Nurses have been celebrated around the world for decades during the month of May. In the United States, an annual week-long celebration culminates on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday, who is considered the founder of modern nursing.
At Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, this year’s Nurse, Medic, Tech Week was held in August due to COVID-19 operations during the early response efforts to the global pandemic.
"We salute all nurses -- both military and civilian -- who have served and are currently serving our nation and our people," said Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, who along with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, thanked nurses for their efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This pandemic has made it abundantly clear that nurses have always been and always will be on the front lines of keeping our American communities and our American people safe," said Milley.
This year’s celebration at LRMC, held Aug. 6-12, included a blessing for nurses, medics and technicians at LRMC by the hospital’s religious services team, and held daily celebrations for the medical professionals including special meals, activities and recognition of individuals who have gone above and beyond expectations.
“I think it's pretty cool that they dedicate a whole week to recognize us and show appreciation for the things we do, because it is a tough job,” said U.S. Army Spc. Kaiya Hammond, a licensed practical nurse at LRMC’s Department of Women’s Health. “We (care for patients) every day, it’s something we're used to. So it's kind of nice to have us highlighted.”
Hammond, a native of Bellingham, Washington, was recognized as LRMC’s LPN of the Year for 2020 during the week’s closing ceremonies. Also recognized were the hospital’s Advanced Practice Nurse of the Year, Registered Nurse of the Year, Medic of the Year and Medical Technician of the Year.
“These 10 awardees are just an example of the excellence and awesomeness that happens at LRMC every single day,” said U.S. Army Col. Jana Nohrenberg, the chief nursing officer at LRMC. “Over 80 nominations came from all over the organization in recognition of the hard work and efforts of Team Legacy Nursing.”
For the last two years, Hammond has called LRMC home, her first assignment in the Army. While exemplifying the selfless nature of nursing, Hammond has demonstrated her devotion to patient care through added training to assist other medical units in the hospital if the need comes up.
“In case the COVID-19 care team gets overwhelmed, then we're next to bat,” explains Hammond. “We volunteered to care for less acute cases.”
During the last year, Hammond’s proficiency was tested when a hemorrhaging mom and hypoglycemic baby both required medical attention. Hammond managed to effectively care for the pair as they waited for the obstetrics team to respond.
“(Hammond’s) extraordinary dedication to Clinical Excellence, clinical acumen and ability to perform under immense pressure, exemplify excellence in nursing practice,” said Nohrenberg. “This is a relatively new LPN, and the (nominations) I got (for Hammond) were just heart stopping. The things she was able to do are just absolutely amazing.”
Nurses, medics and LPNs like Hammond are responsible for the care of the military community, from pediatric to geriatric patients. In the Army, roles encompass an array of medical fields including public health, critical care and ambulatory, and even research roles. Technicians support these roles through proficient medical support, from radiology services to pharmaceutical.