Oakwood staffers honored with Nurse Nightingale awards

For Janet Bush, nursing is in the blood. When she followed her sister into nursing school, she already had two aunts and a grandmother who were part of that proud profession.

That was more than 22 years ago. Now Bush, RN, FNP, as another accomplishment to tout as the winner of the Nightingale Award in the Advanced Nurse Practice category. Awards are given based on nurses’ achievements and community and professional involvement. Leadership, quality of care given, innovative practices, and advances in research are also valued in the selection processes.

“I do feel blessed,” she said. “It’s a great honor.”

Bush is the clinical manager of the Orthopedic Unit and a nurse practitioner at the Michigan Bone and Joint Orthopedic Center at the Oakwood Southshore Medical Center (OSMC) in Trenton, MI. She came to the healthcare system about five years ago to help build up that practice. It has since earned certification in Joint Commission Disease Specific Care—a distinction that was recently renewed for two more years. Press Ganey patient satisfaction scores have consistently exceeded the 90th percentile.

“We’re very proud of that,” she said. “It’s quite an accomplishment.”

In addition to her work at OSMC and as an administrative manager of a practice that includes two orthopedic surgeons, a neurosurgeon, a podiatrist and a pain specialist, Bush is active in the community. She is a Eucharistic minister for her church, the Sacred Heart Parish, and volunteers at the Clinic for the Working Uninsured in Woodhaven, MI. The clinic serves people in the community who are employed but do not have health insurance. Originally just open one day a week, it has expanded to three days to service a growing client base.

“Everybody needs some kind of health care. You can’t turn your back on that,” she said. “It’s really a gratifying thing; the people really appreciate it—and anyone, at anytime, could find themselves down on their luck.”

Alta Gordon, chief nurse executive and director of patient care services at OSMC, said her work in the community coupled with the compassion she shows for her patients, make her an ideal Nightingale Award recipient.

“She is a special nurse, colleague, role model and woman,” said Gordon, who received a Nightingale Award for excellence in nursing administration in 2005. “She is worthy of the recognition.”

Kevin Sprague, MD, agreed. He has worked with her for more than 25 years.

“She is an outstanding role model, passionate for her work and is a very compassionate individual,” he said.

Bush is not the only Oakwood nurse to earn distinctions this year. Sandy Schmitt, manager of Nursing Development for Oakwood Healthcare, is the runner-up in the Education and Research Category. Kathleen Cotant, a retired nurse and mother of Kathleen Cronin, director of stewardship and donor relations for the Oakwood Foundation, was named the People’s Choice award winner.