Nurses and patients laughed, applauded and cried at Cherry Lane Nursing Center's third annual Blessing of the Hands Tuesday, July 24.
"Every year, I cry, but I try to hold out," Sandy Sewell, nurse manager for the first floor, said during the ceremony.
For Director of Nursing Nancy Daly, the event is a way to show the staff at Cherry Lane they are also cared for.
"People don't say thank you all the time," Daly said. "It's to show that we're giving care to the caregivers when we wash their hands."
The awards ceremony recognizes nurses, nurses assistants, certified medicine aids and others for their dedication to caring for the patients at Cherry Lane, which accommodates 155 patients and specializes in long-term, hospice and rehabilitative care.
The "holistic and spiritual" ceremony, Daly said, included remarks from nurses and staff about their experiences working at Cherry Lane, including memories from the past year.
After the remarks, nurses line up to have their hands "blessed" with cool water infused with scented oil by Irma Chapin, a friend of Daly's, and then dried.
The awards, which included the Quiet Storm Award, Nurse of the Year and General Nursing Assistant of the Year, brought cheers and applause from the staff and patients, who Daly said all know each other well.
When deciding who gets an award, "a lot of it comes from compliments from the staff," said Daly. "We get together as a nurses team to decide who gets each award," she said.
The winner of the Nurse of the Year award, Vincent Ndussilo, is "the epitome of what a nurse should be," said Daly. "He has built a floor that's a small community," she said of the four-year Cherry Lane employee.
Winsome White, who won GNA of the Year, said she was "so excited" about her award.
"I try to do the best job possible," White said.
Even though only 16 awards are given, Daly said she is proud of all of her nurses.
"They exemplify what we want nursing to be at Cherry Lane," she said.