By Marcy Sanchez, WBAMC Public Affairs:
(El Paso, Texas, Nov. 16, 2017)
William Beaumont Army Medical Center recognized two WBAMC nurses for their service and dedication to patient care during the first-ever Light-the-Way award ceremony at the hospital Oct. 25.
The award recognizes two nurses each quarter who exemplify outstanding patient care and the spirit and passion of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
“WBAMC has over 900 nurses that work extremely hard on the front lines to care for our patients,” said Capt. Natalie Whitaker, patient caring touch system ambassador and chair of the Light-the-Way committee. “We wanted to have a way of saying ‘thank you’ for all their hard work for their patients.”
Over the last quarter of Fiscal Year 2017, more than 20 nominations were submitted from patients, providers, nursing staff and families wishing to recognize the compassion of nursing team members. While only two are recognized with the award, all nominees receive a distinguishing lantern-shaped pin in recognition of their nomination.
Priscilla Barron and 1st Lt. Lauren Hill, staff nurses at WBAMC’s Medical Ward, were the first recipients of the award.
“I was blown away to be nominated,” said Barron, a native of El Paso. “I was honored because I work with so many amazing people.”
While the hospital recognizes employees for exceptional effort each month, the Light-the-Way award is dedicated to awarding the nursing team to inspire and increase morale and develop role models.
“It is a meaningful reminder for nurses as to why they became nurses in the first place: to take care of others,” Whitaker said.
Originally, a committee was formed to implement a well-known nursing award at WBAMC to honor nurses but decided to develop a unique award to cover a broader range of nurses at WBAMC, to include Registered Nurses, Licensed Vocational Nurses, nursing assistants and aides, medics and technicians. While developing the exclusive recognition, the group fashioned the award’s name and lantern-shaped pins after accounts of Nightingale’s use of a lantern to check on patients throughout the night, dubbing her “The Lady with the Lamp.”
“The committee felt that the lantern was a beautiful symbol,” Whitaker said. “The Maternal-Child Health Services (Unit Practice Council) developed the name, ‘Light-the-Way,’ and a poster. It is truly a homegrown award.”
As a child, Barron was inspired to become a nurse after watching her aunt work for years as an intensive-care unit nurse at the local county hospital after 11 years of nursing, Barron still embodies the definition of nursing.
“It’s a scary time to be here (for patients) and they may not have family members around to comfort them. Little things like small talk can have a huge impact on the patient, even giving them an extra blanket,” Barron said. “I think you always have to put your patient first and think of patients as family members. If my parents were here I would want them to be treated with respect and compassion.”
Once nurses receive a nomination, Light-the-Way recipients are judged on six elements: Love of profession and patient, Inspiration (inspiring others through action), Going above and beyond, Heart (demonstrating compassion and empathy), Teamwork and Selflessness. Together, the elements form the acronym LIGHTS.
“Putting patients first and enhancing their experience, during what can be one of the most stressful and traumatic part of their lives, is a key piece to patient care,” Whitaker said. “Maya Angelou said it best, ‘People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did but people will never forget the way you made them feel.’”
To nominate a nurse, patients, physicians and other staff members can submit nomination forms found throughout the hospital and through the WBAMC website at https://www.wbamc.amedd.army.mil/.