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Sarasota Memorial Celebrates 2011 National Nurses Week – May 6-12.

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SMH NursesSARASOTA, Fla. (May 9, 2011) -- Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is celebrating Nurses Week May 6-12, with a weeklong slate of activities that recognize the care and commitment of its 1,300 nurses. The national recognition week takes place each year, culminating May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

“We hear a lot about our best doctors, but behind every great doctor, there is a team of great nurses,” said Jan Mauck, chief nursing officer at Sarasota Memorial. “For them, nursing is not just a profession – it’s their passion. They are healers, researchers, educators and mentors, and Nurses Week is a wonderful opportunity to recognize and thank them for the dedication they demonstrate every day.”

One of the highlights of Sarasota Memorial’s annual Nurses Week celebration will be the “Magnet” Nurses of Excellence Awards on Wednesday, recognizing the top 10 nurses in the health system who epitomize the values that have made Sarasota Memorial a “Magnet Hospital.” Sarasota Memorial is one of just 5 percent of hospitals in the nation – and the only one in this region to earn nursing’s highest honor – Magnet Nursing Services Recognition. Awarded sparingly by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center, the designation identifies hospitals that provide the resources, education and supportive environment necessary to attract and retain the best and brightest nurses.

In honor of nursing’s special week, Sarasota Memorial also is continuing its long-standing “Blessing of the Hands” tradition. A special ceremony will be held 1:30 pm and 8:30 pm Tuesday in the hospital chapel. Chaplains will anoint nurses' hands with oil and bless them for continuing to use their hands as instruments of service.

Other activities also taking place during the week include:

• “Wear Your Whites Day!” Wednesday, May 11; nurses will don the traditional white uniforms

• “Happy Birthday Florence Nightingale Celebration” – birthday cake will be served 11 am-2 pm Thursday in the cafeteria and 10 pm (for late shift nurses) in the Nursing Administration Conference Room.

• Throughout the hospital, staff lounges have been transformed to pamper nurses throughout the week. For example, the lounge in the mother-baby nursing unit has been "transformed" into a Spa oasis with furnishings, decor, relaxing sights, sounds & smells, including foot & back massages given during breaks.

• Nurses also are participating in research and continuing education opportunities throughout the week.

Photographs are available upon request.

Media Contact: Kim Savage, (941) 917-6271

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