FORT BRAGG, N.C. --Womack Army Medical Center held its Blessing of the Hands opening ceremony, May 5. This event marks the beginning of Nurses Month festivities at the hospital. The 2023 theme is “Nurses make a difference, anytime, anywhere, and always.”
The Blessing of the Hands is a traditional ceremony that is deeply rooted in nursing culture. It is a symbolic gesture of gratitude and reverence for the work that nurses perform, and a recognition of the healing power of touch. The ceremony is a way to honor and bless the hands of the nurses who provide care to patients every day.
The event was attended by WAMC’s nursing staff, physicians, hospital leadership, and other medical professionals.
Col. Hugh McLean Jr., WAMC deputy commanding officer, served as the guest speaker. He shared how the nursing profession made a lasting impression on him as a child. He recalled eating dinners with his mother, when she was a nurse, late nights in the cafeteria.
“Nurses Day should be recognized every day of the year,” he said. “It honors the unwavering commitment the military makes to their patients on and off the battlefield. Over 90,000 U.S. Army nurses have served in every conflict from the Civil War to Operation Enduring Freedom/ Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“When the COVID pandemic hit, Womack’s ICU doors never shut, never went on divert, because of you. The ICU expanded from eight beds to a phenomenal 21 beds, because nurses volunteered to be transferred from outpatient care to the ICU. They worked overtime and gave their all. You all are my heroes! Patients are better off because of your calling to enter this great profession. The impact you make on healthcare is unparallel. Here at Womack, nurses are the backbone of Team Womack,” said McLean.
During the ceremony, the Blessing of the Hands was led by an interfaith chaplain ministry team with the Nurse’s Prayer and Litany of Thanksgiving, followed by individual blessings for those that desired words of gratitude and encouragement to the nursing staff.
The event was closed out by Lt. Col. Tanekkia Taylor-Clark, WAMC interim deputy commander for Inpatient Services and chief nurse scientist at the Center for Nursing Science and Clinical Inquiry. She highlighted the upcoming nursing events and encouraged participation.
“These events serve as motivation and to revitalize and reignite our own why. We want you to walk away feeling rejuvenated, full and fed.”
Throughout the month of May, WAMC will continue to host a series of events and activities celebrating Nurses Month and the contributions of its nursing staff. Week one was designated as Self Care Week, which also included Zumba class, May 2.
Week two is Recognition Week. May 8-12 includes senior leader rounds, a fundraiser booth outside the Blue Ribbon Bistro and a #NursesRock Photo Challenge.
Week three is Professional Development Week. There will be a, Excelling in Your Nursing Career, roundtable discussion, May 17, from 8-9 a.m. and 12-1 p.m. in room 521.
Week four is Community Engagement Week. A White Out & Closing Ceremony is scheduled May 25, 12-1p.m., at the Rock Merritt Avenue entrance. Nurses are also invited to volunteer at a local Fort Bragg school’s field day, May 26, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. To volunteer, you may contact Lt. Col. Monique Grinnell at email@example.com.