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NHB recognizes National Nurse Week and Navy Nurse Corps 110th Birthday

The National Nurses Week and Navy Nurse Corps birthday provided the opportunity for some of the approximately 150 nurses – over 100 Navy Nurse Corps officers – assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton to convene on May 11, 2018, to recognize and honor both events (Official Navy photo by Douglas H Stutz, NHB Public Affairs).

Story by Douglas Stutz

Naval Hospital Bremerton

Ask any nurse at Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) and they’ll tell you the Navy Nurse Corps birthday overlapping National Nurses Week is really no coincidence.

It was meant to be.

NHB’s birthday celebration of the Navy Nurse Corps on May 11, 2018, culminated a week of events recognizing the contributions of all nurses assigned to the command as part of Navy Medicine.

“Navy nurses deliver care as providers, instructors, recruiters, quality management heads, researchers and serve in administrative roles. They are proficient in 17 specialties. Nurses can do anything. This year’s theme – Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence – embodies the profession that has been voted by the American public as the most ethical and honest profession in the country 16 years in a row, according to the annual Gallup poll on honesty and ethical standards. I know that to be true for by our nurses here. You are the glue of our medical heath care team. You are very critical and very much appreciated,” said Capt. Kim Zuzelski, NHB executive officer.

The official Navy Nurse Corps birthday is May 13, at the end of National Nurses Week celebrated from May 6 to May 12.

May 12 is also the birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the founder of modern nursing. Two years before Nightingale passed away, then-President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Naval Appropriations Bill on May 13, 1908 that authorized the establishment of the Nurse Corps as a unique staff corps of the Navy.

That distinctive quality was also acknowledged during the birthday celebration.

After well-wishes from Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, and from Rear Adm. T.A. Davidson, Navy Nurse Corps director, were shared, the event was highlighted by Capt. Johannes Bailey, NHB Director for Nursing Services presenting the Junior Nurse Corps Excellence Award to Lt. j.g. Stephanie Kaiser ‘in recognition of her commitment to nursing excellence and to nursing as a unique discipline and art. Kaiser’s ‘demonstrated dedication, contribution to the nursing profession, and clinical expertise have made a positive difference in the quality of care provided to our patients and their families.’

“I’m honored to celebrate all the great work nurses here do. Our Nurse Corps Excellence Award was a very difficult decision due to so many very qualified nurses,” remarked Bailey.

There are approximately 150 nurses at NHB, with over 100 part of the Navy’s Active and Reserve Nurse Corps components of the 4,200 members currently serving. All NHB nurses continue to play pivotal roles in providing quality health care at home and abroad with Nurse Corps staff members are currently embarked on hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) participating in Pacific Partnership 2018, as well as handling deployment requirements such as being assigned to the Role 3 Multi-National Medical Unit at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan.

NHB Nurse Corps officers handle a host of specialties as part of their overall duties, including family nurse practitioner, executive medicine, nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse, perioperative nursing, maternal child, ambulatory, medical surgical, critical care, and pediatric nursing.
Projecting back 110 years ago when the Navy Nurse Corps came into being, Naval Hospital Bremerton was a 16 bed, wooden, two-story frame building used as ‘Sick Quarters’ on Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

America’s involvement in World War One was still a few years away. In those times and in those conditions, such as now, the Navy Nurse Corps compassion, character and competence were hallmarks in all they did, and all the care they provided.

“To our Navy Nurse Corps, we wish you a very happy 110th birthday! I thank you for your continued compassion, character and competence. You make a difference every day,” Capt. Jeffrey Bitterman, Naval Hospital Bremerton commanding officer stated earlier in the week.

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