VA Maryland Health Care System
Excellence in Nursing Care
Cheryl Beasley, a nurse at the VA Maryland Health Care System, remembers the exact date she began her VA career working at the Fort Howard VA Medical Center when it included an inpatient facility: Easter Monday 2000. After the Fort Howard inpatient facility closed in 2001, she was reassigned to the Baltimore VA Medical Center, a division of the VA Maryland Health Care System. Currently, she assists with research projects, collecting and collating data for specific researchers. Over the course of her decade-long career with the VA Maryland Health Care System, she has held a variety of different jobs, all requiring her nurse's education and training, but each job offering unique opportunities and challenging her in a different way.
"When I first joined Nursing Service, I worked in the ventilator unit at the Fort Howard VA Medical Center,” she said. "One of the things I love about being a nurse is that I've done a lot of different jobs over my career, including OB-GYN.”
Before joining Nursing Service at the VA Maryland Health Care System, Beasley worked as an active duty Army nurse, beginning her career at Fort Bragg. "I was an Army nurse for 10 years, 10 months, and 26 days. We ended up in Baltimore because my husband, who was also in the Army, was stationed in Aberdeen, and I followed him. I love working for the VA Maryland Health Care System because I like serving other Veterans,” she said.
This year, Nursing Service at the VA Maryland Health Care System marked National Nurses Week—May 6 – 11-- with poster sessions and special events throughout the health care system. It also recognized nurses who've earned special awards and kudos both locally and nationally.
Linda Hudson, RN, was honored with the Secretary's Award for Excellence in Nursing Care at a regional and national level and received her award at the VA Central Office in Washington, D.C. on May 10. Other nurses working at the VA Maryland Health Care System who were selected for Secretary's Award for Excellence in Nursing Care include Ida Harvey, LPN and nursing assistant Stephanie Tharp.
"Our patients rely on nurses for their compassion and the VA relies on nurses for setting the highest clinical care standards,” says Jade Moore, the deputy chief nurse executive for the Baltimore VA Medical Center.
Like Beasley, nurses at the VA Maryland Health Care System work in a host of settings from direct patient care on the nursing units to direct patient care at a Veteran's home. They also work in areas that may not at first blush seem part of the scope of nursing, such as finance, or in administrative areas. Regardless of individual job descriptions or titles, registered nurses ensure that Veterans of all war eras are receiving the VA benefits they've earned.
The largest service at the VA Maryland Health Care System, Nursing Service counts more than 700 registered nurses, more than 70 licensed practical nurses, and more than 200 nursing assistant/health technicians from among a little more than 3,000 employees staffing three inpatient facilities and five outpatient clinics throughout the state.
National Nurses Week is devoted to highlighting the diverse ways in which registered nurses—the largest health care profession—work to improve health care. From bedside nursing in hospitals and long-term care facilities to research institutions, legislatures, and Congress, nurses have served as health care leaders on the front lines, saving lives and maintaining the health of millions of individuals. At the VA Maryland Health Care System, they serve as the compassionate backbone of a world-class health care system, working tirelessly around the clock to serve our nation's Veterans.
"Our Veterans are heroes. It's an honor for me to take care of our heroes,” said Jona DeVera, an outpatient clinic nurse. Echoing her is Rose Brown, a nurse manager in the surgical intensive care unit at the Baltimore VA Medical Center who says "it's an honor to work with Veterans because of the contribution they made to our country and the liberties that has afforded us.”