Schneck Medical Center presents awards to four nurses

There are many definitions of what a nurse is.

Warren Forgey, president and CEO of Schneck Medical Center, read one of his favorites while making the opening remarks Thursday during the Seymour hospital’s annual Nurse Recognition Awards program.

“Nurse, just another word to describe a person strong enough to tolerate everything and soft enough to understand everyone,” Forgey said. “I witness that definition every single day here at Schneck.”

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Forgey said the hospital observes National Nurses Week to raise awareness of the important role nurses play in society and particularly at Schneck.

Each year, National Nurses Week begins May 6 and ends May 12, which is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

Schneck celebrated by honoring four nurses in a special recognition ceremony.

Receiving awards were Elizabeth Tape, Advanced Practice Nurse of the Year; Brandi Henderson, Licensed Practical Nurse of the Year; Stephanie Grunden, Registered Nurse of the Year; and Aaron Napier, Nurse Leader of the Year.

Venetia Green, director of inpatient nursing services; Amy Pettit, vice president of nursing services and chief nursing officer; and Dr. Eric Fish, chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs, presented the awards.

Fish presented Tape with her award and talked about how she exemplifies Schneck’s mission to improve the health of the community through her actions.

“Elizabeth has enthusiastically taken on the challenge of developing the excellence necessary to provide compassionate and skilled endocrinology care to the many Schneck patients that are in need of this specialty service,” Fish said.

Tape, who has worked at Schneck for five years, recently became a certified diabetes educator and has developed and implemented the Diabetes Support Group.

“I became a nurse to become a nurse practitioner so that I could help all the diabetic patients of the world,” Tape said. “I have Type 1 diabetes, and so I wanted to help others who have it, too, and that was my ultimate goal.”

Tape said when she got connected with Dr. Kristen Gilbert, an endocrinologist at Schneck, it was the perfect match.

Green presented Henderson with her award and started out by saying she believed Henderson’s job chose her instead of her choosing her job.

“Brandi demonstrates skill in her nursing level and is always willing to go above and beyond to help her patients,” Green said. “Brandi is always in a positive, uplifting mood, always has a smile on her face and is willing to help, no matter the situation.”

Henderson has been at Schneck off and on for about four years.

“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse, and I like helping people,” Henderson said. “I didn’t expect the award today, and it was a complete surprise — a very awesome, amazing and rewarding surprise.”

Henderson said no two days are the same, so she gets a bunch of difference experiences and believes that is why she likes her job so much.

She currently is in school to earn her Bachelor of Science in nursing and also is working toward becoming a registered nurse, which will happen in December.

Green also presented Grunden with her award.

“Stephanie is a very compassionate nurse. She will sit with her patients and talk, laugh and even cry with them,” Green said. “Stephanie has outdone herself in unifying our unit and building teamwork and a positive environment.”

Grunden has worked at Schneck for nearly six years and said her inspiration to become a nurse came from a niece who died from cancer.

“After she passed away, I decided to go back so that I could help other people,” Grunden said.

She said the most rewarding part of her career is helping people who can’t help themselves.

“I am very overwhelmed to receive this award,” Grunden said. “It means a lot, and I’m very appreciative.”

Pettit presented the final award, which went to Napier. She said Napier is a huge asset to the night shift crew, has a wealth of information and makes himself available.

Members of the nursing leadership team shared their thoughts about Napier:

“Aaron is a master’s prepared nurse leader. He has worked hard to develop and maintain a positive working relationship with his peers, staff nurses and physicians.”

“Aaron’s leadership style in the nurse supervisor role is honest, transparent, accountable and effective. He is Schneck.”

Napier, who has worked at Schneck for nearly 14 years, oversees the activities of all of the units during the evening shift.

Working at a hospital was not something Napier had always planned to do. He said he had never thought about becoming a nurse until he ran into a director of nursing many years ago at a restaurant where he was working in Florida.

“I was working at a restaurant in Sanibel where they were having a commercial shoot,” Napier said. “The director of nursing and I began chatting, and she asked me to investigate the nursing field, and so I did.”

Napier said that is how he discovered nursing was interesting and began volunteering at a hospital in Florida.

“I got to watch open-heart surgery and was sucked into the medical field at that point,” Napier said.

He said not everything about nursing is rewarding so it’s the people he works with that really pull him through and are just like family.

“It’s the people I work with and the patients that keep me here,” he said.

Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman also attended the program to read a proclamation declaring it Nurses Week in the city.

Luedeman said he has experienced the enormous care given by the nurses and said this year’s theme was “Nurses inspire, innovate and influence.”

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A few facts about Schneck Medical Center nurses:

The Seymour hospital has 336 nurses, including licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, registered nurses and advanced practice nurses.

There are 225 who provide direct clinical care. The remaining work in other departments throughout the hospital, including health information services, information technology, administration, organizational excellence and innovation and patient services, to name a few.

There are 22 advanced practice providers, which includes nurse practitioners and certified registered nurse anesthetists.

There are 15 nurse leaders.

Fifty-two percent of the direct care nurses have a professional certification.

More than 82 percent of the direct care nurses have a Bachelor of Science in nursing or higher degree.

Source: Stephanie Furlow, director of marketing and public relations for Schneck Medical Center

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2018 Schneck Medical Center Nurse Recognition Awards

Advanced Practice Nurse of the Year: Elizabeth Tape

Licensed Practical Nurse of the Year: Brandi Henderson

Registered Nurse of the Year: Stephanie Grunden

Nurse Leader of the Year: Aaron Napier