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Nurses light the way

Col. Gayla Wilson (right), chief nursing officer, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, presents Meghan LaMont, charge nurse, Orthopaedic Clinic, WBAMC, with the WBAMC Light the Way award, May 11. The Light the Way award recognizes nurses who exemplify outstanding patient care, and the spirit and passion of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

Story by Marcy Sanchez
William Beaumont Army Medical Center Public Affairs Office

Nurses at William Beaumont Army Medical Center were recognized with the hospital’s own Light the Way award, an award recognizing nurses who exemplify outstanding patient care, and the spirit and passion of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

A committee of nurses and staff selected Meghan LaMont, the charge nurse for the Orthopaedic Clinic at WBAMC, and Lee Thomas, a Licensed Practical Nurse at the Same-day Surgery Clinic, for the award, based off nominations from other staff members.

“It’s a self-rewarding job,” said LaMont, describing the value of nursing. “It’s not the paycheck that makes you want to be a nurse, it’s just a calling.”

LaMont, a native of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, previously served as a critical care nurse for eight years and enjoyed the constant change in environment at the Intensive Care Unit but wanted a change of pace after her second child was born. When LaMont was pregnant with her second child she took a year off nursing and according to her husband, a signals officer stationed at Fort Bliss, he could tell she wasn’t fulfilled.

“It was very challenging and rewarding at the same time, as a new grad it was a great experience,” said LaMont. “Honestly, I just knew I wanted to be a nurse since high school.”

LaMont’s caring and understanding was tested during a difficult situation with a patient who had limited resources and under stress. Because of LaMont’s understanding of the patient, she was able to assist the patient and their family get the resources and care they needed.

An Army veteran and LPN, Thomas has been at WBAMC for 27 years, with the first two years as an enlisted LPN at WBAMC.

A native of Forest City, Arkansas, Thomas originally enlisted with goals of being trained as a cook or mechanic. Thomas’ recruiter thought differently and persuaded him to try the medical field, which led Thomas to a 14-year career in the Army.

“(Nursing) is what I enjoy,” said Thomas, who is preparing to retire soon. “I just want to make a difference. Coming from where I came from, from a country person, I never thought that I would do what I’ve done.”

Thomas was recognized for his continuing dedication to patient care, specifically reaching out to patients and following up with surgical candidates to ensure they were taken care of and following recommended recovery prescriptions. Thomas’ influential reach goes beyond hospital units and into his own family where his own son has joined the ranks of healthcare professionals at WBAMC.

For both recipients of the award, nursing is more than just an occupation, but a way of life.

“(Nursing) is seeing your patient progress (in health), go out of the hospital and knowing you have made their lives better,” said LaMont.

“My biggest goal is for somebody to leave happy. When they leave the hospital, they’ll know they’ve been taken care of,” said Thomas.

Recipients of WBAMC’s Light the Way award can be nominated by staff or patients and are selected by a committee of nurses and hospital staff depending on the impact of recipients’ actions.

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