News stories

Nurse Recognition Day

A culture of compassion and care

Donna Coffey, the Hospital Nurse of the Year, celebrates with colleagues. Jonathan Fickies

Donna Coffey (seated, second from right), the Hospital Nurse of the Year, celebrates with colleagues from NYU Lutheran Medical Center during the Nurse Recognition Day Celebration at UFT headquarters.

Olfat Ibrahim, Michael Mulgrew, Anne Goldman and retiree Jihad Hamad. Jonathan Fickies

Teaming up to honor Olfat Ibrahim (right), a nurse in the surgical unit at NYU Lutheran Medical Center who received the Union Service Award, are (from left) UFT President Michael Mulgrew, Vice President for Non-DOE Members Anne Goldman and retiree Jihad Hamad.

Bevin Sullivan of Staten Island University Hospital South accepts her Trailblaze Jonathan Fickies Bevin Sullivan of Staten Island University Hospital South accepts her Trailblazer Award.

Jihad Hamad couldn’t attend the Federation of Nurses/UFT Nurse Recognition Day last year when she was named NYU Lutheran Medical Center Retiree Nurse of the Year. This year, she took the stage twice.

The first time was planned: She accepted this year’s Retiree Nurse of the Year award on behalf of Merlinda Rebolos, who was visiting family in the Philippines. The second time was unexpected: Olfat Ibrahim, the Union Service Award winner, called Hamad to the stage to present her with a bouquet.

“I was inspired and supported by Jihad Hamad,” said Ibrahim, who works in the surgical unit at NYU Lutheran. “She’s been there all these years, pushing me and pushing me until I became a nurse practitioner.”

Ibrahim was recognized for her role during recent NYU Lutheran contract negotiations, when she collected data about nursing routines to make the case for better staffing levels. She was one of five nurses honored at the fourth annual Nurse Recognition Day on May 2 at UFT headquarters in Manhattan.

“Each of you has made a difference in someone’s life with respect and integrity,” said Anne Goldman, the UFT vice president for non-DOE members. “We want to celebrate care in the right way, for each person, regardless of celebrity or wealth.”

UFT President Michael Mulgrew paid tribute to the members’ compassion and commitment to proper care. “You have that intrinsic value of taking care of people at their most vulnerable,” he said. “In your contract negotiations, I hear you discuss not just wages but how to take better care of the patients.”

Angela Maloney of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York was named Homecare Nurse of the Year. “It’s about the patients,” said Maloney, who works in Brooklyn and also served on the union’s negotiating team. “They’re so happy when you call. They might need a walker, a cane or a commode, and it takes a couple of days, but they are so appreciative.”

Goldman praised Maloney for teaching other nurses. “Angela has raised the bar for the culture of care,” she said.

Donna Coffey was named the NYU Lutheran Nurse of the Year. “This is overwhelming and humbling,” Coffey said. “Like you, I go into work every day and try to do the best for my patients.”

Bevin Sullivan, a nurse at Staten Island University Hospital South, received the Trailblazer Award. Goldman lauded her for “hitting the ground running” early in her career, not only as a member of the hospital staff but by participating on the negotiating committee.

For the 200-plus nurses from around the city who gathered to celebrate their colleagues’ achievements, it was also recognition for the profession they love.

“When I come into a room with fellow nurses, I feel the camaraderie,” said Annette Bousquet-Maldonado, a 36-year veteran who works with Long Island’s Nurse Family Partnership, a home visiting program for first-time mothers. “No one can understand the life of a nurse, except a nurse.”

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