Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Columbia VA nurses bring home the gold

Once again nurses from Columbia VA Health Care System bring home the gold—the Palmetto Gold.

Each year hundreds of registered nurses from across the state of South Carolina are nominated for the Palmetto Gold Nurse Recognition and Scholarship Program by their respective organizations for their contributions and support in nursing education by:

•promoting and advancing the profession of nursing;

•displaying a care and commitment to patients, families, and colleagues; and

•demonstrating leadership by assisting others to grow and develop in their profession.

However, of those nominations received by the South Carolina Nurses Foundation, Inc., only 100 are selected by a panel of six nurses through a blind review of all nominee packages.

The Columbia VA HCS is proud to announce five of its nurses were selected this year:

•Mark Ariail, nurse manager of operations

•Usha Cherian, former Intensive Care Unit/Step-Down Unit nurse manager

•LeCresha Mitchum, diabetes coordinator

•Charlene Speaks, cardiology nurse case manager

•Amy Stanley, Utilization Management/Quality Management nurse manager

Ariail, who holds a master’s degree in nursing, has served as a nurse for 23 years, five with the Columbia VA HCS.

Cherian holds a doctorate in nursing practice. Cherian was most recently the MICU/SICU nurse manager for the Columbia VA’s Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center. However, she has since been promoted and accepted a position as the chief nurse for critical care and emergency service at the Durham VA Health Care System in North Carolina.

Mitchum holds a master’s degree in nursing for educators and is a certified diabetes care and education specialist. She has been a nurse for 15 years with six of those working for the Columbia VA HCS.

Speaks is an advance practice nurse practitioner who holds a doctorate in nursing practice. Though she has only been with the Columbia VA HCS for six years, she has been a nurse for 25 years.

Stanley has a master’s degree in nursing. She has worked at the Columbia VA HCS for 22 years, eight as a nurse. She was a respiratory therapist before attending nursing school.

“The Palmetto Gold award is truly a highlight of any South Carolina nurse’s career,” said Ruth Mustard, Columbia VA HCS’ associate director for patient care/nursing services. “We are blessed to have winners every year, and this is a testament to the caliber of nurses we have here caring for Veterans.”

“I am continually impressed by the quality of staff we have within the Columbia VA Health Care System,” said Medical Center Director and Chief Executive Officer David Omura. “Being a nurse is not always glamorous, and their contributions to medicine often go unrecognized.

“My hat goes off to each one of these nurses for a job well done” Omura added. “I could not be prouder.”

The Columbia VA Health Care System comprises the Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center and seven outpatient clinics located throughout South Carolina in Anderson, Florence, Greenville, Orangeburg, Rock Hill, Spartanburg, and Sumter.

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