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Food, fun and friendly competitions await UMMC family during tribute week

Published on Monday, May 7, 2018

By: Ruth Cummins

Nurses at the University of Mississippi Medical Center are special and often are specialized on top of that.

Nurse Virgle Smoot checks Renner Vowell's vital signs as he is cradled by mom Amanda Vowell of Ackerman.
Virgle Smoot, nurse, checks Renner Vowell's vital signs as he is cradled by his mother, Amanda Vowell of Ackerman.

The 2,900 men and women employed as Medical Center nurses serve patients at Mississippi’s only academic medical center, setting them apart in their development and training. Only at UMMC, for example, will a nurse in the state care for organ and bone marrow transplant patients or the tiniest and sickest babies in Mississippi’s largest NICU.

“All of our nurses are leaders at the bedside, and it’s because of our training and our academic setting,” said Adrienne Murray, director of nursing quality, development and professional practice. “We are highly specialized and possess quality and talents that make us the elite workforce for the state of Mississippi.”

Kesha Prystupa, a Pediatric ED nurse manager, and Blake Jones, a registered nurse and educator, discuss "patients on paper" expected in their area as part of a mass casualty exercise.
Kesha Prystupa, Pediatric ED nurse manager, and Blake Jones, registered nurse and educator, discuss "patients on paper" expected in their area as part of a mass casualty exercise.

As the nation observes National Hospital Week and National Nurses Week, all of UMMC’s 10,000 employees and about 3,000 students are invited to join in a full week of events that highlight both care offered and those who deliver it.

National Hospital Week, sponsored by the UMMC Alliance, is a time to recognize the entire UMMC family for the heroic things members do every day for patients and each other. The celebration takes in campuses in Jackson, Grenada and Lexington and clinics in the metro area and throughout the state.

“Everyday Heroes” is the Medical Center’s theme for National Hospital Week. UMMC’s theme for National Nurses Week is “Healthy Nurse, Healthy You.”

Just some of the highlights:

  • Monday, May 7 – Food trucks at ICU Towers, 6:30 p.m.-11 p.m.; School of Nursing alumni pin and snacks, overflow dining in main cafeteria, 2-4 p.m.

  • Tuesday, May 8 – Farmer’s Market at Jackson Medical Mall Community Room, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; gurney races and block party, food trucks and music, Student Union, 4-6:30 p.m. Food trucks and music will be on site, and clinical service line heart health screening will be available to the first 100 employees.

  • Wednesday, May 9 – Smoothie demonstration with nurse practitioner Josie Bidwell, 9 a.m. in overflow dining and 9:45 a.m. in S-123; food trucks at Jackson Medical Mall, west side facing Livingston Road, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Blessing of the Hands, UMMC Chapel, sponsored by Pastoral Services, noon.

  • Thursday, May 10 – Excellence in Nursing Awards, 10-11:30 a.m., Student Union; Free Your Mind: Mental Health Awareness Day, Guyton breezeway, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. with fun and relaxing activities including yoga and relaxation, chair and workplace exercise, choreobics, art therapy, work and life balance ballgame, and hula hoop competition. Deep South Pops will be onsite.

  • Friday, May 11 –Smoothie demo for all night shift registered nurses sponsored by the Office of Nursing Quality, 6-8 a.m., lobby across from Starbucks and the Wiser walkway; food trucks, Guyton breezeway, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; employee prize drawings.

    Food truck vendors taking part during the week include Small Time Hot Dogs, McAlister’s and Mazzio’s, Lurney D’s, 2 for 7 Kitchen, Hog Heaven, T and J Concessions and Chunky Dunks.

This year’s gurney race has expanded to 22 five-person teams, each with its own unique and sometimes hilarious name. The winning team lays claim to the Golden Stethoscope; the last-place finisher will be saddled with the Slow Poke Sloth award and plenty of incentive to practice hard for the 2019 race.

Nurses representing Telehealth including Kourtland Adams, Megan Duet and Terri Morgan take part in a gurney race to celebrate 2016 National Nurses Week.
UMMC employees representing Telehealth, from left, Terri Morgan, Kourtland Adams and Megan Duet take part in a gurney race to celebrate 2016 National Nurses Week.

The teams:

BSC Flash, Batson Specialty Clinic; Chasing Zero, Chief Medical Officer’s office; 5 South Stampede, 5 South; Float Pool Firecrackers, nursing resource team; Frequent Flyers, Adult Emergency Department; Heavy Breathers, respiratory;

Hello Kidney, University Transplant; Heme Lightning, bone marrow transplant; Heroic Hearts, 5 Children’s; Kidney Stoners, 2 South; Legal Dealers, Pharmacy; Managers of Mayhem, adult managers; Pill Pushers, Pharmacy; Preemie Power, NICU; Rehab Rebels, rehabilitation services;

Rehab Rockets, rehabilitation services; Smooth Operators, Batson OR; SON All Stars, School of Nursing; Super Coders, UP charge review; Swole Patrol, MICU; Trach Masters, 4 North; and Wiser Warriors, 4 Wiser.

For information on National Nurses Week, contact Murray at or 5-4878. For details on National Hospital Week, contact Cammie Breedlove at or 4-4181.