Honored for Ability to Make Personal Connections With Challenging Patients
Whether driving 40 miles to deliver medication to a patient recently discharged from the hospital or using her kindness and compassion to reach and treat veterans besieged by aggression, personality disorders and mental illness, Robyn Anderson, APRN, BC-PC, a nurse at the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, exemplifies to those around her the very art of nursing.
For the unyielding inspiration and undivided attention that she provides in challenging circumstances, she has received the prestigious Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. She is one of only 10 honorees nationwide to receive the award.
The award is granted annually by Cherokee Uniforms to recognize nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals who demonstrate exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation and have a positive impact on others' lives. This is the 5th year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers.
"When a family member sends a note saying, ‘As soon as I heard your footsteps in the hall, I knew everything would be OK,' your feet don't ache quite so much, and that long Saturday shift isn't so bad."
"Robyn has been able to peel away the layers of aggression, personality disorder and mental illness to show many of us on the team the person and soul inside each patient who needs our help. This is where she adds the most value. This is the art in nursing," says Susan Cohen, a colleague who nominated Robyn for the award.
This year, Robyn cared for a young man who was dying of advanced AIDS. Because of the state of his health, he was often abusive to the hospital staff and his family. Without hesitation, Robyn began caring for the man – encouraging him with her inspirational spirit. By providing a comforting ear and implementing firm limitations, she ultimately gained his respect. He faced many challenges at the end of his life: reconciling with his family, forgiveness and a life review. Robyn believed in him and saw his potential. She led him, his family and the team on a transformational journey. "This case was one our greatest challenges but one of our biggest success stories. This journey was led by the compassion and skill of Robyn," says Cohen.
"When a patient holds your hand, smiles at you and says, ‘Thank you for being here for me. Your voice, touch and skill allowed me to get through what seemed unbearable,' the gratification you feel is immeasurable," says Robyn. "As a nurse, I am privileged to be a part of someone's life and to help ease some of the most difficult moments and share some of the happiest ones."
As a Top National Winner in the award's APN category, Anderson receives an all-expense-paid trip to a 2008 medical conference, annual membership to her preferred clinical institution, a $500 donation to her preferred nonprofit organization, a crystal award and a wardrobe of Cherokee healthcare apparel. She also will appear in the nationally distributed Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award 2008 calendar.
Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 5,300 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 received in 2007, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 to national health-centered charities. The total amount was divided equally among the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and the Alzheimer's Association. Since 2005, Cherokee has donated over $3,300. 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 2008 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1, 2008 through May 31, 2008.