2006 Inspired Comfort Award National Winner — Registered Nurse Category
“Semi-retired” Nurse Goes Full Time to
Help a Fellow Nurse in Need
Not long after she and her husband relocated to Georgia about five years ago with plans of retiring in their riverfront home and escaping to a life of sailing, Margaret "Peggy" Hurley found herself wanting to return to her longtime profession of 42 years as a registered nurse. She accepted a position at Southeast Georgia Health Systems, Camden Campus, in St. Marys, as a PRN in the emergency room. For her devotion to and compassion for her patients and co-workers, she has received the prestigious Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. Hurley is one of only 11 honorees nationwide in 2006.
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.
Carolyn Roberts, the nurse manager of the ER who nominated Hurley for the award, said, "Peggy came to us with years of ER experience, a heart of gold, the energy level of a teenager and no experience with computer documentation! Just watching Peggy spend an extra minute with a patient to adjust a pillow, listen to a family member, or explain a basic nursing function to a frightened patient reminds all of us why we went into nursing to begin with and empowers us with the desire to utilize our time better for the patient and not the computer!"
“I have been a nurse for 42 years. The greatest joy is when you know you made a difference in a patient's life. Great joy and satisfaction come when patients who have had close calls come back to tell you that you made a difference and to thank you.”
— Margaret Hurley
Even though she considers herself retired, her co-workers would argue that she's "semi-retired." In May 2005, a colleague was diagnosed with breast cancer and faced a future of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. This nurse was a mother and had a husband in the military. She needed her full-time job. The staff scrambled to help by covering shifts and donating their vacation hours to help her through the difficult time. They did this to hold her full-time day-shift position for her so that she could return to work when able.
Hurley began picking up several of the shifts before telling her supervisor that she would completely cover all of them until her colleague was able to return. Hurley worked full time for nearly half the year, a stint that consisted of three 12-hour shifts per week, every other weekend and scheduled holidays. Peggy, like her co-worker who has since returned to work, is also a breast cancer survivor. She volunteers for the American Cancer Society and provides emotional support to others who have been diagnosed with the disease.
As a National Prize Winner in the award's RN category, Peggy receives an all-expense-paid trip to a 2007 U.S. medical conference of her choice, an annual membership to a clinical organization, 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.