By MARIAN GALBRAITH
Jessica Stewart, RN, of Tullahoma, was recently named “Critical Care Nurse of the Year” for 2012 by the March of Dimes of Middle Tennessee.
Stewart works as charge nurse in the critical care unit at Middle Tennessee Medical Center (MTMC) in Murfreesboro.
The recent awards ceremony was held at the Marriott Cool Springs in Franklin with about 300 in attendance.
Stewart said she attended the ceremony with several other nominees from MTMC and was escorted by her husband, Jeff Stewart.
“I was shocked, but pleasantly surprised,” Stewart said. “I feel that God has blessed me with the opportunity to become a nurse and take care of people, so I was delighted to receive the award.”
Nurses from 30 Middle Tennessee counties were nominated by their patients, doctors, supervisors and colleagues and were then sent a list of questions to submit answers to.
A volunteer committee from the March of Dimes, composed of nurses from diverse settings and roles, reviewed the nominees’ responses and other criteria to choose winners in each of 16 categories who demonstrated excellence in various aspects of their profession.
In her submission, Stewart said nursing is not just her career but is her passion.
“The outcome that I’m most proud of is the positive impact I have in the lives of both patients and their family members,” she said.
“I’m able to use my compassion and specialized skills to touch their lives during a critical time.”
In addition to being a registered nurse, Stewart is certified as both a charge nurse and rapid response nurse, to save the lives of “code blue” patients whose conditions suddenly change for the worse.
In her role as charge nurse in the critical care unit, she said she also enjoys having the opportunity to orient new employees.
“This allows me to teach values and skills that will contribute to our critical care team,” she said.
She added that one of her greatest accomplishments was transferring her critical care patients safely to MTMC’s new location in 2010, when the $267 million, 286-bed replacement facility was completed.
“During the move,” she said, “I received training so that I could educate other nurses about how to use the new equipment correctly.
“I also helped organize the patient transfer plan and set up the critical care unit.
Stewart graduated from LaVergne High School and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from MTSU in 2005.
She has been employed at MTMC for 10 years.
She and her husband, who works at AEDC, have a 4-year-old daughter, Macey.