Nurse of the year finalists in attendance at the ceremony (Nurse of the Month Daisy Award winners):
Bernadine Upshaw, Case Management
Sharon Yarbrough, Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
Ebony Harris, Surgical Services (PACU)
Jan Jajko, RN, Surgical East
Lisa Page, Emergency Department
Ruth Roebuck, RN, Chemotherapy Unit
Amy Weldon, RN, Labor & Delivery
Terri Campbell, RN, Mother/Baby Unit
Rockdale Medical Center named oncology Ruth Roebuck as its Nurse of the Year on Tuesday. She was selected out of 12 nurses that were awarded the Daisy Award as nurse of the month.
“Oh my, what an honor,” she said as she came to the podium. “How they picked my name out of this crowd, I will never know.”
Roebuck has been a nurse since 2000, worked with RMC since 1997, and lived in the county for the past 37 years. She had done a variety of other jobs in the past, including owning a restaurant and working as quality control in a manufacturing plant, but she discovered her calling when she became a nurse.
"This is what I was supposed to do all my life. I just didn’t know that," she said.
Being recognized by her peers, she said humbly afterwards, was a reflection of the lessons her patients have taught her. “I think it’s a tribute to my patients, first and foremost, who taught me so many life lessons that you can’t read in a book. They’re awesome people going through some serious battles,” she said.
Chief Nursing Officer Michelle Epps read some of the comments Roebuck’s peers wrote about her:
“She is the definition of a nurse. She takes great pride in her work and delivers it with uncompromising devotion.”
“She’s not only an awesome nurse, she’s a great leader, educator, coworker. Very caring and compassionate. A friend to everyone.”
“I’ve witnessed her care for patients and I’d love to have her care for me if I was a patient. I know she would truly treat me like a member of her family.”
Roebuck’s son, Michael, a 911 operator for Rockdale County, said the joy his mother found in her career inspired him to enter the emergency services field.
Chief Nursing Officer Michelle Epps extolled the importance of nurses. She said, “I’m inspired every day because I work with nurses.”
“We save people’s lives. We heal the sick. We provide comfort to those who are ailing. And we work together in one of the most collaborative teams I’ve ever experienced.”
Deborah Armstrong, RMC’s CEO, seconded that sentiment. “There’s no one more important in our hospital than nurses.”
Roebuck relayed the story of the day she found her calling as an oncology nurse.
As a low-on-the-totem-pole, second year nursing student, Roebuck’s main responsibility that day was to make beds. She was in the room when the doctor explained in medical terminology to a patient that they had found cancer in the man’s lungs. Roebuck realized the patient, a man with a fourth grade education, completely misunderstood what the doctor had told him. She went out to retrieve the doctor and ask him to explain again.
The doctor came back but ordered her out of the room. Roebuck’s professor found her listing at the doorway, straining to hear the conversation. Roebuck explained what happened, and her teacher told her she had discovered patient advocacy and that she should go into oncology nursing.
As Nurse of the Year, Roebuck wins a coveted parking spot for a year along with other prizes, such as a shopping spree given by the nursing staff leadership.
(May 10, 11:31 a.m.) Oncology Nurse Ruth Roebuck was honored as the 2011 Nurse of the Year for Rockdale Medical Center on Tuesday.
Check back to www.rockdalenews.com for the full story.