GMC celebrates nurses week

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Nowadays, it seems like every profession, illness and food item has a special "week" or "day" -- this summer alone, some of us will celebrate National Hamburger Week, National Cell Phone Courtesy Month and Take Your Pet to Work Day.

If there's one group that truly deserves a special week, though, it's nurses.

This week is National Nurses Week, and Gwinnett Medical Center's chief nursing officer said it's one her hospital embraces.

"(Nurses) really are overseeing and watching and advocating for the very, very best care of their patients," Carol Danielson said. "They live that and breathe that all the time."

Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Charlotte Nash recently presented the hospital with a pair of proclamations, one in recognition of Nurses Week and the other in honor of National Hospital Week.

Last month, critical care nurses at both Gwinnett Medical Center campuses were given silver-level Beacon Awards for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). Of the nearly 6,000 critical care units nationwide, only 121 have been recognized as Beacon Award winners.

HealthGrades recently named Gwinnett Medical Center one of "America's Top 100 Hospitals." Sure that has something to do with physicians, Danielson said, but "a lot of it is the nursing care that patients are receiving."

"I think we impact quality every day just by the hands-on care that we provide," said Cheryl MacMillan, the clinical manager of GMC-Duluth's emergency department. "We're always focused on the patient experience. We're focused on quality outcomes."

Gwinnett Medical will honor 62 nurses for "clinical excellence" in a banquet Wednesday. The winners were nominated by GMC staff -- often times their peers -- and voted on without hospital leaders seeing their names.

GMC employs about 1,300 nurses.