On January 16, 2014, a ceremony honoring Chief Nursing Officer Cathy Rick was held to commemorate the occasion of her retirement. In addition to her certificate of retirement, Under Secretary for Health Robert Petzel and Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health Robert Jesse presented Cathy Rick with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Distinguished Career Award on behalf of the Secretary for Veterans Affairs, Eric K. Shinseki. Army Surgeon General Lt. General Patricia D. Horoho, the first nurse Army Surgeon General, presented Cathy Rick with the Order of Military Medical Merit on behalf of the United States Army Medical Department. Additional Comments about Ms. Rick’s achievements as VA Chief Nursing Officer were provided by American Nurses Association Chief Executive Officer Marla Weston and Atlanta VA Medical Center Nurse Executive Sandy Leake.
In her remarks upon receipt of the awards, Ms. Rick stated she was grateful for the opportunities afforded to her throughout her career, and “takes great pride having served the talented VA nursing staff in caring for our nation’s heroes and for stepping up, taking risks, being innovative, and being forward thinking as they’ve advanced VA nursing practice over the past decade”. She thanked the Office of Nursing Services staff for their exemplary commitment to “tackle the tough issues of today while simultaneously paving the way for a desired future state”. She thanked those in the USH office, programs offices, VISN and facility leadership for their support, guidance, and health debates as colleagues and said “VA nursing continues to stand ready to be full partners in all efforts for continuous improvement in patient care, academic partnerships, research, and emergency management”. She recognized the Tri-Council leadership for their collaborative efforts embracing the role of VA nursing in their strategic priorities. She concluded with her gratitude and pride extended to Secretary Shinseki, the Federal Nursing Service Chiefs, Congressional Committees, Veteran Service Organizations, and the National Partnership Council.