Award Story

Auburn, Maine nurse practitioner recognized for efforts to protect at-risk children

Cherokee Uniforms announced today that Bill Legere, FNP, ACNP, a family nurse practitioner at Central Maine Medical Center, is a winner of its 11th annual Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. Legere is among six care providers across the country to be named a national award winner, selected for their impact on the lives of others through extraordinary patient care, sacrifice and innovation while serving as an inspiration to others. Legere is the national Inspired Comfort Award winner in the Advanced Practice Nurse category.

After the tragic death of his daughter, Grace, in 1993, Legere became a fierce advocate for at-risk children – in Maine and around the world.

“Bill is the consummate patient

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advocate,” said Mary McRae, a nurse manager at Central Maine Medical Center, a 2004 Inspired Comfort Award winner and Legere’s nominator.” He works tirelessly to support what he feels every child needs – hope and grace.”

Legere started the non-profit Foundation of Hope and Grace to serve as a voice for at-risk women and children, especially victims of child abuse, domestic violence and human trafficking. The foundation partners with like-minded organizations around the world to protect, educate and nurture. Legere also co-founded the Not Here Justice in Action Network to elevate the awareness of human trafficking and exploitation in his home state of Maine and to facilitate a collaborative safety net for women and children among law enforcement, social service agencies, educators, healthcare workers and the faith community.

“Cherokee is thrilled to recognize Bill Legere for his dedication, compassion and determination to advocate for children around the world who are at risk of being harmed or killed. He joins all of this year’s winners as a model for providing outstanding care, as well as inspiration to their peers,” said Michael Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee Uniforms. “We are proud to honor Bill for his exemplary service which benefits women and children each and every day.”

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Navarre, Florida nurse practitioner recognized for extraordinary commitment to her community

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Cherokee Uniforms, a leading provider of healthcare apparel, announced today that Romeatrius Moss, RN, MSN, APHN-BC, DNP, Health Care Integrator and Disease Manager with the 1st Special Operations Medical Group at Hurlburt Field Air Force Base in Florida, is a winner of its 11th annual Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. Moss is among six care providers across the country to be named a national award winner, selected for their impact on the lives of others through extraordinary patient care, sacrifice and innovation while serving as an inspiration to others. Moss is the grand prize Inspired Comfort Award winner in the Advanced Practice Nurse category.

Moss is responsible for ensuring that members of the military receive healthcare that is timely, appropriate and cost-effective, and she recently served as deputy consultant to the U.S. Air Force Surgeon General for Disease Management. While the military portion of her resume is impressive, it is her work done off the clock on behalf of residents of Mississippi, which is even more remarkable.

Moss founded the Mississippi Gulf Coast Black Nurse Association (MGCBNA) and established the Mississippi Gulf Coast chapter of the Medical Reserve Corps, which focuses on improving the health and safety of local communities while helping to prepare for and respond to public health and medical emergencies.

“Romeatrius has the unique ability to inspire and encourage healthcare professionals to take ownership of their community and use their skills and knowledge to combat the gap in healthcare disparities,” said Jazmin Shawell-Wallace, an Air Force obstetrical nurse and Moss’s nominator.

Since Moss founded the MGCBNA in 2008, she has mentored more than

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500 nurses and impacted more than 200,000 coastal residents through education and healthcare services. She has created and implemented 20 programs for the association, including HIV/AIDS prevention programs and a teen pregnancy-reduction program for female African-American students in fourth through eleventh grades. In 2012 alone, she donated more than 1200 hours to the communities that she serves.

“Cherokee is thrilled to recognize Romeatrius Moss for her dedication, compassion and innovation. She joins all of this year’s winners as a model for providing outstanding care, as well as inspiration to her peers,” said Michael Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee Uniforms. “We are proud to honor Romeatrius for her exemplary service to military service members and staff and to healthcare professionals and residents who benefit from her commitment to improving communities and lives.”

Monday, October 28th, 2013

90-year-old Omaha resident recognized for exceptional service

Cherokee Uniforms announced today that Joe Grier, a “Volunteer Companion” at Alegent Creighton Health Bergan Mercy Medical Center, is a winner of its 11th annual Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. Grier is among six care providers across the country to be named a national award winner, selected for their impact on the lives of others through extraordinary care, sacrifice and innovation while serving as an inspiration to others. Grier is a national grand prize Inspired Comfort Award winner in the non-physician category.

For the last two years, the 90-year-old volunteer has spent every Wednesday afternoon with elderly dementia patients at Bergan Mercy Medical Center. In his role as a “Volunteer Companion” in the post intensive care unit, Grier eases loneliness and reduces anxiety in elderly patients who have no family or visitors and/or are suffering from dementia.

“Joe delights not only our patients, families, visitors and staff on the nursing unit, but he spreads his special kind of magic everywhere in the hospital,” said Cheryl Morehouse, manager of Volunteer & Guest Services at Bergan Mercy Medical Center. “He doesn’t see himself or what he does as remarkable. The key to his actions is that he

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is not afraid to love.”

While in his 80’s Grier decided to challenge himself and learn Spanish. Due to Bergan Mercy Medical Center’s diverse patient population, this skill has been put to good use. He is often heard praying in Spanish with patients who have limited or no English language skills. In addition to his service at Bergan Mercy Medical Center, Grier also distributes Communion each week at a nearby hospital.

“Cherokee is thrilled to recognize Joe Grier for his compassion and dedication to patients who are suffering from an immensely

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difficult condition. He joins all of this year’s winners as a model for providing outstanding care and inspiration,” said Michael Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee Uniforms. “We are very proud to honor this remarkable man for his exemplary service which benefits patients in their times of need.”

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

New Windsor, NY resident recognized for her commitment to help fight cancer

Cherokee Uniforms announced today that Maggie Knight, a recently graduated nursing student

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at Stony Brook University, is a winner of its 11th annual Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. Knight is among six care providers across the country to be named a national award winner, selected for their impact on the lives of others through extraordinary patient care, sacrifice

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and innovation while serving as an inspiration to others. Knight is the grand prize Inspired Comfort Award winner in the Student Nurse category.

Though not yet a registered nurse, Knight has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to care for those in need. Serving as the president or co-chair of four charitable campus groups, Knight volunteered more than 350 hours over the past year, in addition to raising funds to support families during the holidays. She personally raised more than $4,300 by bicycling from Baltimore to San Diego, as part of a team that raised money for 4K for Cancer, a program of the Ullman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. The team spent one day of each week performing service in communities across the nation.

“Maggie is compassionate, empathetic, high energy and gives 110 percent to everyone,” said Linda Bily, director of patient advocacy and community outreach at Stony Brook University and Knight’s nominator. “She is committed to the cause of cancer, passionate about the patients and is going to make a superb nurse.”

Knight’s determination to make a difference for those affected by cancer led her to drive a campaign that resulted in Stony Brook University receiving a $10,000 grant from the LIVESTRONG Foundation for Camp Kesem, a college student-run summer camp for kids with a parent who has or has had cancer.

“Cherokee is thrilled to recognize Maggie Knight for her dedication, compassion and commitment on behalf of those who deserve help. She joins all of this year’s winners as a model for providing outstanding care, as well as inspiration to their peers,” said Michael Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee Uniforms. “We are very proud to honor Maggie for her exemplary service which benefits those in her community.”

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Charlottesville, VA resident recognized for her dedication to serving women and children at home and in India

Cherokee Uniforms announced today that Kristin von Thelen, a registered nurse at Martha Jefferson Hospital, is a winner of its 11th annual Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. She is among six care providers across the country to be named a national award winner, selected for their impact on the lives of others through extraordinary patient care, sacrifice and innovation. Von Thelen is the national grand prize Inspired Comfort Award winner in the Registered Nurse category.

Von Thelen’s passion for caring for others extends beyond the walls of the hospital where she serves as a labor and delivery nurse. For the last 20 years, von Thelen has donated time, services and expertise in her community. She serves at the Charlottesville Free Clinic, treating the working uninsured population. Additionally, she serves on the Women’s Committee at Martha Jefferson Hospital, which has raised millions of dollars for women’s health initiatives. Since 1991 the veteran nurse has served on six voluntary medical outreaches to India, joining teams of doctors, dentists, physical therapists and other nurses to help children with cleft lip, cleft palate, burns, scars, and other skin malformations. In years that she has not accompanied

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the team, she has donated more than 250 hours to help plan the outreaches and raise funds.

“Kristin, along with medical teams, conduct week-long plastic-reconstructive surgery camps in a small, remote town in India,” said Jean Blankenship, Magnet coordinator at Martha Jefferson Hospital and von Thelen’s nominator. “During the trips, the team screens close to 500 children and performs more than 100 surgeries free of charge, in sparsely furnished clinic rooms. Kristin’s commitment to make a difference in the lives of children across the globe is inspiring.”

“Cherokee is thrilled to recognize Kristin von Thelen for her dedication and compassion in helping provide exceptional care to children in need. She joins all of this year’s winners as a model for providing outstanding patient care, as well as inspiration to their peers,” said Michael Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee Uniforms. “We are proud to honor Kristin for her exemplary service which benefits women and children at home and in India.”

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Eagle, Nebraska resident recognized as exceptional health professional

Cherokee Uniforms announced today that Laurie Ketterl, RN and nurse manager at Bryan Medical Center, is a winner of its 11th annual Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. Ketterl is among six care providers across the country to be named a national award winner, selected for their impact on the lives of

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others through extraordinary patient care, sacrifice and innovation while serving as an inspiration to others. Ketterl is a national Inspired Comfort Award winner in the Registered Nurse category.

“Laurie is continually challenging her staff to think outside the box to provide excellent care to our patients,” said Beckie Trevino, an assistant nurse manager at Bryan Medical Center and Ketterl’s nominator.

Ketterl’s innovative thinking and compassion were demonstrated earlier this year when a critically ill new mother was separated from her premature baby, delivered at just 29 weeks, who remained in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Knowing that the mother, who had never seen her son, would soon be entering into a life-saving surgery, Ketterl was determined to reunite the family. And she did it through the use of technology — two iPads.

Ketterl used her personal iPad and quickly coordinated with the NICU nurses so they too had an iPad. Just before the mother went into surgery, Laurie set up a video call for the mother and child.

“Laurie held the iPad close and the mom was able to kiss her baby on the forehead via the LIVE screen. The baby kicked as his mom kissed him…no one in the rooms thought this was a coincidence,” said Trevino. “Being on the ventilator, the patient could not talk, but she looked at Laurie and mouthed ‘thank you’”. The hospital’s foundation was so impressed with Ketterl’s innovative, quick thinking that it funded iPads for the NICU.

The Inspired Comfort Award recognizes the significant contributions of professionals like Laurie while reinforcing the vital role these professions play in keeping Americans healthy.

“Cherokee is thrilled to recognize Laurie Ketterl for her dedication, compassion and innovation in providing exceptional care. She joins all of this year’s winners as a model for providing outstanding patient care, as well as inspiration to her peers,” said Michael Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee Uniforms. “We are proud to honor Laurie for turning a moment of sorrow into great joy.”

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Medical Center of Lewisville RN Named Grand Prize Winner of National Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award

Linda Wyman-Collins, a Fate, Tx. resident and registered nurse (RN) with the Medical Center of Lewisville, is a winner of the 10th annual Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.  Linda is among five healthcare professionals across the country to be named an award winner, selected for their impact on the lives of others through extraordinary patient care, sacrifice and innovation while serving as an inspiration to others. Linda is the grand prize winner of the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award in the RN category.

The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recognizes the significant contribution of these professionals to today’s society, while reinforcing the vital role of these professions in keeping Americans healthy. From staging the largest bone marrow drive in the state to rushing to the scene of a fire after a long day of work, the winners were selected for going above and beyond their job descriptions to selflessly serve others in a way truly inspiring to their peers.

A clinician, lobbyist, educator, community activist and volunteer, Linda has dedicated herself to improving the lives of others in an area of medicine very personal to her — hemophilia.  Linda’s passion and commitment to educating the community and healthcare professionals about bleeding disorders is seen through legislation, education and awareness efforts she has championed.  Her dedication to this cause, a condition that she lives with, is exemplified by opting to work the night shift in order to volunteer countless hours (over 1,000 in 2011) on this front during the day, including lobbying for funding for hemophilia treatment centers in the US.  Among her many notable achievements, she successfully lobbied the Texas Legislature for the reestablishment of the Texas Bleeding Disorders Advisory Council, which advises government entities on key data and outcomes.

“As a registered nurse, I like my work because it inspires others to become an advocate for themselves, especially when it comes to healthcare.” Linda said.  “My goal is to teach, empower and advocate for my patients and myself.”

The 2012 winners of the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award were announced in conjunction with its 10th anniversary. More than 10,000 healthcare professionals have been nominated since the inception of the award.  The award honors winners in categories including: Registered Nurses, Advance Practice Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses/Licensed Vocational Nurses, students enrolled in nursing schools, and other non-physician healthcare professionals. Judges selecting honorees include Cherokee Uniforms professionals, national nurse leaders and former Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients.

The grand prize winner in each category will receive an all-expenses-paid Caribbean cruise for two, and all other winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to a 2013 medical conference of their choice in the continental US.  All winners will receive a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear, a value of $1,000; a crystal Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin; a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses; and a $500 donation in their name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation.

Additionally, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 for each nomination received during the 2012 nomination period to Nurses House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing hardships.

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Banner Estrella Medical Center oncology nurse wins national Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award

Korinne Ashlock, a Phoenix-area licensed practical nurse (LPN) with Banner Estrella Medical Center, is a winner of the 10th annual Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.  Korinne is among five healthcare professionals across the country to be named an award winner, selected for their impact on the lives of others through extraordinary patient care, sacrifice and innovation while serving as an inspiration to others. Korinne is a national Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award winner in the LPN category.

The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recognizes the significant contribution of these professionals to today’s society, while reinforcing the vital role of these professions in keeping Americans healthy. From staging the largest bone marrow drive in the state to rushing to the scene of a fire after a long day of work, the winners were selected for going above and beyond their job descriptions to selflessly serve others in a way truly inspiring to their peers.

Korinne, who works in the oncology unit of Banner, had a young, Hispanic patient with leukemia who was unable to find a bone marrow match among his family.  Korinne helped organize and execute the first bone marrow drive at the hospital, resulting in the largest turnout in the state for that year with more than 700 people, including many Hispanics, responding. As a result of the drive, her patient and seven others received a match and subsequent bone marrow transplants. Korinne also stayed with the young man throughout his transplant and rushed to his side from her vacation when he became ill, supporting him and his family during his final hours. Her connection to the young man and the impact he had on the bone marrow drive inspired her to form a team in his name and raise $12,000 for Light the Night, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s walk in 2010 and $8,000 in 2011. She did all of this while proving exemplary and passionate care for all of her patients and raising four children, including three-year-old triplets.

“As an oncology nurse, I like my work because every day I have a chance to impact someone’s life during what is most likely the worst situation they will have to face,” Korinne said. “Most of the patients I care for have been taken hostage by a diagnosis of cancer and are in the fight of their lives. I get to walk alongside them during their battle and encourage them and share hope with them.”

The 2012 winners of the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award were announced in conjunction with its 10th anniversary. More than 10,000 healthcare professionals have been nominated since the inception of the award.  The award honors winners in categories including: Registered Nurses, Advance Practice Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses/Licensed Vocational Nurses, students enrolled in nursing schools, and other non-physician healthcare professionals. Judges selecting honorees include Cherokee Uniforms professionals, national nurse leaders and former Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients.

The grand prize winner in each category will receive an all-expenses-paid Caribbean cruise for two, and all other winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to a 2013 medical conference of their choice in the continental US.  All winners will receive a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear, a value of $1,000; a crystal Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin; a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses; and a $500 donation in their name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation.

Additionally, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 for each nomination received during the 2012 nomination period to Nurses House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing hardships.

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Heritage Valley Health System RN named national winner of the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award

Barbianne Davis, an Ambridge, Pa. resident and registered nurse with Heritage Valley Health System, is a winner of the 10th annual Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.  Barbianne is among five healthcare professionals across the country to be named an award winner, selected for their impact on the lives of others through extraordinary patient care, sacrifice and innovation while serving as an inspiration to others. Barbianne is a national Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award winner in the RN category.

The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recognizes the significant contribution of these professionals to today’s society, while reinforcing the vital role of these professions in keeping Americans healthy. From staging the largest bone marrow drive in the state to rushing to the scene of a fire after a long day of work, the winners were selected for going above and beyond their job descriptions to selflessly serve others in a way truly inspiring to their peers.

Home late from an evening shift, Barbianne heard about a large apartment fire in her town and set off at midnight to help – her nursing license and certifications in hand. Alongside the firefighters and the Red Cross, Barbianne was a first responder. Until almost dawn, she triaged and monitored residents and firefighters exiting the building; nine residents and three firefighters were treated at area hospitals. The next day Barbianne proactively worked with the Red Cross, advocating for and personally helping these newly homeless people to find shelter, all while mobilizing a team of individuals and churches to raise money for hotel rooms and gift cards for affected families. Barbianne continued her follow up for weeks until each family she had been working with received appropriate resources and housing. As a result of her efforts, the county began “Beaver County On-Call,” a program uniting 16 groups and churches who pledged to pay for at least a week at local motels for those displaced due to a natural disaster.

“I like my work as a registered nurse because I have the unique opportunity to serve others at a time when they are most vulnerable,” Barbianne said.  “In a culture where we are so often left to fend for ourselves, nursing has allowed me the chance to give to others in a way that has lasting effects.”

The 2012 winners of the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award were announced in conjunction with its 10th anniversary. More than 10,000 healthcare professionals have been nominated since the inception of the award.  The award honors winners in categories including: Registered Nurses, Advance Practice Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses/Licensed Vocational Nurses, students enrolled in nursing schools, and other non-physician healthcare professionals. Judges selecting honorees include Cherokee Uniforms professionals, national nurse leaders and former Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients.

The grand prize winner in each category will receive an all-expenses-paid Caribbean cruise for two, and all other winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to a 2013 medical conference of their choice in the continental US.  All winners will receive a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear, a value of $1,000; a crystal Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin; a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses; and a $500 donation in their name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation.

Additionally, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 for each nomination received during the 2012 nomination period to Nurses House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing hardships.

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital nurse wins national Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award

Sergeant Major Michael Robinson, a Kalamazoo, Mi. resident and licensed practical nurse (LPN) with Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital, is a winner of the 10th annual Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.  Michael is among five healthcare professionals across the country to be named an award winner, selected for their impact on the lives of others through extraordinary patient care, sacrifice and innovation while serving as an inspiration to others. Michael is a grand prize winner of the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award in the LPN category.

The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recognizes the significant contribution of these professionals to today’s society, while reinforcing the vital role of these professions in keeping Americans healthy. From staging the largest bone marrow drive in the state to rushing to the scene of a fire after a long day of work, the winners were selected for going above and beyond their job descriptions to selflessly serve others in a way truly inspiring to their peers.

Michael has led and directed fellow military colleagues in training and tactical maneuvers throughout his military career, promoting excellence and demonstrating that which he asks from others. As a planner of the military agenda portion of the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses (NFLPN) annual convention, Michael was the first military nurse to integrate a military agenda into a national nursing organization’s conference. As part of the 500 hours of volunteer work per year he devotes to the convention, he planned “The Mystic Warriors Competition” for military nurses. Michael’s idea incorporated this Army competition into the NFLPN so that military nurses could receive credit for both civilian and military certifications for the first time. The convention attracts military LPNs from as far away as Germany, and between 75 and 100 military LPNs benefit from this added exercise annually. Michael also lectures nationally for end-of-life care for veterans and was the 2011 recipient of the Lillian Kuster Award, the highest honor bestowed on an LPN.

“As a nurse I love my work because I love people,” Michael said. “Healthy people are the building blocks to everything that is good and true in life.  We sit with, encourage and comfort the sick while doing all that is humanly possible to restore the highest level of wellness.  This brings joy to my soul.”

The 2012 winners of the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award were announced in conjunction with its 10th anniversary. More than 10,000 healthcare professionals have been nominated since the inception of the award.  The award honors winners in categories including: Registered Nurses, Advance Practice Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses/Licensed Vocational Nurses, students enrolled in nursing schools, and other non-physician healthcare professionals. Judges selecting honorees include Cherokee Uniforms professionals, national nurse leaders and former Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients.

The grand prize winner in each category will receive an all-expenses-paid Caribbean cruise for two, and all other winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to a 2013 medical conference of their choice in the continental US.  All winners will receive a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear, a value of $1,000; a crystal Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin; a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses; and a $500 donation in their name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation.

Additionally, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 for each nomination received during the 2012 nomination period to Nurses House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing hardships.

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Edward Hospital RN Named Top National Winner of Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award

Jill Zuleg, a Naperville, Ill. resident and obstetrical registered nurse (RN) with Edward Hospital, is a winner of the 10th annual Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.  Jill is among five healthcare professionals across the country to be named an award winner, selected for their impact on the lives of others through extraordinary patient care, sacrifice and innovation while serving as an inspiration to others. Jill is the top national winner of the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award in the RN category.

The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recognizes the significant contribution of these professionals to today’s society, while reinforcing the vital role of these professions in keeping Americans healthy. From staging the largest bone marrow drive in the state to rushing to the scene of a fire after a long day of work, the winners were selected for going above and beyond their job descriptions to selflessly serve others in a way truly inspiring to their peers.

Jill has taken her experience of the ultimate tragedy – the loss of a child – and turned it into a program that honors her son by helping others going through the unthinkable, selfless decision of donating a loved one’s organs. When her son Kyle was tragically killed by a falling tree limb, Jill and her husband opted to donate his organs in order to share the gift of life with five recipients.  The long process of keeping Kyle on life support while matches for organs were found was extremely difficult emotionally. To support other grieving families going through this process, the Zulegs established the Kyle Zuleg Foundation. The Foundation, in partnership with the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network, provides comfort in the form of warm blankets and gift baskets as families spend final long hours at the bedside of their loved one. The blanket design includes the words “Forever in Our Hearts.”  Jill’s hope is that the blankets provide a tangible sign of appreciation for the incredible gift of organ donation.  Jill has also created the Kyle Zuleg Foundation Annual Scholarship, which is offered to high school seniors who will major in the same field that Kyle intended.

“We spent every last minute with Kyle at the bedside while his seven organs were matched to people whose only hope for living was to wait for someone to die,” Jill said. “During the days and nights spent at the hospital we felt there was something missing for us as a grieving family. It was from our promise to Kyle that the Kyle Zuleg Foundation was created. We wanted to give back to other organ donor families what we felt was missing. I wanted to help other families going through the organ donation process and to help bring awareness for organ donation after the loss of Kyle.”

The 2012 winners of the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award were announced in conjunction with its 10th anniversary. More than 10,000 healthcare professionals have been nominated since the inception of the award.  The award honors winners in categories including: Registered Nurses, Advance Practice Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses/Licensed Vocational Nurses, students enrolled in nursing schools, and other non-physician healthcare professionals. Judges selecting honorees include Cherokee Uniforms professionals, national nurse leaders and former Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients.

The grand prize winner in each category will receive an all-expenses-paid Caribbean cruise for two, and all other winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to a 2013 medical conference of their choice in the continental US.  All winners will receive a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear, a value of $1,000; a crystal Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin; a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses; and a $500 donation in their name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation.

Additionally, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 for each nomination received during the 2012 nomination period to Nurses House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing hardships.

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Recognized for her commitment to nursing shared governance

Despite the vital role nurses play in patient care, their voices are sometimes overlooked in key administrative decisions within hospitals. When Anaheim Regional Medical Center set out to change this, they didn’t expect a newly minted nurse to help lead the charge.

Jessica Estep’s interest in nursing began as a high school volunteer at Anaheim Regional Medical Center and she continued her progression as a unit secretary, nursing assistant and now as a registered nurse in a telemetry unit. Her interest has grown into a passion for advancing the profession on behalf of other nurses and the patients they serve. When Estep learned that her hospital was creating a Shared Governance Program, she was one of the first nurses to identify the extraordinary impact the program could have on the organization. Estep’s efforts to get shared governance up and running at Anaheim Regional have helped to elevate nursing leadership, performance and influence throughout the facility. In recognition of her esteemed leadership and forward-looking vision, Estep is one of just seven recipients nationwide being honored with a prestigious 2011 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.

Nursing shared governance allows staff nurses the opportunity to engage in decision-making that affects their ability to provide patient care and permits them a partnership with managers operating in administrative areas of a healthcare institution. However, implementation of this model is often slow and difficult. Realizing the benefits of shared governance, Estep pursued additional responsibilities on top of her duties as a staff nurse to develop a Professional Practice Council to help facilitate the program.

“In her very first year as a nurse, Jessica saw an opportunity to elevate the role of staff nurses at her hospital and took a lead position in motivating others to join her in helping to bring meaningful change,”  explains Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs. “The first years spent in the nursing profession can be incredibly challenging in multiple ways. To our judges, Jessica’s determination to put control over nursing care into the hands of practicing professionals is incredibly impressive, and she deserves to be nationally recognized.”

After learning that shared governance would be launched at Anaheim Regional Medical Center in 2010, Estep volunteered to help and joined the Professional Practice Council, which recommends and develops clinical nursing practice standards, policies and procedures.  She recruited nurses to join the council and was elected chairman. Under Estep’s leadership, the council championed on-site bachelor’s degree and nursing certification programs and addressed policies affecting units across the hospital.

“Jessica works in one of the busiest units of our hospital, yet she is willing to spend much of her free time working on the shared governance program of our hospital,” says Alecia Passow, the intensive care unit and cardiac observation unit director, and Estep’s nominator. “Although shared governance is very conceptual, Jessica’s vision for the program has infiltrated throughout this community hospital. By engaging and motivating those around her, she has opened new doors for nurses and has advanced nursing to higher levels at our facility.”

The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award is granted by Cherokee Uniforms as a way of recognizing the caring and highly competent work of nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals who provide exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation while positively impacting others’ lives.  This is the ninth year the nation’s leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers across the country.

As a National Winner, Estep receives an all-expense-paid trip to a 2012 medical conference of her choice courtesy of Cherokee Uniforms; a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Footwear worth more than $1,000; a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin; a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses; and a $500 donation in her name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation.

Ultimately, overcoming the challenges that the nursing profession faces on behalf of her patients and fellow nurses is what motivates Estep to give her best work each day. “Healthcare and medicine are always progressive, so nursing practice is bound to change as well. Among the many shifting nursing roles, we must always protect our responsibilities as patient advocates and coordinators of care,” explains Estep. “The nurses are Anaheim Regional’s most valuable asset and seeing firsthand their commitment to providing excellent patient outcomes encourages me to follow in their footsteps.”

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Medical University of South Carolina salutes its second nurse honored with the prestigious award

After learning the news that a young Charleston teenager’s chemotherapy treatments were not succeeding, registered nurse Cindy Stokes decided it was her personal responsibility to help the teen and his family find peace in a time of sorrow. Stokes’ painstaking and compassionate role in elevating her patient and his family above his diagnosis made her more than his nurse – it made her his friend. For the remarkable and unwavering support shown to this family in a time of great need, Stokes is one of just seven recipients nationwide to receive the 2011 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.

For 20 years, Stokes has worked with children and teens battling cancer in the pediatric hematology oncology unit at Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).  Her willingness to form a powerful connection with this particular family measured far beyond her day-to-day responsibilities as she provided them with the strength and comfort they needed to negotiate the physical and emotional pain accompanying the young man’s disease and its dire prognosis. Stokes is the second nurse in MUSC’s history to receive the award. The first was Mandy Larson in 2003.

“Cindy not only met this young man’s clinical needs, she made certain that she would make his remaining days on earth as pain-free and meaningful as humanly possible,” says Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs. “She also became a steadfast source of information and support for his family and guided them through the fear and heartache they experienced as they lost their beloved son.  To our judges, Cindy’s willingness to help this family find some happiness and closure during their darkest hour distinguishes her as a caring and compassionate nurse who is worthy of national recognition.”

When the family took a trip to Hawaii for a final vacation together, Stokes personally wrote a letter to the airline and successfully advocated for a flight that could accommodate the boy’s needs. While on vacation, the boy e-mailed Stokes and “skyped” the nursing staff while he was at the beach. Unfortunately, the boy took a turn for the worse upon his return and required hospice services.   Since pediatric hospice services were unavailable, Stokes arranged a plan of care that met his unique pain needs, obtained his medications from a local pharmacy and delivered them personally to his home between her shifts at the hospital.

During his time in hospice, the boy and Stokes spoke openly about his condition and imminent death. He recognized the nurse as a friend and advocate and even invited her to join him and his friends in a “drum jam” – which she did. When the boy died, Stokes endured the loss with the family, assisted in the funeral planning and comforted the boy’s parents as they transitioned into a life without their son.

“Cindy possesses the highest level of clinical skills and care coordination but also the added gift of effectively communicating with those burdened by stressful and unpleasant situations,” says Andrea Coyle, a professional excellence coordinator at MUSC and Stokes’ nominator. In 2010, MUSC recognized Stokes with a DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Award and as Nurse of the Year for her extraordinary acts of kindness towards this family.

The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award is granted by Cherokee Uniforms as a way of recognizing the caring and highly competent work of nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals who provide exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation while positively impacting others’ lives.  This is the ninth year the nation’s leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers across the country.

As a Top National Winner, Stokes receives an all-expense-paid trip to a 2012 medical conference of her choice courtesy of Cherokee Uniforms; an annual membership to her preferred clinical association; a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Footwear worth more than $1,000; a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin; a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses; and a $500 donation in her name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation.

Ultimately, it is getting to know her patients and their families that gives Stokes her true reward. “As a nurse, I not only familiarize myself with each patient’s treatment regimen, but I also connect myself to the patients and their families in a special way,” explains Stokes. “These children and their families are going through the struggle of a lifetime as they face painful procedures, unfamiliar environments and new faces, yet they always have a smile on their innocent faces. If I can make their experience just a little more pleasant and comfortable, even for the sake of the parents, it is my honor to give nothing but my best.”

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, almost 9,900 healthcare professionals have been nominated across the various nursing and non-physician disciplines.  A panel of Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Recognized for her tireless efforts that provide memorable experiences to children and young adults facing life-threatening illnesses

All too often, children struggling with life-threatening illnesses miss out on creating childhood memories. But Jennifer Huson, a nurse practitioner in a local pediatric intensive care unit, is working tirelessly to change that. Thanks to her unwavering voluntary service to the Dream Street Foundation, sick children and young adults get to attend medically supported free sleepover summer camps and make everlasting memories of their own.

As a clinician at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Huson devotes herself to making a positive difference for the children she cares for each day and for those facing similar obstacles in her broader community. Through her work at the hospital, she learned about Dream Street Foundation, a nonprofit committed to improving the lives of children with chronic and life threatening illnesses. Huson has dedicated countless hours of her free time over the past 11 years to helping Dream Street achieve its goals. In recognition of her exceptional service and compassion and helping to make the impossible possible for this young patient population, Huson is one of just seven recipients nationwide being honored with a prestigious 2011Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.

“Jennifer determinedly pursued her vision to make a difference for children and families that have been touched by frightening illnesses by partnering with Dream Street,” explains Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs. “To our judges, Jennifer’s dedication to providing these children with exciting experiences outside of the homes and hospitals that serve as a constant reminder of their illnesses distinguishes her as an extraordinary nurse who deserves to be recognized.”

As the volunteer nursing director for Dream Street, Huson works year-round organizing the logistics for two different summer camps hosting children and young adults. Most of her time is committed to Dream Street’s “Big Camp” which accommodates about 120 children each year with cancer, blood disorders and other long-term illnesses. While the normal sleep-away camps are unable to meet these children’s daily medical needs, Huson volunteers her extracurricular time to make sure that Dream Street can provide specific medical

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services to each child attending the camp. Huson arranges campers’ medical charts, orders medications, equipment and supplies, and even prepares the infirmary herself. Additionally, she recruits and manages on-site volunteer nurses and doctors to make sure that children can receive 24/7 care when attending the camp. Huson even holds herself accountable to be on duty an astounding 24 hours a day for up to 10 straight days throughout each camp session.

“By taking on a full-time volunteer position in addition to her job with Children’s Hospital, Jennifer demonstrates an incredible amount of dedication to improving the lives of these children,” says Christina Smith, a registered nurse, at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Huson’s nominator. “The Dream Street Foundation and its camps would not be possible without her organizational skills, nursing expertise and compassion.”

The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award is granted by Cherokee Uniforms as a way of recognizing the caring and highly competent work of nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals who provide exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation while positively impacting others’ lives. This is the ninth year the nation’s leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers across the country.

As a Top National Winner, Huson receives an all-expense-paid trip to a 2012 medical conference of her choice courtesy of Cherokee Uniforms; an annual membership to her preferred clinical association; a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Footwear worth more than $1,000; a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin; a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses; and a $500 donation in her name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation.

Ultimately, Huson is rewarded by her ability to make any kind of difference, big or small, in her patients’ lives. “Being a nurse allows me to be a part of a person’s life when they are at their most vulnerable. I am equally rewarded when I make a huge difference, such as saving a person’s life, or when the difference I make is small, like bringing a smile to a child’s face,” says Huson. “As a nurse, I am happiest when I am able to use the talents I have been blessed with to benefit others. When I volunteer my skills and expertise, I am reminded that nursing is more than just a career for me. It’s a calling.”

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, almost 9,900 healthcare professionals have been nominated across the various nursing and non-physician disciplines. A panel of Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Chosen for her allegiance and dutiful care towards the nation’s homeless Veterans

Helping some of society’s most vulnerable citizens achieve their dreams is what inspires Carolyn Green, RN, to deliver her best every day.  As the coordinator of the Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program at Overton Brooks Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Shreveport, La., Green forges strong partnerships with community organizations and nonprofits to further provide a safety net of services for her clients. Thanks to her unwavering dedication and personal commitment on behalf of the country’s homeless Veterans, Green has been selected as one of just seven recipients nationwide of the 2011 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.

The Overton Brooks VAMC Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program offers counseling, outreach, and referral services at no cost to eligible Veterans. Since taking on a leadership role seven years ago and volunteering countless additional hours, Green has helped to elevate the success of the VAMC homeless program which went from treating 16 homeless Veterans in 2003 to more than 300 in 2010.

“Carolyn makes decisions and contributions that have not only exponentially improved the homeless program itself, but have also improved the overall morale of every person involved from both a patient and care provider standpoint,” says Nancy Creech, a nurse recruiter at Overton Brooks VAMC and Green’s nominator. “She has also established herself as a community leader, frequently speaking to local service organizations in her free time in order to build and grow potential partnerships.”

Her community collaboration has generated results that allow her employer to care for the clinical and psychological needs of homeless veterans more effectively – and with potentially better outcomes – by ensuring that their other basic needs such as food and housing are met. In one such partnership, Green helped a local nonprofit obtain a $1 million grant to provide housing for 56 working and student Veterans. Leaving nothing to chance, Green also teamed with correctional facilities to help officials create a seamless transition into community living for Veterans being prepared for release.

One of Green’s most celebrated accomplishments is her local leadership of the national “Operation Stand Down,” for which Green arranges the volunteers and donation of clothing, food, medical care and haircuts as well as social and counseling services.  For the past seven years, Green has worked closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand the program from a single-day-per-year event to four days annually split between two locations.  In 2010 alone, the event served 1,000 homeless individuals, aided by Green’s ability to marshal resources and garner community support.

The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award is granted by Cherokee Uniforms as a way of recognizing the caring and highly competent work of nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals who provide exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation while positively impacting others’ lives.  This is the ninth year the nation’s leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers across the country.

“Carolyn Green has provided a kind hand and well-deserved respect to homeless veterans in her community by giving her best and motivating others to do the same,” says Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs. “Her inspiring service and genuine agen toward itment omeless veteran has a name and a story. hand up to omeless in the community to networking with port arecompassion toward others in their times of great need earned her overwhelming support from the judges.”

“Carolyn’s work shows that she is very dedicated to serving Veterans who are so often forgotten unless they are deemed a ‘hero,’” says Jessica Edmondson, a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award judge and past award winner. “This dedication and palpable passion for her profession certainly make her a ‘hero’ as well and more than worthy of receiving this award.”

As a Grand Prize Winner, Green will receive an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two courtesy of Cherokee Uniforms; a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear worth more than $1,000; a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin; a $500 donation in her name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation; and a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses.

But it is making a difference in the lives of those she serves that gives Green her true reward. “I am happiest when I am helping others,” explains Green. “I work with one of the most vulnerable populations, and the most rewarding part of my job is seeing a once-homeless Veteran who has a substance abuse disorder or chronic mental illness succeed in independent living and making strides in his life. I was given the gifts of passion and mercy, and this position allows me to use those gifts in a way that fulfills every professional desire in my career.”

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, almost 9,900 healthcare professionals have been nominated across the various nursing and non-physician disciplines. A panel of Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Dedicated nursing professor recognized for providing healthcare education to global communities

While on a medical mission trip to Honduras,  Lisa Quinones witnessed local village women severing umbilical cords with their teeth while delivering others’ babies and then covering the newborns with their own clothes. When Quinones, a professor of nursing at Suffolk County Community College (SCCC), returned home to Selden, NY, she challenged her students and colleagues to help fund and create 165 “birthing kits” containing basic supplies needed for sanitary childbirth. Quinones delivered the kits on a return trip to Honduras – one of six medical missions she helped lead in 2010.

In recognition of her extraordinary global and local efforts to educate students and health advocates and underserved populations in Latin America, Quinones is one of just seven recipients nationwide being honored with a 2011 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.

“Lisa was nominated for this award for her extraordinary ability and passionate commitment to mentor and teach not only future nurses but also health-promotion advocates in Latin America whose knowledge and communication directly impact the health of impoverished, rural communities. No audience is too prestigious or too humble for her to share her knowledge, expertise and perspective with – whether a UN conference, officials from the Vatican, or those who help women in Latin America  deliver their babies,” says Wendell Mobley who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs.  “Lisa embodies the spirit of the Inspired Comfort Award.”

An advanced nurse practitioner, Quinones spends vacations crossing borders and traveling the world to help others. As a volunteer brigade member for the nonprofit  Hope for a Healthier Humanity (HHH), she has led medical missions  to areas of Honduras, Panama and the Dominican Republic that require special and sustained efforts just to maintain life.  She creates curriculum in order to effectively equip health-promotion advocates called promotores with such life-sustaining skills as first aid, how to deliver babies and manage minor health issues. Quinones has taken eight of her nursing students with her on the trips which require 14-hour days and other hardships.

“Lisa teaches by doing,” explains Frances LaFauci, Associate Dean of Nursing at SCCC and Quinones’ nominator. “The four walls of a classroom could never contain the endless compassion and the knowledge she has to offer to this world, and that’s proven by the work we do and the lives we touch under her leadership.”

In 2010, Quinones presented her research to the United Nations World Youth Alliance and addressed a contingent from the Vatican in Honduras.

The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award is granted by Cherokee Uniforms as a way to nationally recognize the unique skills, characteristics and work of nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals who provide exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation while positively impacting others’ lives.  This is the ninth year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers.

As the Grand Prize Winner, Quinones will receive an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two courtesy of Cherokee Uniforms; a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Footwear worth more than $1,000; a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin; a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses; and a $500 donation in her name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation.

Ultimately, Quinones is motivated by her belief that healthcare must be accessible to all humans across the globe.  “If I could change one thing about the world, it would be that healthcare is a human right, not a luxury,” says Quinones. “Famines continue all over the world, mothers and babies die every day due to lack of accessible care, and health education is available only to those who are aware of the resources available. There is a great nursing shortage here and abroad, but as nurses we must never forget our oath to care across all cultures and circumstances without prejudice.”

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, almost 9,900 healthcare professionals have been nominated across the various nursing and non-physician disciplines.  A panel of Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Honored for dramatic results generated from patient and staff education

Not long after Shakira Henderson arrived on South Miami Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, the nurse specialist realized that few mothers of the tiny babies breastfed their ill newborns. With only three years of experience in bedside nursing and one year of NICU nursing under her belt, Henderson lobbied her unit and the hospital to make breastfeeding a priority among its smallest and medically fragile patients.

Mother’s milk is critical brain food for babies, guards infants and their mothers against illness and disease, and babies who are breastfed are less likely to become overweight and obese, according to studies touted by federal and international agencies. However, breastfeeding can be a frightening prospect for parents whose tiny infants are confined to incubators and who seem barely able to cling to life.

For her leading role in creating and initiating a breastfeeding initiative that has produced dramatic results in South Miami Hospital’s NICU, Henderson is one of just seven recipients nationwide to receive the 2011 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.

“Armed with science and data, Shakira pursued her vision to make a difference to babies and their mothers, and she left nothing to chance,” explains Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs. “To our judges, Shakira’s dedication to her patients and the broader neonatal care community distinguishes her as an extraordinary nurse who deserves to be recognized.”

Henderson ensured that a team of staff members and herself were trained to become nurse-counselors to help mothers breastfeed and be able to pump their own milk to feed their premature babies. When a baby is too small or ill to suckle, pumped mother’s milk can be delivered by tube to the baby’s stomach. The NICU lactation team now provides more than 50 patient-consults each month, and 70% to 90% of mothers with babies on the unit now pump milk.

“Shakira’s enthusiasm for the nursing profession is illustrated by her time commitment to this positive cause,” says Maureen Pahl, a NICU lactation consultant and Henderson’s nominator. “The success of the breastfeeding initiative is a testament of her hard work, and I am confident that she will continue to discover new practices that also will have an overwhelming impact on our patients, staff and unit reputation.” Henderson’s zeal for education and patient care has led her to pursue doctoral studies with a focus on neonatal care.

Henderson’s passion to promote breastfeeding on her unit was recognized hospital-wide as the 2009-2010 Patient Educator of the Year. At the national level, she received the 2010 National Leadership Award from the Association of Neonatal Nurses and was selected as an Emerging Leader for the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award is granted by Cherokee Uniforms as a way of recognizing the caring and highly competent work of nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals who provide exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation while positively impacting others’ lives.  This is the ninth year the nation’s leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers across the country.

As a National Winner, Henderson will receive an all-expense-paid trip to a 2012 U.S. medical conference of her choice courtesy of Cherokee Uniforms; a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Footwear worth more than $1,000; a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin; a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses; and a $500 donation in her name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation.

But it is finding new ways to engage and challenge NICU nurses that gives Henderson her true reward. “Nurses are at times the eyes, ears and mouths of their patients. We are crucial in making sure they are receiving the best care possible,” says Henderson. “In the NICU patient population, we have the most precious thing in our hands: a life. In caring for these infants, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about improved practices and advancements that will make a difference in the lives of the patients and families we serve.”

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, almost 9,900 healthcare professionals have been nominated across the various nursing and non-physician disciplines.  A panel of Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Dedicated paramedic acts as a guardian for her community by providing emergency care

When Shannon Davidson finishes her grueling 12-hour shift as  an emergency room paramedic at  Mobile Infirmary Medical Center in Mobile, Ala., she leaves her paid job behind to provide front-line medical care for residents of her community as a volunteer with  the McIntosh Rescue Squad and McIntosh Volunteer Fire Department. Despite working full time and caring for her family, Davidson is driven by the challenge to save lives and comfort people sometimes in their darkest hour as a first responder. For her extraordinary commitment to serve the needs of her community at great sacrifice to herself, Davidson is one of just seven healthcare professionals nationwide being honored with the 2011 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.

“Shannon represents the very best of our nation’s front-line responders who give all they have to serve communities across America. As a paramedic in the field, she not only provides critical medical care but offers compassion and kindness to those who need it most,” explains Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs. “To our judges, Shannon’s exceptional service and sacrifice to patients and her community distinguished her as a professional and humanitarian who deserves national recognition for going far above and beyond any expectations.”

Davidson has volunteered her medical services to the rescue squad for 20 years and for 11 years to the fire department. In 2010 alone, she contributed more than 1900 hours to the two services.

The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award is granted by Cherokee Uniforms as a way to nationally recognize the unique skills, characteristics and work of nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals who provide exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation while positively impacting others’ lives.  This is the ninth year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers.   Recipients like Davidson have proven through the years that compassion and humility are strong throughout the healthcare field. Though she demonstrates full commitment to her field of work, it is providing her patients with happiness and security that provides Davidson with her true reward.

“I know that this sounds cliché, but knowing that I make a difference in the life of another truly makes me happy,” explains Davidson. “I love taking care of the critically ill, but I am just as happy to hold the hand of an elderly person that is lonely, or to make someone smile when you know that they are ill or injured. I love to interact with patients and their families, even in the moments that are challenging. The human factor is often overlooked in healthcare, but it is one of the greatest tools that we have at our disposal.”

As a Grand Prize Winner, Davidson will receive an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two courtesy of Cherokee Uniforms; a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Footwear worth more than $1,000; a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin; and a $500 donation in her name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation.

“Shannon’s story tells of a unique combination of a clinically strong caregiver who is a compassionate and comforting presence for patients whose lives are in her hands,” says Samantha Abate, an Inspired Comfort Award judge and a 2010 recipient of the award.  “She does all of this in addition to her other responsibilities. She might really be Super Woman.”

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, almost 9,900 healthcare professionals have been nominated across the various nursing and non-physician disciplines. A panel of Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Honored for her innovative pet therapy program

As the assistant nurse manager of the cardiac ICU and cardiac SDU at South Jersey Healthcare (SJH), Samantha Abate is strongly committed to providing excellence on behalf of her patients and the nursing profession. Because of her noble efforts to make specialty certification accessible to nurses and her work with pet therapy and congestive heart failure (CHF) patients, Abate is one of just four recipients nationwide to receive the 2010 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.  

Believing that patients benefit from nurses who are nationally certified in their specialty, Abate created a program, on her own time, that successfully prepares registered nurses to earn their national certification in progressive care nursing.   She is also being saluted for her innovative research project demonstrating that CHF patients are willing to exercise more frequently when pet therapy is integrated into their treatment plan.  The value of this research is emphasized by the fact that her findings have been presented to multiple prestigious audiences and are awaiting publication.

“Samantha Abate’s innovative approach to providing compassionate care to patients, while at the same time demonstrating her love for animals, is making an important impact on patients’ lives.  She is looking beyond the traditional boundaries of healthcare and demonstrating the power that a person with a vision can have,” says Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs.

The award is granted by Cherokee Uniforms as a way of recognizing the caring work of nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals, who provide exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation, while positively impacting others’ lives. This is the eighth year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers.    

Abate was nominated by Bruce Boxer, nursing quality/magnet program director at South Jersey Healthcare. He explains, “Animals are one of Samantha’s passions. And pet therapy is the perfect combination of her dedication to animal rescue and her devotion to nursing.”

 As the Grand Prize Winner, Abate receives an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two; a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear worth more than $1,000; a $500 donation in her name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation; a crystal Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin and a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses.

But it is the challenge of discovering new ways to improve patient care that gives Abate her true reward.  “Nursing is always changing and there is always something new to explore. I cannot think of anything more inspiring than knowing that you can potentially change practices across the country!” she says.    

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 9,000 healthcare professionals have been nominated across the various nursing and non-physician disciplines. A panel of Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

For every nomination, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1.00 to Nurse’s House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship.  Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2011 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1 through May 31, 2011. For further information on the award, please visit http://inspiredcomfort.com or receive updates on Twitter- @InspiredComfort.

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Honered for her compassion for end-of-life issues

End-of-life issues are always difficult, even when you’re used to dealing with them as part of your job.  After losing her beloved father, registered nurse Peggy Matthews returned to work at Methodist Fayette Hospital with a passion for end-of-life care.  Because of her compassionate efforts to create a peaceful, “end-of-life” room for families and patients, Matthews is one of just four recipients nationwide to receive the 2010 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.  

Taking the room with the nicest view of the hospital’s picturesque grounds, Matthews turned a clinical hospital room into a warm, home-like environment.  She designed a space with warm colors, soft lighting, calming artwork and comfortable furniture.  For an additional, personal touch, Peggy established a collaboration with a local quilting club to create beautiful blankets for the patients.

“Peggy Matthews’s care and compassion for the patients and families dealing with end-of-life issues is truly inspiring.  She offers families an oasis of calm during their most difficult, heart-breaking time,” says Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs.

The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award is granted by Cherokee Uniforms as a way of recognizing the caring work of nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals who provide exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation, while positively impacting others’ lives.  This is the eighth year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers.    

Matthews was nominated by Janet Hunt, administrative director at Methodist Fayette Hospital, where Matthews works.  She explains, “Peggy could truly empathize with the emotions that families dealing with a loved one who is dying are feeling.  She channeled the pain of her own loss into creating a supportive environment for others dealing with the same situation.”

As the National Winner, Matthews receives an all-expense-paid trip to a 2011 medical conference in the continental United States of her choice; a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear worth more than $1,000; annual membership to her preferred clinical association; a $500 donation in her name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation; a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin and a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses.

For Matthews, the most rewarding part of nursing is establishing empathy with her patients.  “It has been said that empathy is the foundation of caring.  In my years of nursing, I have found that the most emotional messages are without words—a silent connection that binds people together,” she says. 

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 9,000 healthcare professionals have been nominated across the various nursing and non-physician disciplines.  A panel of Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

For every nomination, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1.00 to Nurse’s House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship.  Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2011 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1 through May 31, 2011. For further information on the award, please visit http://inspiredcomfort.com or receive updates on Twitter- @InspiredComfort.

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Dedicated to Helping the Uninsured

p>Jesse Kontra’s life is dedicated to providing compassionate care to others.  His compassion extends to helping the less fortunate by volunteering several days a week at The Clinic, a nonprofit serving the uninsured. For his selfless service to his community, Kontra is one of just four recipients nationwide being honored with the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. 

Kontra was nominated by Debbie Shupp, director of development at The Clinic.  She explains, “Jesse has an extremely demanding full-time job, yet finds the time to volunteer with us.  In 2009 alone, Jesse volunteered more than 400 hours, and with his help our physicians were able to treat and impact the lives of many of our vulnerable patients.”  

In fact, with Kontra’s help, The Clinic provided medical services to more than 11,000 patients last year.  Many of these patients are extremely ill, often with chronic conditions, yet they have not been to a doctor in some time due to financial reasons.

“Jesse Kontra’s dedication to providing care to those who need healthcare, but have issues accessing it, demonstrates a tremendous personal commitment to making life better for his fellow man, ” says Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs.  “He is living proof of the life-changing difference that one compassionate and willing healthcare practitioner can make.”

The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award is granted by Cherokee Uniforms as a way of recognizing the caring work of nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals, who provide exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation, while positively impacting others’ lives.  This is the eighth year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers.  

As the Grand Prize Winner, Kontra receives an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two; a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear worth more than $1,000; a $500 donation in his name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation; a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin; and a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses.

Kontra is driven by the sense that he is making a difference in patients’ lives. “Every day people come into our clinic, we patch them up and send them on their way,” he says.  “These days can be exhausting, but that exhaustion is always overridden by the sense that we are making a difference in the lives of people who need our help the most.”

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 9,000 healthcare professionals have been nominated across the various nursing and non-physician disciplines.  A panel of Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

For every nomination, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1.00 to Nurse’s House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship.  Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2011 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1 through May 31, 2011. For further information on the award, please visit http://inspiredcomfort.com or receive updates on Twitter- @InspiredComfort.

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Honored for her inventive approach to medication management for the uninsured

As a registered nurse at the FHN Community Healthcare Center outpatient clinic, Peggy Folgate sees firsthand the desperation that being uninsured has on her patients.  She sees the toll chronic diseases take on their health.  And she sees them being forced to decide between food and medicine.  In recognition of her outstanding work in making prescriptions accessible to this vulnerable population, Folgate is one of just four recipients nationwide to receive the 2010 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.  

 The economic climate in Freeport is difficult, with one of the highest unemployment rates in the state of Illinois. Knowing that pharmaceutical companies provide medications at no cost to the uninsured, Folgate sprang into action.  She created a database of the available medications and the patients who could benefit, which currently includes more than 250 people. By helping patients get the medications they need, along with managing their chronic health conditions, she is literally having a life or death impact on their lives. 

 “Peggy Folgate’s insight, compassion and caring regarding both the plight of the uninsured and the critical issue of medication management is making the lives of people who are already dealing with significant personal challenges a little easier,” says Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs.

 The Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award is granted by Cherokee Uniforms as a way of recognizing the caring work of nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals, who provide exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation, while positively impacting others’ lives. This is the eighth year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers.    

 Folgate was nominated by Elizabeth Myers, an advanced practice nurse at the clinic, where Folgate has worked for the past two years. She explains, “Peggy has made it possible for us to be proactive instead of reactive in our efforts.  It’s heartwarming to see the appreciation patients have for the work she’s doing.”

 As the Top National Winner, Folgate receives an all-expense-paid trip to a 2011 medical conference in the continental United States of her choice; a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear worth more than $1,000; annual membership to her preferred clinical association; a $500 donation in her name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation; a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin; and a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses.

Her commitment to improving a patient’s overall health is what drives Folgate.  “Helping people lead a better, stronger, healthier life is what makes the nursing profession so amazing to me,” she says. 

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 9,000 healthcare professionals have been nominated across the various nursing and non-physician disciplines.  A panel of Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

 For every nomination, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1.00 to Nurse’s House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship.  Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2011 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1 through May 31, 2011. For further information on the award, please visit http://inspiredcomfort.com or receive updates on Twitter- @InspiredComfort.

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Honored for providing exceptional “physical, mental and spiritual comfort” to seniors

Andrea “Andi” Parkhill, RN, BSN, is being honored with the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award for improving the living conditions and emotional health of local senior citizens by devoting countless hours as well as her personal funds to bring about change. She is one of just six winners nationwide in 2009.

 Parkhill received the Top National prize in the award’s registered nurse category for her unrelenting dedication to the health, safety and wellbeing of senior citizens in her community.  

 Years of nursing practice have enabled Parkhill to quickly assess a situation and mobilize the community resources needed to find solutions. In one case, Parkhill treated an elderly patient who suddenly stopped attending his wellness sessions. Concerned, she visited his apartment and discovered that he had fallen a few days before and was in significant pain. After consulting with a physician, Parkhill ordered a certified home health aide and a physical therapist to assist the patient. Her environmental assessment identified several safety concerns that she worked with him to correct, allowing him to enjoy living independently and safely in his home.

Parkhill considers her patients’ physical, mental and social condition when creating a plan of treatment. Sometimes this comes at a significant sacrifice of personal time and expense, often far exceeding the expectations of anyone in her job. She began treating an elderly woman who, against the doctor’s advice, checked herself out of the hospital in order to return home to care for her cats. While visiting the woman, Parkhill discovered unsafe living conditions. She not only took the initiative to thoroughly clean and refurbish the apartment, she took the cats to a veterinarian and personally paid for their care and purchased clothes for the woman as a gift.

 While working with the patient, Parkhill noticed that other residents of the housing complex exhibited signs of grief and depression. She collaborated with a social worker to address underlying issues of concern, including the loss of friends and access to transportation and other necessary everyday services.  The collaboration was so successful that the program is being expanded.

 “Andi Parkhill’s remarkable patience, compassion, and generosity of spirit makes the lives of seniors in her community safer and happier,” says Wendell Mobley, director of Cherokee’s scholarship and awards programs. “Her ability to adapt treatment to the total needs of a patient and her willingness to give so much of her time when others might have given up show the life-changing difference a nurse can make.”

 The award is granted 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 seventh year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers.     

 Parkhill was nominated by Susan Fowler, a coworker at the Visiting Nurses Association of Central Jersey, who explains, “Andi demonstrates the essence of exceptional service by providing a comprehensive, timely and proactive approach to meeting the client’s needs. She sees the entire picture clearly and frames the processes and outcomes of her service with care, compassion and communication.”

 As a Top National winner, Parkhill receives an all-expense-paid trip to a 2010 medical conference, annual membership to a clinical association, a $500 donation to a nonprofit of her choice, a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear worth more than $1,000, a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy and a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin.

 Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 7,000 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 Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

 For every nomination, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 to Nurse’s House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship. Proceeds from Cherokee Uniforms products support healthcare professionals through initiatives such as the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award, scholarships for students enrolled in nursing school, and an inspirational film for nurses. Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2010 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1 through May 31, 2010. For further information on the award, please visit http://inspiredcomfort.com.

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Honored for her dedication to providing healthcare to the uninsured and underserved

When her fellow townspeople approached Diana Webber saying they had no insurance and requesting a referral to a healthcare professional, the family nurse practitioner got right to work on their behalf.   

 With few medical resources available for the uninsured among her southeastern Oklahoma community of 3,000 residents, Webber began methodically assessing her community’s health needs. Her interviews and data revealed a need for free healthcare in the community, and she realized that her experience and expertise could be the difference between families getting necessary primary care – or going without. With the support of her community, Webber founded the Hope Medical Clinic.

 For her exceptional service and extraordinary compassion, Webber is one of just six recipients nationwide of the 2009 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. She received the coveted Grand Prize in the award’s advanced practice nurse category.    

 “Diana Webber’s work to establish a free medical clinic in a rural area demonstrates her great compassion for others and her commitment to helping those who need it the most. Through extensive planning and innovative thinking, she is making a profound impact on her community,” says Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs.

 The award is granted 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 seventh year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers.

 The community affirmed its support for Webber’s efforts. A local hospital provided space where she could offer a clinic one Saturday a month, and a lab discounted its fees. The clinic began seeing patients in 2008 and logged about 75 patient visits from October through the end of the year. To see more patients, the clinic needs to be open more often, but Webber says she needs more volunteer staff to allow that to happen.  

 In addition to researching, opening and operating the clinic and working three days a week in a pediatric clinic located 130 miles from home, Webber provided clinical expertise on medical missions in 2008 to Mexico, Peru, Ecuador and Nicaragua. She also assists as a Spanish interpreter for the local hospital’s emergency room.

 Webber pursued every opportunity that would help her achieve her goal, including participating in a mentorship program through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). She also presented at the AANP’s 2008 national conference and at the Oklahoma Public Health Association’s annual conference, spreading the message to countless healthcare professionals that establishing free clinics was not only possible but necessary for the well-being of people everywhere.

 As the Grand Prize Winner, Webber receives an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two, a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear worth more than $1,000, a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy and a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin.

 But for Webber, the most valuable rewards come from her grateful patients. “One of the most appealing aspects [of nursing] is the genuine appreciation that my patients and families express for the care they receive,” she says.  “Just like every other human, I thrive when I know that what I do is appreciated. When my patients or their parents choose me to be their provider or tell me how grateful they are for these two clinics, I am motivated to provide the very best care possible.”  

 Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 7,000 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 Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

 For every nomination, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 to Nurse’s House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship. Proceeds from Cherokee Uniforms products support healthcare professionals through initiatives such as the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award, scholarships for students enrolled in nursing school, and an inspirational film for nurses. Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2010 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1 through May 31, 2010. For further information on the award, please visit http://inspiredcomfort.com.

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Honored for mentoring thousands of minority students in nurse anesthesia programs

As a student in a university nurse anesthesia program in 2003, Wallena Gould never recalled seeing a single minority faculty member. She grew increasingly concerned watching some minority students struggle to excel. Gould packaged her observations about minorities into a required poster presentation to her class and highlighted the statistic that troubled her most: minority practitioners comprised just 6 percent of the nurse anesthesia profession in the U.S. To reverse the trend, she hypothesized that mentoring would be key to the success of minority students within the profession and to those considering it.

For her creative, compassionate and relentless efforts to bring change to an entire profession, Gould was chosen as one of just six winners nationwide in the 2009 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. She received the coveted Top National Prize in the award’s advanced practice nursing category.

Unable to find a mentoring group and still a student, Gould began mentoring her fellow students at La Salle University, in Philadelphia, and even reached out to minority students at Columbia University and University of Maryland. In 2008, balancing a successful career as a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) and family obligations, the former Ernst & Young auditor launched the nonprofit Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program (www.diversitycrna.org) to inform, empower and mentor underprivileged minority students. Her efforts have primed students for successful careers in nurse anesthesia.

Since her time as a student, Gould has mentored approximately 2,000 CRNAs or CRNA candidates, including high school students, resulting in an estimated 80 minority CRNAs joining the profession since 2003. In 2008 alone, she mentored, provided advice or taught more than 900 minority students – all on her own time and at her expense – in events ranging from technical training to educational workshops and intimate dinners in her home celebrating the perseverance and accomplishments of graduating minority nurse anesthesia students. One educational event in 2008 attracted 180 attendees from eight states and also featured leaders in the profession. Another event, an anesthesia airway workshop, allowed over 50 new nurse anesthesia students, ICU nurses and nursing students to experience hands-on learning about airway equipment and anesthesia tools-of-the-trade.

CRNAs provide anesthesia in collaboration with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists and other qualified healthcare professionals and practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

“Wallena Gould has changed lives, fueled visions and made a highly technical and challenging profession a desired destination for minority nurses. And she’s done it at tremendous personal sacrifice and expense.  Her efforts to encourage, train and mentor these students will ensure that the medical field has nurse anesthetists who are as dedicated as she is moving into the future,”says Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs.

The award is granted 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 seventh year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers.

Gould was nominated by Wendy Agard, who calls Gould her mentor. “Wallena’s commitment to this program is unbelievable. She works full time during the day and spends her evenings and weekends planning events. She is a wonderful mother and is dedicated in her quest to educate and mentor others. She is always open and available for guidance, questions and genuine encouragement. To know her is simply to be inspired!”

As the Top National Winner, Gould receives an all-expense-paid trip to a 2010 medical conference of her choice, annual membership to a clinical association, a $500 donation to a nonprofit of her choice, a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear worth more than $1,000, a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy, and a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin.

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 7,000 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 Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

For every nomination, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 to Nurse’s House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship. Proceeds from Cherokee Uniforms products support healthcare professionals through initiatives such as the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award, scholarships for students enrolled in nursing school, and an inspirational film for nurses. Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2010 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1 through May 31, 2010. For further information on the award, please visit http://inspiredcomfort.com.

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Honored for tirelessly meeting the clinical and personal needs of patients

Rosetta White is the kind of nurse whose patients not only remember her name but who often return annually with updates on the children who flourished as newborns under her care.

 A nurse in the maternity unit of Carolinas Medical Center for all 39 years of her career, White works tirelessly to meet the clinical and personal needs of mothers and their newborns. If a patient needs clothes for herself or her baby, White will unfailingly find them. She has even gone to patients’ homes to deliver items they have left behind, knowing they did not have transportation to return to the hospital. 

 For her extraordinarily compassionate care of patients, White was chosen as one of just six winners nationwide in the 2009 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. She received the coveted Grand Prize in the award’s Licensed Practical Nurse/ Licensed Vocational Nurse category.

 The award is granted 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 seventh year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers.

 “Rosetta White demonstrates each and every day how profound she is at what she does. She has served diligently to meet the needs of mothers and babies for nearly four decades and still reaches deep down to provide her patients with her best,” says Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs.

 Honed by experience and knowledge, White’s clinical skills shine when patients’ symptoms may seem routine. Once, while working with a postpartum patient, she noticed that the patient’s feet were swollen. Driven by her keen eye and persistence, she brought the situation to the attention of a physician who obtained an orthopedic consult, resulting in a cancer diagnosis.  

 While a work shift taking care of the postpartum needs of patients can involve seemingly endless work and grueling physical walking and standing, White sacrifices personal time to serve the public in ways most will never know. She volunteers to coordinate the hospital’s annual blood drive, goes out into the community to help clean and fundraises at the hospital and in the community for the Arts and Science Center of Charlotte and the Children’s Miracle Network.

White was nominated by Linda Thornton, the nurse manager of the Carolinas Medical Center’s Mother/Baby Unit. “This nurse goes above all expectations in everything she does. She should be the poster child for our organization,” Thornton wrote in nominating White for the award.  

 As the Grand Prize Winner, White receives an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two, a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear worth more than $1,000, a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy and a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin.

 Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 7,000 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 Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

 For every nomination, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 to Nurse’s House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship. Proceeds from Cherokee Uniforms products support healthcare professionals through initiatives such as the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award, scholarships for students enrolled in nursing school, and an inspirational film for nurses. Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2010 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1 through May 31, 2010. For further information on the award, please visit http://inspiredcomfort.com.

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Honored for her commitment to improving resources and treatment abroad

On a 2006 trip to her native Guinea, Diaraye Bebe Sylla,  a clinical nurse at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, saw first-hand how little access the people had to healthcare. Armed with a dream to make her fellow Guineans healthier, she searched for a supporter in the area who would help her provide vital medical supplies and services for the citizens of Guinea. Her persistence paid off and a partner stepped forward to help bring relief to her beloved nation and its people.

Sylla’s actions helped birth American Friends of Guinea (AFG), a nonprofit that she now leads as president and which has saved thousands of medically underserved Guineans by providing free medications, supplies and services to health centers and hospitals in the West African country. Due to her valiant efforts, Sylla is one of just six recipients nationwide of the 2009 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. Sylla received the coveted Grand Prize in the award’s registered nurse category.

Sylla spends vacations travelling annually to Guinea with a medical team, usually paying her own way. While there, she and her team focus on hospitals or health centers with the most critical needs and identify high-priority needs to target on the next trip. Once back in the U.S., Sylla seeks additional financial support from her fellow Houstonians in order to meet those needs.

In the summer of 2007, Sylla and her team of physicians and nurses provided cholera camps  in Guinea with badly needed antibiotics and intravenous hydration. Cholera is passed from person to person due to poor sanitation and causes severe diarrhea and vomiting, which can quickly lead to dehydration – especially among babies, younger children and the elderly. The team rented trucks and paid for a crew to pick up trash on the streets, hoping to stop the epidemic at its source. Sylla says future top priorities include providing a generator and water well for an area clinic.

“Bebe Sylla’s commitment to providing exceptional, compassionate care in Guinea and enhancing healthcare resources for underserved, often overlooked, populations is saving and changing lives. She is living proof of the difference that one nurse can make,” says Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs. “Sylla began her career as a nursing assistant and then climbed the ladder to become  a licensed vocational nurse and then earned her RN certification. What she has accomplished during that time is amazing, and we are honored to present her with the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award.”

The award is granted 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 seventh year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers.

Sylla was nominated by Yvette Ong, associate director of clinical nursing at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where Sylla has worked for the past 11 years. She explains, “I’ve seen pictures of the children she’s helped before and after treatment. To see an emaciated child become so healthy and full of life is very touching. I have great respect for what she does.”

As the Grand Prize Winner, Sylla receives an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two, a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear worth more than $1,000, a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy, and a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin.

Her ability to help fellow Guineans is a highlight of her nursing career, Sylla says. She explains, “The happiest moments are when I know I have made a difference in the nursing profession. I helped deliver a baby in Guinea during one of my trips. The mother had been in labor for quite some time so I helped in any way I could. When the baby was delivered, it was a beautiful little girl. When I came the following week to see them, she told me that she named her baby after me. These are some of the moments that make my profession the best.”

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 7,000 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 Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

For every nomination, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 to Nurse’s House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship. Proceeds from Cherokee Uniforms products support healthcare professionals through initiatives such as the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award, scholarships for students enrolled in nursing school, and an inspirational film for nurses. Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2010 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1 through May 31, 2010. For further information on the award, please visit http://inspiredcomfort.com.

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Honored for making a ‘profound difference’ in the dental health of school children

Stacey Anderson, a local registered dental hygienist, borrowed money and even used her own savings to launch a dental health program to prevent and reduce dental disease among uninsured children. Due to her dedication, Anderson is one of just six winners nationwide in the 2009 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. Anderson is the first dental professional to have received the honor in the award’s seven-year history.

She received the coveted Grand Prize in the award’s non-physician healthcare professional category for sharing her resources, talents and expertise with needy children in Wisconsin and Minnesota – many of whom never previously had seen a dentist.

After providing dental hygiene services and oral health education for more than 20 years in private practice, Anderson founded Just Kids Dental Health in 2006. Now she teaches students in 17 elementary and middle schools in two states about oral hygiene and nutrition and works closely with school nurses to manage the care of children who have severe tooth decay. In 2008, the service provided mobile clinic services including cleanings, fluoride varnish, oral health education and sealants during more than 1,300 patient visits.

Medicaid, the government-funded health program, reimburses Just Kids Dental Health for services provided to eligible children – covering about half of Anderson’s costs. She relies on grants and community-based fundraising to make up the difference. The hygienist says she will see any child referred to her by a school nurse or county social worker or any parent having difficulty accessing preventive dental care for their children, regardless of their ability to pay.

“Stacey Anderson exemplifies what can happen when one person sees a need, then tries meeting that need with a driven passion. Through diligence, sacrifice and careful planning, she is making a profound difference in the dental and physical health of children and their families. It is fitting that she is the first dental professional to receive this award,” says Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs.

The award is granted 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 seventh year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers.

Anderson was nominated by Nancy Smith, director of health services for Wisconsin’s School District of Superior. Smith explains, “Stacey deserves this award due to her passion and the immense amount of time she selflessly dedicates to helping underserved children. She followed her own belief – that ‘the greatest risk is in not taking one’ – and passionately believes that dental health is the right of every child.”

As the Grand Prize Winner, Anderson receives an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two, a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear worth more than $1,000, a Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy and a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin.

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 7,000 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 Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

For every nomination, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 to Nurse’s House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship. Proceeds from Cherokee Uniforms products support healthcare professionals through initiatives such as the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award, scholarships for students enrolled in nursing school and an inspirational film for nurses. Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2010 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1 through May 31, 2010. For further information on the award, please visit http://inspiredcomfort.com.

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Nursing Student Leaves Homeland to Provide Help from Abroad

They may look dog-eared and abused but to Irene Sekle, a student enrolled in the Presbyterian School of Nursing at Queens University of Charlotte, NC, old nursing textbooks offer hope for healing and a bright future for a nation. Sekle left her home country of Liberia to pursue her childhood dream of nursing and hasn’t lost sight of home. Though just a student, she already is investing her newfound skills and resourcefulness to help future nurses in the African nation.

Knowing how valuable textbooks – even old ones – are in Liberian schools, Sekle has collected more than 400 of the books and shipped them to a Liberian nursing school at her own expense.

For her profound commitment to the future of the nursing profession, Sekle is one of 10 honorees nationwide to win the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award in 2008. The award is granted 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 6th year Cherokee Uniforms has honored inspirational caregivers, with hopes that the winners’ stories will encourage the nation’s brightest students to enter the healthcare professions.

“Irene Sekle is fulfilling a fantastic dream to give back to those in her homeland who are less fortunate, and by reaching into her own pockets to help make it happen, she is potentially benefitting an entire nation,” says Wendell Mobley, who directs the company’s charitable and scholarship programs. “Although she hasn’t yet earned her degree, she has already touched the lives of so many.”

Each semester, Sekle collects old, unwanted nursing textbooks from instructors and the local hospital library to send to a nursing school in Liberia, where they’re desperately needed. The students are overjoyed to receive them. She’s paid more than $1,000 of her own money to ship the books, in order to place them into the hands of her fellow students in Africa.

Sekle has also implemented some of the skills and knowledge she’s obtained through her nursing education. On a recent trip to Liberia, she witnessed a shortage of healthcare providers and basic lifestyle counseling first hand. When she checked blood pressures of local residents, she was shocked to see how many people had very high blood pressure yet were unaware of their risk of cardiovascular disease. She counseled them about their lifestyle choices and sent them for further evaluation by a physician at a free clinic.

“It is fantastic that, as a student nurse, Irene can see beyond her own needs to help others,” expresses Michelle Hokanson, a 2005 recipient of the award and one of this year’s judges. “The fact that she has the foresight to see that these books could still be used and is recycling them in a country that values them is terrific. She has taken this task upon herself. Just think what she will be able to accomplish in the future.”

Sekle was inspired to become a nurse after watching the popular American television medical drama Marcus Welby, MD. “I was amazed by the miracles being performed in the operating room, and I wanted to be a part of those miracles,” she says. “I am proud to say that I am following my dream, after so many years. I feel that God has called me to be a blessing to His people.”

Sekle was nominated by Melinda Armstrong, one of her professors at the Presbyterian School of Nursing at Queens University of Charlotte. As a Grand Prize Winner in the award’s Student Nurse Category, she receives an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two, a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear worth more than $1,000 and a trophy. She will also be featured in Cherokee’s nationally distributed 2009 Inspired Comfort Award calendar.

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, nearly 7,000 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 Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

For every nomination in 2008, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 to Nurse’s House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship. 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 2009 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1st through May 31st, 2009.

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

New Jersey Caregiver Changes Attitudes and Extends Lives Through Hope and Exceptional Caring

Putting smiles back on the faces of her patients despite their circumstances is all in a day’s work for Marie Coleman, CHHA, CNA.

Just months ago, a 92-year-old woman who was experiencing a significant decline was admitted to Homeside Hospice, in Clark, NJ, where Coleman works as a home health aide. By spending time to find out about the woman’s life before her illness, Coleman was able to bring the patient out of her depression, giving her hope for improvement. Shortly after, the patient began eating again and shocked everyone with her newfound enthusiasm and desire to get out of bed.

Coleman is known for going above and beyond the call of duty, often spending extra time with her patients to ensure they are receiving the care they need. She is a true hero of nursing, overtaken by care and compassion. Her patients consider her as more than a caregiver; in fact, most of them would call her a friend.  A true patient advocate, she is someone they trust and feel comfortable around. Whether it’s to help them eat, get dressed or take a bath, they ask her for assistance without feelings of embarrassment. For her continued devotion to her patients, she has received the prestigious Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. She is one of only 10 honorees nationwide in 2007.

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.

Coleman always goes out of her way, driving far from home and putting in extra hours without monetary compensation. When asked why she enjoys what she does, Coleman comments,”I like my work because of the feeling of joy it gives to me. It warms my heart to see the difference I can make in someone’s life when they need help.”

Coleman was nominated for the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award by her friend and co-worker, Nora Bertocci, who said,”Giving care to her patients is Marie’s job, giving them love and compassion is her way.”

As a Grand Prize Winner in the award’s Non-Physician Healthcare Professional category, Coleman receives an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise, 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, 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.

Friday, October 24th, 2008

RN Welcomes Foreign Cancer Patient Into Her Own Home for Treatment

Joan Delk, a registered nurse at the Moses Cone Regional Cancer Center, in Greensboro, NC, stops at nothing when it comes to making sure that a patient is receiving the best care possible – even if that means taking a patient into her own home. For the personal sacrifices and exceptional care that she provided to a cancer patient from Sudan, Delk has received the prestigious Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. She is one of 10 honorees nationwide in 2007.

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.

“Cancer patients demonstrate a lot of courage and endurance,” says Delk.”People dealing with cancer have a different perspective on life. Their priorities change with the new diagnosis and they can teach you a great deal about life and getting your priorities right.”

Delk became very attached to a female patient who had come to the United States from Sudan to receive treatment for Acute Leukemia. The woman had no family in the United States and was relying solely on Medicaid for transportation to and from the cancer center. At times, she would wait for hours after treatment before someone arrived to take her home.

Delk decided to take it upon herself to create a comfortable place for the patient to stay by inviting the woman into her own home. She spent countless hours outside of work setting up a bedroom and caring for her needs. Additionally, Delk worked with people at her church to arrange adequate transportation to and from the center for the woman.

When it was decided that the patient would need to undergo a bone marrow transplant, Delk worked tirelessly with the government to get the patient’s brother to the United States. When he finally arrived, she tested him and found that he was a match for his sister. Delk also invited him into her home and, prior to the transplant, took them both to the beach to see the ocean for their first time. Although the woman didn’t survive the treatments, Delk continued to assist the family by playing an instrumental role in planning her funeral and arranging for her body to be sent back to Sudan.

As a Grand Prize Winner in the award’s Registered Nurse category, Delk receives an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two, 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.

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Virginia LPN Honored for Saving Life in Crowded Airport

When you’re a nurse, there is no telling where you will encounter someone in need of your assistance. It could be in a park, a department store or even your local supermarket. For Fawn Fitz, LPN, a nurse at Community Memorial Healthcenter in South Hill, Va., it was Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. For her courageous and life-saving actions that day, she has received the prestigious Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. She is one of only 10 honorees nationwide in 2007.

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.

Fitz was on her way home from a national competition in which her daughter participated. Although the event took place at Iowa State University, she and her party ended up in Chicago when their flight plan was suddenly changed. She was rushing through the crowded airport to change planes when the unthinkable happened; she came upon a man who was lying on the floor, seemingly lifeless. Without hesitation, she threw her bags down and sprung into action as a first responder. Finding the man had no pulse, Fitz pulled out a medical mouth shield and began administering CPR. She continued artificially breathing for the man while another nurse arrived and began giving him chest compressions.

Fitz kept her undivided attention on the man, despite the large crowd of people that had gathered around to watch. After learning that the airport had an Automatic External Defibrillator, she used the device to shock the man twice. He finally began to regain his heart rhythm. Fitz smiles as she recalls, “As soon as I saw the paramedics, I started screaming ‘Ya’ll need to intubate him!’ And they did.”

She was nominated for the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Awardby her colleague, Susan Helms, who commented that although Fitz was credited by airport personnel, airline staff and bystanders for saving the man’s life, she has responded with humility and dignity.

“I just did what needed to be done and what any nurse should do. I believe God put me there at that moment for a reason because there were so many reasons that our group shouldn’t have been there,” says Fitz.

As a Grand Prize Winner in the award’s LPN/LVN category, Fitz receives an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two, 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.

Friday, October 10th, 2008