the largest health and research centers in the world. The DeBakey VA is home to a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic; Network Polytrauma Center; award-winning Cardiac and General Surgery Program; Liver Transplant Center; Epilepsy and Cancer Centers of Excellence; Substance Abuse Disorder Quality Enhancement Research Initiative; Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence; Rehabilitation Research of Excellence focusing on mild to moderate traumatic brain injury; Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center; $26.8 million Research and Development Program; and Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Center. The hospital offers sophisticated, cutting-edge technology such as PET/CT imaging, the Evident™ microwave ablation system, a CyberKnife®, a Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, a Philips Wide Bore Computed Tomography Simulator, the OR•Control System, the Abiomed Impella 2.5 catheter-based heart pump, and the Sapien heart valve. For more than 60 years, the DeBakey VA has served as the primary teaching facility for our major affiliate, Baylor College of Medicine and operates one of the largest VA residency programs in the nation. Each academic year, more than 2,179 students are trained through 194 affiliation agreements with institutions of higher learning. Including the outpatient clinics in Beaumont, Conroe, Galveston, Houston, Lufkin, Richmond, and Texas City, MEDVAMC outpatient clinics logged almost 1.3 million outpatient visits in fiscal year 2011.

For the latest news releases and information about the MEDVAMC, visit