2006 Inspired Comfort Top National Winner — Registered Nurse Category
West Virginia Nurse Dedicates Time to Serve
Diabetic Kids and Katrina Refugees
When James Bowers' shift ends at the West Virginia University Hospital, in Fairmont, W.Va., his work is far from finished. A true giver of time, he dedicates countless hours as a volunteer to help care for those in need. He is a strong supporter of Camp Kno-Koma, a weeklong summer camp held in West Virginia for children with diabetes. And when victims of Hurricane Katrina were sent to West Virginia's Camp Dawson, Bowers kept working full-time at the hospital and volunteered at the camp to ensure that everyone's medical needs were met. For his dedication, he is one of only 11 people nationwide to receive the prestigious Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.
The award is granted annually by Cherokee Uniforms - a leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel - to recognize nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals who demonstrate exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation and have a positive impact on others' lives.
“Nursing is a profession that can be built on. Nurses can further their career path while still earning a good living and still help people. There are so many advanced roles for nurses to pursue… The possibilities are unlimited and rewarding.”
- James Bowers
Bowers was nominated for the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award by his colleague, Jennifer Malcolm, who explained that Bowers works throughout the year preparing for Camp Kno-Koma by gathering snacks, craft materials and money to help send children to the camp. Then, he takes a week of his vacation time to volunteer as one of the cabin nurses.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Bowers collected personal items, scrub suits, uniforms and money for nurses who had been affected by the storm. He then took another week of his vacation to volunteer at a medical clinic housed in a church in Mississippi. While there, he delivered medical supplies to the community and made house calls to those who were unable to make it to the clinic.
Bowers has also held many important positions in professional organizations in his field. He was the first male nurse to be elected president of the Association of Operation Room Nurses of North Central West Virginia and was later chosen as the Orthopedic Special Assembly newsletter editor and the national chair of the Trauma Special Assembly. He was asked to participate in the Membership Task Force for the national Association of Operating Room Nurses and to be on a committee to promote nursing to high school students. Bowers was also asked to help assess questions for the certification exam of operating room nurses on behalf of the Competency and Credentialing Institute.
"I like being a nurse because there is nothing more rewarding than knowing that I'm helping someone or their family," said Bowers. "I would recommend my profession to all young people, both male and female."
As a Top National Winner in the award's RN category, Bowers receives an all-expense-paid trip to a 2007 U.S. medical conference of his choice, an annual membership to a clinical organization, a $500 donation to the nonprofit organization of his choice, a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Rockers Footwear worth more than $1,000, a 2006 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy and placement in Cherokee's 2007 Inspired Comfort Award calendar.
Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 4,200 healthcare professionals have been nominated in the Registered Nurse, Advanced Practice Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse, Student Nurse and Non-Physician Healthcare Professional categories. A panel of nursing professionals and Cherokee representatives evaluates nominations and grants the awards.
For every nomination, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 to Nurses House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship. Since 2005, Cherokee has donated $2,200. Proceeds from Cherokee Uniforms products support healthcare professionals through initiatives such as the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award, an annual calendar and the A Nurse I Am Film and Scholarship Program. Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2007 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1, 2007 through May 31, 2007.