Rockdale Medical Center celebrated its nurses and employees this week by naming emergency room nurse Mary "Terry" Hunt as the 2012 Nurse of the Year and Carolyn Hendricks, of the Dining and Nutrition division, as the 2012 Employee of the Year. Last year's Nurse of the Year, Ruth Roebuck, was named the 2012 Mercy Award winner.
Terry Hunt comes from a family of medical professionals with deep roots in Rockdale. Her mother, Patsy Hunt, was also a nurse at St. Joseph's in Savannah. Her father, Dr. Al Hunt, was one of the founding doctors at Rockdale Medical.
Hunt previously worked at RMC for about 10 years, leaving in 1987, and has been back at RMC for about a year. She has worked at hospitals such as Georgia Baptist Medical, Eastside Medical, and DeKalb Medical.
"I knew I would come back," said Hunt, "because it feels like home."
RMC CEO Deborah Armstrong emphasized the importance of nurses to a hospital and read off some of the comments about Hunt from her peers, including: "The kind of nurse that makes you proud to be a nurse." "Her skill is without fault." "She encourages others with her smile."
Hunt said she was honored to be recognized with this award.
Carolyn Hendricks, who has worked with RMC for seven years, said she was shocked to hear her name.
"I thank each and every one of you," Hendrick said, as she accepted her award to a standing ovation.
Armstrong read parts from the letter nominating Hendrick: "Impressed with her dedication to serve... she gives people what they want without asking... multi-tasks all day long."
Afterwards, Hendricks said, "It's just such an honor to be recognized. I feel very blessed to be at this hospital."
As hospital employees,, the Atlanta native said she and her co-workers are surrounded by illness and try to give back to the patients and families. "It's always good to uplift someone's spirit," she said. "We have so much."
Ruth Roebuck was last year's Nurse of the Year and her service was recognized again this year as the 2012 Mercy Award winner. The Mercy Award from LifePoint Hospitals recognizes community service and was named after the company's founder Scott Mercy. Roebuck will be entered into a contest against Mercy Award winners from all LifePoint Hospitals.
Three nurses were recently recognized in the Atlanta Journal Constitution for their excellence and were also recognized at RMC's ceremony on Wednesday: Cesar Bachiller of the Surgical East wing, Nancy Long, BSN and RN of the Mother-Baby division, and Jennifer Mielnik of the Birth Place/Labor and Delivery division.
The Employee of the Year was chosen out of the employees of the month over the last year, which included: Nancy Long, Lasonya Hughey, Lynnlee Floyd, Lori Buckner, Mitch Cook, Amy DeBarr, Latrell Gowdy, Heather Matheson, Arlene Cargile, Carolyn Hendricks, Rebecca Thrower, Bennie Paige.
Nurses of the Quarter for 2011 were: Jennifer Smith, Joy Jackson, Bonnie Adams, Covetta Washington.
The awards were given during National Nurses Week and National Hospital Week.