New Mexico VA Health Care System
Five NMVAHCS Nurses Honored
By Patti Watson and Sandy Stewart
Tuesday, November 29, 2016Five New Mexico VA Health Care System nurses were recently honored at the 2016 New Mexico Nursing Excellence Awards. Ricki Armstrong, Clinical Nurse Leader, received the Touch a Life Award. Rebecca MacGregor, Resident Assessment/Performance Improvement Coordinator, received the Excellence in Long-Term Care/Rehabilitation Award. Angelique Pyszko, a staff nurse in the Urology Clinic, received the Excellence in Ambulatory Nursing Award. Janice Schwartz, a Cancer Care Coordinator, received the Excellence in Case/Quality Management/Managed Care/Informatics Award. Sharon Wehner, a Nurse Manager, received the Excellence as an Emerging Nurse Leader Award.
Armstrong, who works in the Medical Intensive Care Unit, was nominated by the wife of a Marine Veteran for the exceptional care and assistance she offered during his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. MacGregor, who has been a nurse for 35 years, was praised for making a remarkable improvement in pressure ulcers on her unit, decreasing the number of ulcers from 10 to just one in a year, and working to heal the one ulcer while the patient was still on her floor. Pyszko, a nurse for 21 years, partnered with the UNM Urogynecology Clinic and the VA's Spinal Cord Injury Unit to develop the first-ever, nurse-run Urodynamic Study Clinic, leading to over 500 secure messages to support Veterans in caring for themselves without having to physically visit the facility. Schwartz, a nurse for 20 years, demonstrated solid leadership qualities through the initiation of a Tele-genetic Program that educated Veterans on the importance of formal genetic counseling and the most appropriate treatment options. Wehner, a nurse for 19 years who also has 24 years of military service, was praised for "transforming" the large surgical Urology Clinic she was selected to lead more than two years ago into a "highly professional, Veteran-Centered, customer-focused and evidence-based department."
A total of 174 nominations were submitted this year’s Nursing Excellence Awards. For more information, visit www.nmnursingexcellence.org.