Oh What a Night! SLV Health Conejos County Hospital Administrator, Kelly Gallegos, was selected as a recipient of the 2017 Statewide Nightingale Luminary Award winner at the reception on May 13, 2017. Upon hearing her name announced for the state’s highest nursing honor, Kelly remarked, “I was completely astonished and did not expect it at all. I am humbled and grateful. The event itself was a fun atmosphere where professional networking transpired. I was motivated at the innovative discussions and passion that emanates from the nurses supported by the Colorado Nurses Foundation at this marvelous event.”
This was the 32nd installment of the annual awards, a fundraiser for the Colorado Nurses Foundation, which uses the money to fund nursing scholarships around the state.
A total of 266 nurses were nominated for the 2016-2017 awards. Local Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) and independent Nightingale Committees in 10 regions of the state designated 57 as Luminaries, qualifying them for a trip to Denver for the state event. The other SLV regional luminaries were Nina (Harmsen) Crawford, Assistant Director of Nursing-Medical Surgical at San Luis Valley Health in Alamosa; Sandi Beheiry, Coordinator of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program at Valley-Wide Health Systems in Alamosa; and Michele Mascarenas, Staff R.N. at Valley-Wide Health Systems and PRN for SLV Health.
Kelly joins an esteemed class of statewide Nightingale luminaries from the San Luis Valley, including Maureen (Bosa) Orr in 1992 with Hospice del Valle, Rosemarie Gibbons in 2005 with SLV RMC, and Charlotte Ledonne in 2007 with SLV AHEC.
In Denver, 42 of the Luminaries attended a Luminary Networking Tea, followed by a dress rehearsal, a reception and their time on the stage receiving tributes from an adoring crowd.
During the second half of the evening, 12 of the RNs were named as Colorado Nightingale Award recipients, an honor that 187 nurses have now received. By Nightingale rule, they cannot receive it a second time. The goal of the foundation is to promote the education of nurses, advocate for the nursing profession and provide recognition for nurses and the profession. They lived up to their last goal at this event in Denver at the Grand Hyatt in Denver. The nurses were recognized in two categories: Nurses in Clinical Practice and Administrators, Educators, Researchers & Non-Traditional Practice Roles. Each category was recognized in one of three areas: Advocacy, Leadership, and Innovation. By structuring the program in this manner, many more nurses are being recognized for excellence in Colorado.
The Nightingale Luminary theme of “Excellence in Nursing Professional Engagement & Citizenship” reflects the CNF Strategic Initiative to reframe the profession of nursing and the professional engagement of nurses. All of the attendees would agree with Kelly, “It was a night to remember and celebrate!”