AUGUSTA, Ga. – Amy McKeen, a nurse clinician in pediatric pulmonology and coordinator of the pediatric Cystic Fibrosis Center at Children’s Hospital of Georgia, was named Nurse of the Year at the 2014 Spirit of Nursing Showcase hosted by the CSRA Chapter of the Georgia Nurses Association. The annual Showcase and awards banquet is a celebration of National Nurses Week, which begins on May 6 and ends on May 12, the birthday of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale.
McKeen serves as both a case manager and nurse educator, caring for more than 100 patients battling cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disease affecting the lungs and digestive system. She is involved in research studies with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and participates in CFF’s Quality Improvement Initiative. She also spearheaded several improvement projects to benefit local CF patients, including shortening their hospital stays, helping them follow their medication regimens and coordinating their flu vaccinations.
McKeen developed resource notebooks for parents of newly diagnosed patients and for patients transitioning from pediatric to adult care. She distributes a quarterly newsletter to patients and caregivers about local and national CF issues, and she has been instrumental in establishing both a CF infant support group and a family advisory council.
She helps raise awareness about cystic fibrosis in the community through the Great Strides Annual Walk, 65 Roses Augusta Marathon, and CF golf tournament.
There were nearly a dozen Georgia Regents University and Health System nominees for CSRA Nurse of the Year, and several of them received recognition awards in subcategories. Mark Schreiber, Director of Clinical Operations in the Emergency Department, was named Nurse Manager of the Year; Carla Allen in Labor and Delivery was named Staff Nurse of the Year; and McKeen received a second honor as Case Manager/Nurse Navigator of the Year.
In addition, the following Georgia Regents nurses received Reflection of Nursing Spirit awards at the Showcase for demonstrating a positive image of the nursing profession and serving as role models and mentors to other nurses:
- Susan Allen, Emergency Department, Georgia Regents Medical Center
- Alicia Alvarado, 7 South, Medicine, GRMC
- Gracie Brown, Perioperative Services, GRMC
- Christa Butler, Neuroscience Clinics, GRMC
- Becky Douglas, Ambulatory Care, GRMC
- Mary Duckworth, 6 South, Cardiac Care Unit, GRMC
- Pamela Gardner, 5 South, Bone Marrow Transplant, GRMC
- Kitty M. Garrett, GRU College of Nursing
- Courtney McLendon, Pediatric Emergency Department, Children’s Hospital of Georgia
- Marguerite J. Murphy, GRU College of Nursing
- Charlotte (Kay) Nestell, Perioperative Services, GRMC
- Leann VanLandingham, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, CHOG
- Winston Wang, 3 West, Neuroscience, GRMC
- Gloria Wright, 4C, Pediatric Medicine, CHOG
The Georgia Association of PeriAnesthesia Nurses also recognized GAPAN member Sandra Klein in Perioperative Services at GRMC with a Spirit of Nursing award.
According to the American Nurses Association, there are about 3 million registered nurses in the United States today. More than 1,300 of them deliver care at Georgia Regents Health System. Often described as an art and a science, nursing is a profession that has grown tremendously over the past few decades. Most people associate nurses with hospitals, but hospitals are just one of the many areas where today’s nurses practice.
Nearly 70 faculty nurses at GRU’s College of Nursing work in the classroom, teaching and training tomorrow’s patient care teams. Nurses are also earning advanced degrees, such as the nurse practitioner degree, and are operating a variety of medical clinics to help meet the demand for primary care. Furthermore, nurses are leading the charge in Patient-and Family-Centered Care, a practice Georgia Regents helped pioneer that improves health care quality and safety by involving the patient and family in the entire plan of care.