Col. Vinette Gordon, deputy chief of the Army Nurse Corps, celebrated the organization's 112th birthday with a visit to Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center.

During her visit on Feb. 7, which included a tour and cake-cutting ceremony, Gordon praised the facility's dedication to service members.

"This is one of Army Medicine and the Army Nursing Corps' treasures," Gordon said. "The efforts of the nursing leadership and staff are very visible. You can see and hear how they are taking care of America's sons and daughters."

The Army Nurse Corps became a permanent corps of the Medical Department under the Army Reorganization Act, which was passed by Congress and signed by President William McKinley on Feb. 2, 1901.

The organization's mission, according to its website, is "providing responsive, innovative, and evidenced-based nursing care integrated on the Army Medicine Team to enhance readiness, preserve life and function, and promote health and wellness for all those entrusted to our care."

Traditionally, active-duty and Reserve component officers comprised the Army Nurse Corps. Today, the organization also includes Department of the Army civilians and enlisted medical personnel.

The nursing team at Kimbrough is made up of more than 150 nurses who are Army Nurse Corps officers, DA civilians and Army medics.

Col. Lorraine Fritz, deputy commander for Nursing at Kimbrough, and Lt. Col. Andrew Baxter, assistant deputy commander for Nursing, welcomed Gordon to Kimbrough. They led her on a tour of the facility's Green Clinic, the Same-Day Surgery Operating Room and the new Multi-Service Clinic, which began a phased-in opening in December and will celebrate its official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Feb. 25.

After the tour, Gordon met with members of Kimbrough's nursing team for a briefing on the facility's implementation of the Army Nursing Corps' Patient CaringTouch System, which was rolled out by the Army Medical Department in early 2012.

The PCTS was developed to reduce clinical quality variance by adopting a set of internally and externally validated best practices that have been shown to improve the care provided to patients and their families, Fritz said.

Nurses from several clinics within the Fort Meade Medical Department Activity updated Gordon via teleconference on the progress of the system at their respective facilities.

The visit ended with a cake-cutting ceremony where Gordon presented the Army Nurse Corps coin and a copy of the book, "The Contemporary History of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps," to Capt. Gayle Fisher, nurse manager of the Multi-Service Clinic; Glenne Kertes, clinical nurse manager for the Primary Care Unit; Sgt. Antoni Alatorre, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the Specialty Clinic and Multi-Service Clinic; and retired Maj. Hector Erazo, who retired from Kimbrough in November 2012 after 21 years of service.

"It's a great opportunity to have [Gordon] here today to interact with the staff and [for them] to be recognized for what they do at Kimbrough every day," Fritz said.

Kertes, who served as an Army Nurse Corps officer five years ago, said she was honored to be recognized by Gordon and the Army Nurse Corps.

"I had a great experience with the Army Nurse Corps," said Kertes, who is now a DA civilian nurse. "It felt like I was part of a family."