At Yale-New Haven Hospital, this year's Nurse Week held special meaning for the nearly 4,300 nurses who now work for Yale-New Haven Hospital since its integration with the Hospital of Saint Raphael last fall.
"Nurse Week is always special at Yale-New Haven because it gives us the opportunity to celebrate the work of our nurses," said Sue Fitzsimons, RN, PhD, senior vice president, Patient Services. "With the integration of the Saint Raphael Campus, our nurse workforce has grown both in numbers and in excellence."
Events on both campuses celebrated — and in some cases, nourished or soothed — nurses. Each campus held a recognition and awards luncheon; breakfasts featuring "eat smart" menus were well attended; nursing directors rounded off-shift, bringing healthy snacks to units;
Bright spring sun shone on the nurses who walked to a small park at the corner of North Frontage Road and Orchard Street for the first Nurse Week Unity Walk to celebrate the integration of two exceptional nurse workforces.
Nurses celebrate Nurse Week with a toast at the luncheon on the Saint Raphael Campus. Shown (l-r) are: Sara Newman, RN, patient service manager (PSM), SRC Emergency Department; Ashley Harkins, RN, ED; and Patricia Schiavi, RN, PSM; Lori Gambardella, RN; Jeanne Prota, RN; Regina Longyear, RN; and Elena McLean, RN, all from Same-Day Admissions.
Showing their own unity at the Nurse Week Unity Walk were the three architects of Nurse Week activities who worked hard to make sure nurses felt that their efforts on behalf of patients were recognized. Shown (l-r) are: Deirdre Lonergan, RN, Orthopedics Unit; Leigh Bak, RN; and Cindy Taylor, RN, Adult PACU.
and chaplains blessed the hands of staff throughout the week. Trained professionals provided Care for the Caregivers chair massages and Reiki treatments.
"Nurse Week helps all of us feel appreciated," said Danielle Kaika, RN, Renal/ General Medicine Unit. "We work so hard every day to take excellent care of our patients and we appreciated that during Nurse Week, we were taken care of, too."
For many nurses, the highlight of the week was the first-ever Unity Walk. At noon on Friday, May 10, nurses from each campus walked to a small park at the corner of North Frontage Road and Orchard Street. New Haven City police escorted the two groups of nurses and employees to the field where members of the YNHH livingwell Fitness Center led them in gentle stretching exercises.
"This walk was just fabulous," said Leigh Bak, RN, clinical nurse specialist, Diabetic Services. "I've worked on the Saint Raphael Campus for more than 25 years and this walk made me realize just how many connections we had all made with our colleagues at Yale-New Haven in these few short months. The walk made me feel that we had truly come together as one hospital."