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Central’s Kristy Simmons Named National Nurse of the Year

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Photo by Chuck Fazio

Central’s Kristy Simmons was honored as National Nurse of the Year by the American Nurses Credentialing Center at the ANCC National Magnet Conference in Baltimore October 5.  ANCC is the world’s largest and most prestigious nurse credentialing organization, certifying and setting standards for nurses and healthcare organizations to ensure excellence in professional development and patient care.   This is the first time ANCC has given the Nurse of the Year Award, recognizing Kristy in the category of Exemplary Professional Practice.  A surgical nurse at Woman’s Hospital for 27 years, Kristy’s award citation reads in part: “Simmons demonstrated excellence in professional practice as a passionate patient advocate. At Woman’s Hospital, she was instrumental in developing Perioperative Services’ medical photo policy, a perioperative pediatric checklist to ensure a smooth unit/surgical handoff, and the hospital’s annual Time Out Day to support the change process for perioperative nurses. She published ‘Heart of the OR- Interpreting Care for Patient and Family’ to familiarize the nursing community with proper care of non-English-speaking patients. Simmons is active in the local community, encouraging high school students to explore nursing careers and mentoring college students pursuing nursing degrees.”  Kristy was also recognized for her work on mission trips to Mexico, caring for evacuated infants during Hurricane Katrina, and partnering with nurses and educators in Japan at the World Society of Disaster Nursing. She was also instrumental in Woman’s Hospital earning the elite Magnet Hospital status, which honors the top hospitals nationwide.    Kristy has been active in the Central community for many years as a volunteer in the schools and a mentor to students and family members.  A graduate of Central High, Our Lady of the Lake School of Nursing and Loyola University, she was a vital member of the group whose years of work led to the creation of the Central school system.  A past Crystal Apple award winner from Volunteers In Public Schools, Kristy helped found the PTO at Central High, started the Future Nurse Club, conducted seminars on scholarships and college preparation, and did everything else from painting classrooms and planting landscaping to school improvement teams and career days – all while caring for her husband and four children.  An inspiration to a new generation of nurses, including her daughter and many others, Kristy is certainly deserving of this award.  Congratulations to Kristy and many thanks for your service and dedication.

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