San Francisco VA Health Care System
Celebrating Nurses Week at SFVAHCS
This week, the San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVAHCS) celebrates Nurses Week, a week dedicated to honoring the vital role nurses play in healing people across our nation and the world. Nurses Week is celebrated this week because it coincides with the birthday of Florence Nightingale, a British nurse and public health pioneer who passed down a legacy of compassion and attention to care that defines the nursing profession today.
The nurses here at the SFVAHCS have embraced this legacy, dutifully providing our Veteran patients with a level of care that pays proper tribute to the service they provided our nation. This past year, especially, our nurses have faced unprecedented challenges: the threat of a global health crisis, raging California wildfires, and changes to care delivery that have forever redefined how citizens seek care. And instead of conceding at every challenge, our nurses displayed the fortitude, determination, and innovative thinking that embodies the spirit of Florence Nightingale.
There is no way to accurately capture all the wonderful and brave work that our nurses have done this past year, but we wanted to put a spotlight on some of these thoughtful efforts:
- COVID-19 Screenings and SWAB Clinic: In the midst of the global pandemic, nurses from across our medical center and community-based outpatient clinics were pulled from their many duties to help support system efforts to control and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infections, including staffing COVID-19 screening stations at every public entrance and rapidly standing up a COVID-19 testing clinic.
- COVID-19 Respiratory Care Unit/Floating and Cross-Training: In preparation for a potential surge from COVID-19 patients, nursing staff helped stand up a Respiratory Care Unit. Also, throughout this past year, numerous nursing staff have floated, cross-trained, and opened a unit on the GA level of Bldg. 203, in many ways demonstrating their incredible adaptability, flexibility, and creativity throughout the past 12 months.
- COVID-19 Vaccinations: When the COVID-19 vaccines were released to the public, our nursing staffs were at the front-lines of the distribution efforts—creating, planning, and implementing a successful Veteran and employee vaccination program with clinic locations at each SFVAHCS site and even mobile vaccination clinics in San Francisco and up the California Coast.
- DEMPS (Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System): Several of our dedicated nurses participated in the DEMPS program this year, deploying to various VA sites across the country to aid in their emergency efforts during the COVID-19 crisis. Thank you to the brave and selfless nurses below for your DEMPS service:
- Sherri Carter
- Sarah Chamieh
- Yau Chan
- Sharon Hipolita
- Trenia Howard
- Michelle Long
- Carla Mixon
- Troy Pearson
- Tamara Tarrant
- Ruby Tuesdae
- Virginia Yu
Mary Ann Nihart, Associate Director of Patient Care Services, sees the legacy of Florence Nightingale in every nurse across our health care system. “Florence once said, ‘How very little can be done under the spirit of fear,’” shared Nihart. “COVID was something completely unique, and that fear could have overcome us. I am proud to say that each of you stood, took care, adapted, and met that fear.”
Thank you to all our nurses for everything you have done to provide the highest level of care to our Veteran patients.