A Champion of the Nursing Profession: Gaby Harrison
Nursing Confers Lifetime Achievement Award
Each year, the Mary S. Fay Essence of Nursing Award is presented to a staff member who embodies the very best qualities of nursing practice and compassion. Shining through a group of many nominees for 2004 is award winner Gaby Harrison, BSN, RN, long-time Neonatal Intensive Care Unit member.
In addition to being treasured by the families who benefit from her care and wisdom when their children are patients in the NICU, Gaby is also well respected by her peers, supervisors and junior staff.
“Gaby is a leader and innovator in providing services with respect for human dignity in the area of end of life care,” wrote her co-nominators for the award. According to her peers and supervisors, Harrison masters the care giving skills needed to help families through end of life issues, as well as coaching them through what can be a very emotional road to recovery for their babies.
“Through the years, I’ve become increasingly interested in the teaching aspects of my practice,” said Harrison, who has been responsible for making available a number of programs on ethics and end of life care for her colleagues in the NICU. “Successful nursing, especially when helping to meet the needs of families in the NICU, is very much a team effort,” adds Harrison, who has also led a number of research projects in addition to her care delivery.
One would think that a nurse of Harrison’s caliber always knew her destiny. However, she claims she was “an accidental nurse,” drawn to the nursing profession thanks to the learning opportunities at the University of Rochester. And her ultimate career choice has been a very fulfilling one. “NICU nursing has always given me the chance to do something more,” said Harrison, smiling.
The presentation of the 2004 Mary S. Fay Essence of Nursing Award to Harrison was the highlight of this year’s Recognition Celebration Dinner at the Westin in Waltham. Chief Nursing Officer Nancy Kruger, DNSc, RN, led the salute to all BWH nurses. Kruger’s remarks and the awards presented captured the theme of the evening—“Extraordinary Care, Compassionate Nursing, Just What We Do.”
After receiving her Essence of Nursing Award, Harrison delivered a heartfelt presentation on the very essence of Nursing in the BWH NICU. As Harrison tracked her career at BWH and her work with parents, preemies and peers, audience members soon realized why she was chosen as the 2004 awardee. Harrison thanked many individuals in her remarks, but saved special thanks for her colleagues in the BWH NICU, “who make being a NICU nurse so much more than just a job.”
Finalists for the 2004 Essence of Nursing Award included Harrison; Ginny Silva, RNC, MSN; Helen Cluett, RN, MSN; Carol Richard, RN, BSN; and Suzanne Lieberman, RN.