By Tina Comeau
People gathered in the lobby of the Yarmouth Regional Hospital on June 16 to recognize and celebrate two nurses who have received awards of excellence for their accomplishments and their commitment to their patients and to the nursing profession.
However the two women at the centre of the attention were modest when asked what this all meant to them.
“To me it’s rewarding enough to be in the profession of nursing, this is just the icing on the cake,” said RN Maria Marshall.
“I’m the same like Maria,” said LPN Coralie Comeau. “My reward is looking after the patients everyday and to make a little bit of difference in their lives. And I like to look after my coworkers.”
But those who gathered were more than eager to sing the praises of these two women. (You can click here to view video from the event.)
Comeau received the 2014 Award of Excellence from the Nova Scotia College of Licensed Practical Nurses, which recognizes an LPN who provides a high degree of caring and compassion in direct patient care.
Marshall was chosen as the recipient of the Registered Nurses Professional Development Centre’s Excellence in Preceptorship Award, which recognizes a nurse who creates a positive and encouraging environment and acts as role models to new nurses.
Their peers nominated both nurses for the awards and these nominations were read during a South West Health celebratory event.
Joy Hatfield, a clinical instructor with the Yarmouth site of the Dalhousie School of Nursing, had nominated Comeau.
Hatfield said not only does she admire Comeau as an LPN and a wonderful friend, but Comeau has taught her the importance of teamwork and dependability.
“Her care is based on excellence. The pride in what she does shines through in her care, compassion and commitment to competence. She has earned the respect of her colleagues as a result of her high standards,” Hatfield said.
“Her high regard for being a member of the health care team became apparent through my interactions with her,” Hatfield said, adding Comeau always displays dignity and respect for patients and always focuses on their wellbeing, regardless of her workload.
Pam Robichaud, the nurse manager of the oncology and wellness centre, nominated Marshall for her award. She said Marshall has been to go-to person for all nurse managers and leads with confidence and in-depth knowledge.
“She epitomizes all nursing standards and truly leads from the heart and through example,” said Robichaud. “We look to her for guidance and advice every day and, without fail, she is always prepared to help.
“I feel I can learn from her every time she speaks. She’s enthusiastic about her profession and continuing education, she continually puts patients and their families in the centre of the care circle,” Robichaud added. “I am certain she comes to work everyday because she wants to, not because she has to. “
Indeed, said Cathy Blades, vice-president of clinical care. About nursing and these two women in particular she said, “It’s not what we do, but more important the how we do it.”