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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Nurses Honored During National Nurses Week

May 7, 2013

Honorees of the "Excellence in Nursing Awards." From left to right: Everett Guillot; Patrick Kuykendall; Maria Mendoza, RN; Commeletta Taylor, LVN; and Roric Hawkins, RN.

The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) joins the American Nurses Association in honoring America’s nurses during this year’s National Nurses Week.

“Delivering Quality and Innovation in Patient Care” is the theme for this year’s celebration, which focuses on recognizing the hard work and accomplishments of America’s 3.1 million registered nurses as they work to save lives and maintain the health of millions of patients.

Annually, National Nurses Week begins on May 6, marked as RN Recognition Day, and ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of nursing as a modern profession. During this week, nurses at MEDVAMC are being honored with the “Nurse All-Star Recognitions Ceremony,” a Nurses Give Back Day, Research Day, School Fair/Continuing Education Day,  and individual unit activities.

MEDVAMC nursing staff Roric Hawkins, RN; Maria Mendoza, RN; Commeletta Taylor, LVN; Patrick Kuykendall, NA; and Everett Guillot, will be honored during the hospital’s "Excellence in Nursing Awards" ceremony.

Registered nurse Roric Hawkins, holds a Master of Science in nursing, and is the Safe Patient Handling and Movement Coordinator for the hospital’s clinical practice office. As a result of his program, injuries related to lifting and moving patients at MEDVAMC has seen an approximate 50% reduction. His work has recently been recognized by Sigma Theta Tau International's 22nd International Nursing Research Congress for an abstract that he co-authored regarding the Safe Patient Handling and Movement program.  His pleasant personality and strong work ethic has made him a role model throughout the medical center.

Registered nurse Maria Mendoza is a staff nurse in the eye clinic. She has served as the Chairperson for the Emergency and Disaster Preparedness program and organized relief efforts to the Philippine Undoy calamity victims, Haiti earthquake victims, and Houston fire victims. Her arduous work in the Philippines has led her to be a recipient of the Outstanding Service Award. She volunteers her expertise and time in health fairs and fundraising activities. She was recently selected as a finalist in the Humanitarian and Community service category at the prestigious Horizon Awards. Mendoza takes pride in her professional practice, her contributions to the quality of patient care, and her work at the VA hospital, local community, and far reaching countries.

Licensed vocational nurse Commeletta Taylor, Operative Care Line, is recognized by her peers as an outstanding team member who displays a harmonious and cooperative spirit, and promotes productive team work on the unit. She ensures appropriate and safe resources are available on the unit for all Veterans. Her knowledge and understanding of human behavior is well evidenced by the multiple compliments from patients, relatives and co-workers.

Nursing assistant Patrick Kuykendall volunteered at the MEDVAMC for many years before becoming a permanent employee in the Spinal Cord Injury Care Line. He received the President's Volunteer Service Award in 2007 and the MEDVAMC Volunteer of the Year Award in 2005. His caring nature and attention to detail has always been a marvel and he is definitely an asset.

Medical unit assistant Everett Guillot, Extended Care Line, has demonstrated effectiveness in improving and delivering patient care to Veterans. A Marine Corps Veteran, Guillot maintains the discipline and standards he learned during his military service.   Guillot is extremely dependable and always willing to provide assistance in any situation.

"These outstanding members of our health care team demonstrate the skill and compassion that make VA health care second to none,” said Adam C. Walmus, M.H.A., M.A., F.A.C.H.E., Medical Center director.  “They are leaders in our goal of providing quality health care to true heroes, our nation’s Veterans.”

MEDVAMC employs more than 950 nursing staff working at all professional levels and in a variety of specialties. This integrated nursing team – composed of Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses, and nursing assistants – provides comprehensive, complex, and compassionate care to the nation’s Veterans. They are part of a VA national workforce of nearly 77,000 nurses.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System – the largest integrated health care system in the country - has one of the largest nursing staffs of any health care system in the world. The VA Nursing Service integrates a wide array of services, encompassing patient care, clinical practice, education, research, and administration.

Traditionally, National Nurses Week is devoted to highlighting the diverse ways in which registered nurses, who comprise the largest health care profession, are working to improve health care. From bedside nursing in hospitals and long-term care facilities to the halls of research institutions, state legislatures, and Congress, the depth and breadth of the nursing profession is meeting the expanding health care needs of American society and its Veterans.