2011-04-29 / Community

Peninsula Hospital Center Honors ‘Nurses Of Distinction’

Peninsula Hospital Center will hold its Nurse of Distinction Spring Reception on Wednesday, May 11 at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach, to honor its four Nurses of Distinction.

Peninsula Hospital Center and Peninsula Center for Extended Care and Rehabilitation honor both Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses at this annual event.

This year’s Registered Nurse honorees are Maureen Ermann, RN, from PACU – Recovery in Peninsula Hospital Center and Andrea Kennedy-Drysdale, RN, of 4 Bay in PCECR. The Licensed Practical Nurse honorees are Rilwan O. Akinola, LPN from 3 Bay in PCECR and Anna Grant, LPN of 3 North in the Hospital Center.

Maureen Ermann, RN, began her nursing career at Peninsula Hospital Center in 1977 after graduating from Nassau Community College. Ermann’s interest in nursing began when she was a young child and never waned. She remained constant in her goal and has taken great pride in her work during her 34 years at Peninsula Hospital Center. Ermann has experience in several different units in the Hospital Center. She began as a Med-Surg nurse, moved to Ambulatory Surgery and to Critical Care. Since 1991, Ermann has worked in PACU – Recovery. Her peers call her “dedicated,” “professional,” “capable” and someone who develops an excellent rapport with her patients making them feel more comfortable and more at ease – a true nurse. In addition to being the Hospital Center’s 2011 RN Nurse of Distinction, she has also been nominated by her peers to represent Peninsula Hospital Center at the 1199SEIU Nurse of Distinction Awards in May of 2011 at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Each year, 1199SEIU gives a Nurse of Distinction Award to a nurse considered the “best of the best” and the Hospital Center’s nursing staff is most proud to have nominated Ermann for this award. “Maureen is someone we can count on to do her job unconditionally,” says Robin Blackwell, RN, Peninsula Hospital Center’s Vice President, Nursing Services, Chief Nurse Executive. “She is a pleasure to have on staff. She exemplifies professionalism and the true spirit of nursing.”

In addition to Ermann’s dedication to her patients here at the Hospital Center, she is also very involved in the American Cancer Society and its fundraising. Ermann is married to her husband, Mark, and the couple has two sons, Michael and Kevin.

Andrea Kennedy-Drysdale, R.N. is the 2011 RN Nurse of Distinction for Peninsula Center for Extended Care and Rehabilitation. After graduating from Lehman College with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, she felt the need to give back to others and sought out opportunities to do so. With the encouragement of her family, she decided to become an LPN and earned her degree through the Board of Education’s program in 2005.

While working as an LPN, Kennedy- Drysdale recognized the opportunity to increase the scope of her nursing practice, and went back to school at Adelphi University earning her bachelor’s degree in Nursing Science in 2009. Her first position as a registered nurse was at Peninsula Center for Extended Care and Rehabilitation and she quickly learned to call it a “home.” “I have gotten to know our residents well and have made true friends amongst the staff who have become my extended family.”

Just this past March, Kennedy-Drysdale was selected as the PCECR’s Employee of Excellence. When presenting her award, Sharon Brown, RN, Director of Nursing at PCECR, said of her job performance, “Andrea exemplifies excellence in her profession and sets a fine example for her fellow nurses. She goes about her job quietly and capably and if something needs to be done, she just does it. Her professional excellence translates into excellent care for our residents.”

Kennedy-Drysdale and her husband, Rohan, have two children: Brandon, age 8 and Courtney, age 3. “I have my hands full,” says the honoree, “but it is all good because I feel like I am making a difference in the lives of others.”

Rilwan Akinola, PCECR’s LPN of Distinction, was born in Nigeria where he witnessed huge economic disparities. He studied Accounting, Finance and Audio/Visual Editing and produced health-related television commercials and documentaries for USAID in Nigeria. That experience, along with witnessing deplorable human conditions such as infant malnutrition, dehydration, HIV/AIDS and other human tragedies which could be prevented, eventually led Akinola into the nursing aspect of health care. Recognizing how just the simplest thing such as hand washing and cleanliness can make such a big difference to one’s health, he wanted to become even more involved with direct patient care. Vowing to make a difference where he could, he eagerly began furthering his education.

After immigrating to the United States, he worked as a direct care counselor with Community Mainstreaming Associates, Inc. and the Center for Developmental Disabilities on Long Island. It was this experience, coupled with all he had witnessed in Nigeria, which led him into his nursing education. He attended the Vocational Education and Extension Board of Nassau County (VEEB), graduated as an LPN and received his license in October of 2007. He joined the PCECR team in January of 2008 on the Subacute/ Rehabilitation Unit and became the Charge Nurse on the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift. Sharon Brown, Director of Nursing at PCECR, says of Akinola, “He is knowledgeable and bright – always ready to help. He gets things done that need to be done.”

Akinola has never regretted making the decision to enter the field of nursing. He considers his career at PCECR to be one of fulfillment, happiness and satisfaction. Talking about his career at PCECR, he states, “I have the opportunity of working, relating and learning from people I regard as my colleagues, mentors, teachers, friends and family and help people at the same time. This is the fulfillment of a dream for me.”

Peninsula Hospital Center’s 2011 LPN Nurse of Distinction is Anna Grant. Grant began working in the Nursing Department at Peninsula Hospital Center in 1969 as a Nurse’s Aide. After six years in this role and after being encouraged by her peers and supervisors to go further, she enrolled in the Vocational Education Board’s LPN program and obtained her license. “I learned the basics in school,” says Grant, “but I learned the real role of an LPN from my nursing colleagues. They were truly my mentors.”

Grant firmly believes that true greatness is achieved through helping others. “Life is about doing your best each day,” she says. “It’s all about the patients in the end and no matter what we encounter at home or outside the hospital – it must always be about the patients, taking care of their needs and being there for them. Along with giving them excellent care – if one just adds a smile – it can mean the world to them.”

Grant has worked at Peninsula Hospital Center for 40 years. She is dedicated to her profession although she does say that even though one has to maintain a professional demeanor at all times, she cannot help but get emotionally involved sometimes with her patients and their families as well. Robin Blackwell, RN, Vice President, Nursing, Chief Nurse Executive, says of Grant, “She is the person on the unit that one remembers because of her genuine smile and caring nature which comes through in everything she does.”

For more information or to purchase tickets for the Nurse of Distinction - Spring Reception on May 11, 2011 at Russo’s on the Bay from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., please contact the Office of External Affairs at Peninsula Hospital Center.

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