This is the second year in a row a Riverside Lifelong Health nurse has been named Nurse of the Year.
Riverside Health System is pleased to announce that Edna Garcia, RN received the Virginia Chapter March of Dimes Nurse of the Year in Geriatrics and Long Term Health award at a gala event in Richmond, Va. Nov. 14, marking the second year in a row a nurse from the health system received the award.
"If you do something, you have to do it the best you can," said Garcia, the health system's Director of Clinical Education for Lifelong Health and Aging Related Services who is Board Certified in Gerontological Nursing, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. "Working with older adults and giving them the best I can give them is all I've ever done. It's what I always tell students to do."
"I share this award with all the nurses who take care of older adults," Garcia said.
The March of Dimes Nurse of the Year awards recognize and honor distinguished nurses for their outstanding contributions to the field of nursing in various care settings. Eighteen nurses from across Riverside were nominated for the March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Awards in various categories (full list below).
“These nurses demonstrate the Riverside Care Difference by putting our patients at the heart of all we do,” said Nancy Littlefield, SVP/Chief Nursing Officer “They, with others on our Riverside team, keep our patients safe and help heal them with kindness and respect. Our congratulations to all of them”
Joanne Skinner, who won the same award last year, nominated Garcia, citing the impact Garcia has made in supporting 10 nursing homes and five assisted living residences in the support role of quality assurance, education and infection prevention.
“She continuously keeps Riverside’s Lifelong Health Division current on emerging evidenced-based practices,” Skinner wrote in her nomination. “She provides an excellent example of professionalism in everything she does. She is caring and always keeps the resident as the focus while assisting the direct care staff to provide the care they need.”
Garcia has worked in long term care with Riverside for 33-years. Originally from the Philippines, Garcia arrived in the U.S. in 1982. When she arrived in Virginia, she began working with Riverside.
“She has numerous accomplishments that have improved the lives of her residents including improving orientation and continuing education and training for staff members, an infection prevention program and a nurse aide education program,” the March of Dimes award team read about Garcia at the ceremony. “She consistently demonstrates professionalism and is involved in numerous projects and committees at her system. She volunteer works in her community and has served on a number of community advisory boards.”
Caring for older adults today, Garcia said, “is a very challenging environment because the residents we have in our nursing facilities years ago are not the same type of residents we are admitting in the nursing facility nowadays. They are more ill and the nurse has to be highly skilled to serve this type of population.”
Across the health system, Garcia said, more nurses like her are beginning to understand and appreciate the unique needs of working with older adults. “That’s really important,” Garcia said. “Older adult patients are not just in nursing homes. They are in hospitals, primary care physician offices and more.”
Garcia finds “a lot of satisfaction knowing I am providing the best care possible.
That treatment philosophy speaks directly to the Riverside mission, Garcia said, which encourages all nurses across the health system to treat patients as they would treat their own loved ones.
“Nurses provide care not expecting anything from a resident, it’s unconditional kind, care,” Garcia said. “But when you get a smile from a resident, or provide compassionate care that makes them feel better, it makes your day. It’s like my second home working with older adults. That’s probably why I stayed in geriatrics for 33 years.”
Eight others became finalists and included Kimberly Benton of the Riverside College of Health Careers in the category of Student Nurse; Arlene Messina, Nurse Executive, Riverside Doctors’ Hospital Williamsburg, in the category of Nurse Executive; Desiree Mulligan and Krystal Wright of the Riverside Regional Medical Center (RRMC) in the category of Med-Surg; Wendy Childress of RRMC in the category of Oncology; Kandy Lawson of the RRMC in the category of Neonatal Intensive Care; Dawn LaRoque, Director, Quality and Clinical Outcomes, Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, in the category of Case/Quality Management; and Ann Pruitt, Director of Maternal Child Health Unit at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital in the category of Women’s Health and Obstetrics.
Published: November 17, 2015