Celebrate the image of nursing

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Award ceremony will recognize nurse leaders’ and staff members’ positive reflections

Since Shelley Cohen, RN, BS, CEN, president of Health Resources Unlimited, a healthcare education and consulting company in Hohenwald, TN, took her first steps in the nursing profession more than 30 years ago, more has changed than the stark white uniform.

“Gloves were unheard of, we smoked at the nursing station, and the more blood you had on yourself at the end of your shift meant you were a better ED nurse,” says Cohen. “We never once thought anything about what we said or did—and about how we affected our image.”

But nurses today must be aware that their actions and behavior signify their professionalism and education, and thereby positively or negatively shape their image and the nursing image as a whole.

Nurses must continuously strive to improve this image, says Cohen.

“As the healthcare delivery system changes, patient and family expectations are going to change,” Cohen says. “Nursing cannot afford to stay stagnant as a profession, and the nursing image needs to reflect the current trend in delivering patient care.”

Those who elevate the image of nursing within their facilities and inspire others to do the same should be celebrated, which is the idea behind HCPro’s 2009 Nursing Image Awards to take place in September.

“It’s about time nurses recognize each other for all that they do,” says Cohen, who is one of the judges for the awards that will be handed out at HCPro’s Nursing Leadership Summit in Boston. “This is an opportunity to stand proud for all that the profession brings to patient care.”

Awards are being presented to an individual or team of nurses and to a nursing leader. There are two categories:

  • The image of nursing in clinical practice. This category recognizes individual nurses or nursing teams who portray a positive image of nursing through their clinical excellence and who have made significant contributions to improve patient outcomes, patient safety and quality initiatives, staff satisfaction, practice changes, research or evidence-based practice projects, interdisciplinary collaboration, or organizational goals.
  • The image of nursing in leadership. This category honors a nursing leader who embodies a positive image of nursing through his or her leadership excellence. This individual will have served as an inspiring leader, mentor, and role model to nurses in an effort to portray an image of professionalism, whether by overcoming significant challenges, spearheading change, or inspiring teamwork that resulted in achievement of operational goals and objectives.

Award winners will be honored for elevating the image of nursing and recognized in HCPro’s national nursing publications, as well as at the Nursing Leadership Summit. The awards will be well deserved, Cohen says, and well received. “The nursing image may have been different [before], but one thing that hasn’t changed is the pride that comes with the profession,” she says.

Editor’s note: The deadline for HCPro’s 2009 Nursing Image Awards nominations is May 31. For more information about the awards and to submit nominations, visit For more information and to reserve your spot at the 2009 Nursing Leadership Summit being held September 21–22, visit