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Outstanding service earns nursing faculty, students statewide recognition

Published on Monday, May 4, 2015

Published on May 04, 2015
In a profession widely known for its selfless dedication to others, faculty, staff and students in the School of Nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center are being recognized statewide for their commitment to service.

They were among a group of 13 recipients of the 2015 Governor's Initiative for Volunteer Excellence (GIVE) Award, presented April 13 by Volunteer Mississippi in coordination with the Office of the Governor and First Lady Deborah Bryant, honorary chair of the Volunteer Mississippi Board of Commissioners.

The Outstanding Volunteer Outreach by a Healthcare Education Program Award was given to School of Nursing faculty, staff and students during a luncheon at the Mississippi Museum of Art on the first day of National Volunteer Week.

Tammy Dempsey, director of student affairs and service learning in the School of Nursing, said the award recognizes the school's commitment to developing nurse leaders and improving the health of all Mississippians.

"Service is a part of the mission of the School of Nursing and is woven throughout the culture of the school," Dempsey said. "Our engagement in the community by faculty, staff and students responding to community needs is a positive reflection of the values of our institution and our colleagues in education and health care at UMMC."

Since last year, School of Nursing faculty, staff and students logged more than 13,000 hours of volunteer service valued at $300,000 and collectively raised more than $27,600 for various health-care organizations. David Mallery, executive director of Volunteer Mississippi, called it an "extraordinary" example of a commitment to organizational and institutional service.

"Service is part of who we are as Mississippians," Mallery said, "The honorees . . . recognized at the GIVE Awards are continuing a long and storied legacy of volunteerism in the state."

According to information provided during the award nomination process, volunteers from the School of Nursing have added to that legacy in a myriad of ways. Consider:

• School of Nursing students have set fund-raising and attendance records at a number of health promotional walks, including the March of Dimes, the Alzheimer's Association, the Heart Association, the Diabetes Foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, among other organizations.

• Nursing students and faculty have partnered with business and industry groups, faith-based organizations and community groups to perform community-wide screenings and participate in community health fairs throughout the year.

• Many of the students engaged in health promotion by providing educational programs that focused on heart health, alcohol awareness, hand-washing, healthy living and other topics.

• Nursing students and faculty have worked with colleagues from other schools at UMMC to serve the community. School of Nursing and School of Pharmacy faculty and students educate the public on the importance of proper administration of medications; School of Nursing and School of Medicine faculty and students work together on the Mercy Delta Express, a nurse-managed mobile and school clinic, in the Mississippi Delta.

• Nursing students have participated annually in emergency drills and have contributed to clean-up and support efforts in the aftermath of tornados that struck Louisville last year.

• Faculty, staff and students in the School of Nursing have participated in Habitat for Humanity builds in Jackson, Blue Springs and Starkville.

• Nursing students have worked with the McLean Fletcher Center Hospice ministries that provide grief counseling for children who have lost loved ones; have led craft projects with geriatric patients at Pearl's Wisteria Gardens; have helped develop a cheer team for special-needs children in McComb; have volunteered with pediatric cancer camps (Camp Bluebird and Camp Rainbow) and with a day camp for children with diabetes (Camp Kandu); have provided meals at Ronald McDonald House; and have helped with tornado cleanup in Tupelo.
The award nomination reflected the intensity of the school's commitment to service.

"It has been our privilege to serve our community and state through education and health promotion, our practice throughout the state, and our service within our communities," the letter stated. "We value service, not only because of the altruistic value, but for the potential learning it provides about personal and professional responsibility, the lessons is gives about our community needs and Mississippians' resilience in spite of disparity, and the empowerment it gives to be engaged in contributing to building and improving our communities through service and action as leaders in the community and the nursing profession."