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Nov 13, 2015

Brooklyn, NY

On Thursday, November 5, New York Methodist Hospital (NYM) held its 23rd Registered Nurses Dinner, an annual event devoted to recognizing the hundreds of men and women who serve NYM as registered nurses. Each year, the Registered Nurses Dinner gives New York Methodist's nursing administration the opportunity to recognize individual registered nurses and their units through the presentation of "Flo Awards," which are named after Florence Nightingale, the progenitor of modern nursing.

"This is one of my favorite nights of the year," said Rebecca Flood, R.N., senior vice president for nursing. "You may be a nurse manger, a case manager, a staff nurseā€”if you have that 'R.N.' after your name, it means that you are part of the fabric of any hospital."

Ms. Thomas, Deborah Duggan, RN and Rebecca Flood, RN

Michele Thomas, R.N., senior staff nurse in New York Methodist Hospital's Intensive Care Unit, accepts the Florence Nightingale Award at NYM's 23rd Registered Nurses Dinner. From left, Ms. Thomas, Deborah Duggan, R.N., associate director of nursing, and Rebecca Flood, R.N., senior vice president for nursing.

For 2015, the chief honor of the evening, the Florence Nightingale Award, went to Michele Thomas, R.N., senior staff nurse in New York Methodist's Intensive Care Unit. Ms. Thomas, who currently resides in Brooklyn's Midwood neighborhood, first came to NYM in 1981 and worked as a licensed practical nurse while also attending nursing school at Long Island University. Shortly after earning her R.N. in 1984, she transferred to one of the Hospital's medical surgical units. It wasn't long before Ms. Thomas's extraordinary aptitude for patient care drew the attention of NYM's nursing leadership, and she was recruited to the Hospital's respiratory care unit. Her expertise in critical care flourished. In the years that followed, Ms. Thomas became a senior staff nurse and an essential member of New York Methodist's critical care team, as well as an exemplary preceptor and role model for new critical care nurses.

Several years ago, Ms. Thomas began to struggle with health issues of her own, for which she underwent surgery in 2013. One year later, she herself was a patient in NYM's critical care unit, where coworkers attended to her and worried about her. Eventually, she recovered, and it wasn't long afterwards that she decided to return to work.

If the praise of NYM's nursing administration was any indication, Ms. Thomas's perseverance made it easy to select her as the Florence Nightingale Award winner.

"You are all my family," said Ms. Thomas, tearfully accepting the award. "All of my patients are my family members, too. I treat the younger ones like they are my own children, and the older ones like they are my own parents. I'm so honored and so grateful to be standing here tonight."

Ms. Flood, Maria Arizmendi, RN and Joanna Zanko, RN

From left, Ms. Flood, Maria Arizmendi, R.N., senior staff nurse in NYM's ICU, Paulee Collins, R.N., staff nurse in the ICU, Ms. Thomas, Joann Amitrano, R.N., vice president for nursing, and Joanna Zanko, R.N., director of nursing administration.

Over the course of the evening, awards were also presented to nurse managers and patient care units that achieved outstanding Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores in 2015, including Jenny Brown, R.N., and Patricia Deionno, R.N., and the staff of NYM's Progressive Care Unit; Nancy Rizzuto, R.N., and the staff of the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit; and Denise Spence, R.N., and the staff of NYM's 7 North Medical Surgical Unit.

Additional awards went to Diane Molloy, R.N., and Joanna Zanko, R.N., and the staff of the Intensive Care Unit; Fidelia Jordan, R.N., and the staff of the Medical Surgical/Hematology-Oncology Unit; Kay-Ann Wilson, R.N., and the staff of the Pulmonary Step-down Unit; Joann Amitrano, R.N., Wayne Christie, R.N., and the staff of the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit; Alison Molini, R.N., and the staff of NYM's 7 South Medical Surgical Unit; and Deborah Duggan, R.N., and the staff of NYM's Buckley 4 Medical Surgical Unit.

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