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Navy Nurse Corps feted at NHB/NMRTC Bremerton

11 May 2024

From Douglas Stutz

Navy Nurse Corps feted at NHB/NMRTC BremertonBy Douglas H Stutz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton public affairs officer - National Nurses Week at Naval Hospital/Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Bremerton not only culminated with celebrating the Navy Nurse Corps 116th birthday from their initial date May 13, 1908.The event also provided a unique full
Navy Nurse Corps feted at NHB/NMRTC Bremerton
By Douglas H Stutz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton public affairs officer - National Nurses Week at Naval Hospital/Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Bremerton not only culminated with celebrating the Navy Nurse Corps 116th birthday from their initial date May 13, 1908.

The event also provided a unique full circle for the command’s ranking U.S. Navy Nurse Corps officer.

Before that the entire week of May 6-10, 2024, featured daily events acknowledging the approximately 95 nurses assigned – including nearly 50 Nurse Corps officers - at the command. There was a Monday potluck breakfast fare, Tuesday catered lunch, Wednesday ice cream social and Thursday Daisy Dash 5K Fun Run/Walk.

By the end of the week, Friday was a piece of cake.

As decorum dictated, the oldest Navy Nurse Corps officer was joined by the youngest for the traditional cake cutting.

For the second year in a row, Capt. Patrick Fitzpatrick, NHB director and NMRTC Bremerton commanding officer and Lt. j.g. Taylor Fink wielded the ceremonial Navy sword.

“This is reminiscent of my first Navy Nurse Corps birthday, which was here. This will probably be my last. I’ve been a nurse for 27 years. A Navy nurse for 26 of those years. I have met some of the great ones of our nurses from World War Two, Korean War. Vietnam War and more who were really astonishing during their service. I’ve stood the watch in the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean. I’m here to tell you it’s been a wonderful career. I never thought as a young officer coming to NHB that I would return some 25 years later. The rewards have been great because of those I’ve worked with and worked for,” stated Fitzpatrick.

Cmdr. Heather Kirk, NMRTC chief nursing officer, delivered opening remarks which included well wishes from Rear Adm. Robert J. Hawkins, U.S. Navy Nurse Corps chief, “Today our corps is more than 3,500 strong. I want each of you to know that the exceptional care you provide is making a tangible difference to those we serve. The nurse corps plays a pivotal role in selflessly delivering top health care to our warfighters, retired beneficiaries and their dependents,” wrote Hawkins.

Birthday greetings were also shared from all other Navy Medicine corps chiefs – Dental Corps, Hospital Corps, Medical Corps and Medical Service Corps – and from the Navy Surgeon General, Rear Adm. Darin Via, who shared, “on behalf of the entire Navy Medicine family, it is my pleasure to extend my heartfelt congratulations to each member of the Nurse Corps on your 116th birthday. Navy nurses have always proven themselves adaptable and exceptional care takers and pioneers of both medicine and military.”

There was also special recognition shared during the celebration.

Lt. Cmdr. Brad O’Keefe, command Daisy Award coordinator and pediatric nurse practitioner, explained to those in attendance that two staff nurses – Amylisa Myers, Amy Cogar - along with Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Shayla Wallace, had been nominated for the prestigious Daisy Award.

The Daisy Award, established in 1999, is an international program which rewards and celebrates extraordinary clinical skill and compassionate care given by a nurse to honor, “the super-human work nurses do for patients and families every day wherever they practice, in whatever role they serve, and throughout their careers,” according to the award foundation.

“The staff member recommended has to exemplify the kind of nurses that patients, their family and staff recognize as an outstanding role model and consistently meet all of the following criteria: compassion, team player/mentor, professionalism, exceptional care, commitment and advocacy,” noted O’Keefe before announcing the recipient.

“She has been nominated quite a few times and received two or three this cycle. The Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses is going to Amy Myers [registered nurse assigned to NHB’s Oral Surgery clinic] in deep appreciation for all you do, who you are and the incredible meaningful difference you make in the lives of so many people,” exclaimed O’Keefe.

O'Keefe presented Myers with a hand-carved stone sculpture from a tribe in Africa which is called a ‘Healers Touch.’ “It’s very unique and specific for each Daisy Awardee,” O’Keefe said.

“I also started my Navy career here some 23 years ago as a Navy ensign. From delivering babies to now delivering teeth, I love being a nurse and nursing,” said Myers.

The submission for Myers speaks volumes in one paragraph, “Dental/Oral Surgery is always a dreaded place for patients including myself. Nurse Amy is the sedation nurse. This means most people probably don’t remember her as they wake up and are discharged soon after surgery. The clinic seemed a bit short staffed on my evaluation day and a lot of accommodation for my surgery had to be made because of specific equipment needed. She went above and beyond as she personally made the calls to coordinate and get the special equipment needed for my surgery the next day. Throughout the whole process she was kind [and] understanding and answered our questions probably too many times to count. I don’t remember much after the surgery, but my partner said she was kind and went over post op instructions in great detail and said if we needed anything to call the clinic and she would be happy to help. Nurse Amy is the kind of nurse that exemplifies quality patient care. I believe she’s more than deserving of this award as she went above her duties to give me the best possible experience as a patient at the hospital.”

Coincidentally, May 12 is the birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the founder of modern nursing. Two years before Nightingale passed away, then-President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Naval Appropriations Bill on that date more than a century ago which authorized the establishment of the Nurse Corps as a unique staff corps of the Navy.

When the Navy Nurse Corps came into being, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton was a 16 bed, wooden, two-story frame building used as ‘Sick Quarters’ on Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. America’s involvement in World War One was still a few years away. In those times and in those conditions, such as now, the Navy Nurse Corps compassion, character and competence were hallmarks of all they did.

Nurse Corps officers and nurses at a military treatment facility like NHB/NMRTC Bremerton handle a host of specialties as part of their overall duties, including family nurse practitioner, executive medicine, nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse, perioperative nursing, maternal child, ambulatory, medical surgical, critical care, and pediatric nursing.

Story originally posted on DVIDS: Navy Nurse Corps feted at NHB/NMRTC Bremerton 

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