The dedication and service of more than 400 nurse assistants in Northwest Ohio was honored at the Seventh Annual Nurse Assistant Recognition Day May 28 at Owens Community College.
Nurse assistants from area hospitals, nursing homes, home health care agencies and hospices in 14 counties came to the Owens Toledo-area campus to participate in the special event. Lucas County Commissioner Sandy Isenberg was the keynote speaker for the luncheon. The event was hosted by Owens Community College's Center for Development and Training (CDT), which is the largest training provider for nurse assistants in Northwest Ohio.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of the "Nurse Assistant of the Year" and "Commitment to Service" awards. Deliah Villarreal of Waterville, a nurse assistant at Heartland of Browning in Waterville, received the "Nurse Assistant of the Year Award."
The finalists for the Nurse Assistant of the Year Award were: Shirley Brown of Harborside of Bryan; Diana Decker of Winebrenner Village of Findlay; Denise Fulton of Swanton Health Care; Monica Majors of Swan Creek; Sharon Vanscoder of Community Nursing Home in Bowling Green.
Maria Madrigal, of Fostoria, a nurse assistant at Winebrenner Village in Findlay received the "Commitment to Service Award." To receive this award, a nurse assistant must have at least 10 years of experience.
Judy Alter, R.N., health coordinator for CDT, who organized the event, said she believes these nurse assistants are "a daily inspiration" for their coworkers.
"The excellent care and devotion these women give to their patients every day provides a role model for all of us in the health care field," Alter said.
The women were nominated for the special awards by the nursing advisors and administrators of their facilities and were selected by a committee of volunteers.
Nurse assistants care for a variety of patients, including the mentally retarded, the elderly, cancer patients and children, Alter explained. "They are the one-on-one caregivers and often develop close relationships with their patients," she said.
Nurse assistants are required by the Ohio Department of Health to be professionally trained and registered. The nurse assistant courses offered by CDT cover topics such as basic nursing skills, personal care skills, mental health and social service needs, safety and emergency procedures, infection control and respecting and promoting patients' rights. Many nurse assistants go on to receive additional training at CDT, especially in areas such restorative care and hospice care.