Nurses save lives every day, much of the time without thanks.
“God knows you rescue people every day with what you do,” said LeAnn Thieman, 14-book “Chicken Soup for the Soul” author.
On Thursday, Northside Hospital thanked its nurses by holding a certified nurses’ celebration luncheon at the Forsyth Conference Center at Lanier Technical College.
The event brought together nurses from all three of Northside’s campuses — Atlanta, Forsyth and Cherokee — to recognize the certified men and women who work tirelessly for their patients.
“[Certified] nurses have bedside experience of about two years and then there are professional organizations that have particular criteria that are required in order to recognize them at the highest level,” said Janis Dubow, Northside’s vice president and chief nursing officer. “This is about honoring and recognizing nurses who have a great deal of expertise within their [specialization.]”
While Thieman, a retired nurse, served as the luncheon’s keynote speaker, she also took on the role of motivational speaker and nurse advocate, reminding attendees to take care of themselves just as they would their patients.
“As I talk to nurses, I am convinced we’re so busy taking care of other people that we take lousy care of ourselves,” she said. “We treat ourselves in ways that we would never treat a patient that we care for. How often do we deny ourselves food or drink? How often do we give ourselves the quantity and quality of food we know our body needs?
“Do you ever hear yourself say, ‘I get by, I survive?’ How did we ever get to a place where ‘surviving’ and ‘getting by’ is good enough? We can’t just wait for weekends to catch up on sleep and eat breakfast and go to church. We need to take time every day — even if it’s in 15-minute increments —to nurture our bodies, minds and spirits.”
Northside’s nurses work hard, Thieman said, which was reflected in the number of certified personnel recognized at Thursday’s event.
“In 2016, we had 796 certified nurses,” Dubow said. “We had 71 different specialties included in this and over 250 different departments in all our locations. As of March 1, [2017,] we’re at 986. However, we’re still increasing that and we’re working with human resources to make the certification exam available.”
Forsyth’s campus has 167 certified nurses.
“We want to increase the number of certified nurses because the evidence shows that we can really improve outcomes to patients,” Dubow said. “Our certified nurses are more knowledgeable and have a higher level of expertise.
“Our nurses are extremely valuable to us and we want to demonstrate how valuable they are to us and our organization.”
At the event, awards were given to nursing units who reached various benchmarks for the number of certified nurses they staff.
Twelve units — five from Cherokee, three from Forsyth and four from Atlanta — were recognized at the bronze level, meaning they have hit the 50-percent benchmark in their number of certified nurses compared to identical specialty units across the country.
Two units, one from Forsyth and one from Atlanta, won silver-level awards, meaning they hit the 75th percentile benchmark.
One unit from the Atlanta campus hit the gold level, or the 90th percentile benchmark.
Amie Jarrous, a clinical development specialist in Northside’s progressive cardiac care unit, was also recognized for winning this year’s Halpern Family RN Scholarship.
The scholarship, a program created by Dunwoody resident David Halpern in 2014 to honor the doctors and nurses who took care of his mother during an intensive hospital stay, goes to nurses who pursue certification in cardiac-vascular nursing.
Next year, two nurses will be awarded scholarships.