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VA Honors Top Nurses

Peake: VA Nurses Are 'the Compassionate Heart' of System

WASHINGTON, May 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the nation's largest single employer of nurses, marked National Nurses Week by honoring six of its top professionals.

"VA nurses are the compassionate heart of VA's world-class health care system," stated Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. "A great deal of our reputation comes from the personal, one-on-one interaction between these health care givers and our veterans-patients."

With more than 64,000 nursing professionals, VA has one of the largest nursing staffs of any health care system in the world. The Department's 43,000 registered nurses, 12,000 licensed practical nurses and vocational nurses, and 9,000 nursing assistants provide comprehensive, complex and compassionate care to the nation's veterans.

Five nursing staff members recognized by Peake with the "Secretary's Award for Excellence" include:

-- Nursing assistant Shirley Cutler from East Orange, N.J.;

-- Nurse administrator Tina Lund from Minneapolis;

-- Registered nurse Joy Edvalson from Los Angeles;

-- Licensed professional nurse Lenora Scroggins from Topeka, Kan.; and

-- Registered nurse Natalie Russell from Columbia, Mo.

Michael M. Lawson, director of VA's Boston Healthcare System, was cited for his support for nurses, including their professional development, recruiting and retention.

Traditionally, National Nurses Week begins on May 6 and ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of nursing as a modern profession. For more information about VA's nursing program, go to

SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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