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Erie VA Medical Center Celebrates Nurses

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Erie VA Medical Center kicks off the 7-day-long celebration of National Nurses Week with a Nurses Week Tea and Award Ceremony.

Hosted by Dorene M. Sommers, RN, BSN, MBA, FACHE, Associate Director, Patient Care Services, the ceremony acknowledges, honors, and applauds the mission-critical contributions made by our nursing staff while caring for our Nation's heroes.

Each year, Erie VAMC colleagues nominate staff to recognize their outstanding service to our Veterans, demonstration of excellence, and the highest level of dedication to their profession. Awards for these recipients are presented during the Nurses Week Tea and Award Ceremony. This year’s theme, “Rooted in Strength,” highlights the continuum of growth and evolution within our nursing workforce.

2022 Nurses Week Tea and Award Ceremony Recipients:

THE DAISY COVID Team Award honors a group that continues to consistently care courageously and compassionately. 
The entire Erie VA Medical Center Staff 
The Nursing Workforce Development Committee (NWDC) and DAISY Team feels the entire facility has gone above and beyond in helping patients and families through the COVID-19 pandemic.

DAISY Team Award
The DAISY Team Award is designed to honor collaboration by two or more people, led by a nurse, who identify and meet patient and/or patient family needs by going above and beyond the traditional role of Nursing.
Erie VA Medical Center's Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System (DEMPS)
The Erie VAMC DEMPS team serves Veterans across the nation, year-round. When called upon, members of this group deploy within a 24-48 hour period to the emergency or disaster site. This team, led by Dorene M. Sommers RN, BSN, MBA, FACHE, who works side-by-side her members in the field, focuses on bettering the lives of Veterans and serving the community.

The Erie VAMC DEMPS Team members embody the Core Values of the VA Mission.
Dorene M. Sommers, RN, BSN, MBA, FACHE
Lori Hoffman, LPN
Will Taylor, RT
Tammy Willow, RT
Barry Blasic, LPN
Jennifer Benham, HCT
Dave Buczynski, RN
Jerri Lobdell, LPN
Nicole Cleveland, LPN
Kenneth Green
Joshua Dolecki, RN

DAISY Nurse Leader Award 
This award honors a nurse leader who models extraordinary behavior, motivates staff, and promotes and enhances the image of nursing. These leaders create an environment where compassionate care by clinicians can thrive.
Joni Mushrush, MSN, RN | Manager Home and Community Based Care
Ms. Mushrush demonstrates confidence, integrity, and critical thinking on a daily basis. Her countless hours of planning and coordinating the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine to homebound Veterans made it possible for these patients to receive vaccine, who otherwise may not have been able to do so.  

Ms. Mushrush provides steadfast leadership and radiates comfort, compassion, and care with both Veterans and her staff. She is a shining example of leadership in the VA. She exemplifies HRO qualities and has been a trusted resource and mentor to her employees throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. A great and truly effective team must have a strong leader. Ms. Mushrush models that in every way, every day.

Secretary’s Award – RN Expanded Role
This honor is bestowed annually upon nurses who continually strive to move the nursing profession ahead. The recipients’ contributions to the care of our patients must be patient-centered and demonstrate excellence.
Sharon Correll, RN, BSN | Occupational Health Nurse
Ms. Correll demonstrates flexibility and determination to obtain desired outcomes regardless of limited resources. She exemplifies grace and humility in her interactions and supports her decisions and discussions with substantive evidence. She is highly organized, demonstrates leadership and critical thinking skills while providing services to approximately 1,350 employees and volunteers.

Ms. Correll is a tremendous resource to the staff and leadership of the Erie VA Medical Center and maintains the utmost respect.

To our Exemplary Nursing Staff,
Helping others heal is not easy. We applaud your resolve – successfully navigating the twists, turns, and opportunities with Veterans as priority. 
Thank you for providing hope and comfort in good and challenging times – your steadfast commitment has not gone unnoticed. 
Your ability to build trust, extend compassion, and provide support is essential to our collective impact. 
This week and all year, we appreciate your selfless contributions to the Erie VA, our Veterans, and our community. 

With great appreciation,
John A. Gennaro, Director 
Edward J. Jackowski, Interim Associate Director 
Dr. Borys Loza, M.D., Chief of Staff
Dorene M. Sommers, RN, BSN, MBA, FACHE, Associate Director, Patient Care Services