Whenever there is a Registered Nurse Labor Management Initiatives (RNLMI) event, there are women and men sprinkled throughout the crowd who wear a smile and the signature black and gold sash that says they are nurse ambassadors. These registered nurses, all former Nurse of Distinction (NOD) award winners and nominees, do a variety of tasks at the conferences, including greeting attendees, hosting the NOD exhibit table and escorting guests to workshops. They also serve as a valuable resource within their institutions by helping coach and mentor new NOD nominees. There are currently 335 nurse ambassadors representing 29 hospitals and nursing homes throughout New York, under the guidance of RNLMI Field Coordinator Naya Gonzalez.

“Every opportunity I get to promote the NOD awards or the RN Symposium, I love to participate,” says Sandy Morales, an RN from Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital and winner of the 2012 NOD Preceptor award. Morales says that nurses are always serving other people, from patients to family members and colleagues. Many nurses are extremely humble, she says, so she is happy that RNLMI’s NOD awards honor nurses for their work and gives them a moment in the limelight.

Sheron Simmons, an RN from the Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation and 2016 NOD Winner in a Nursing Home Setting enjoys being a Nurse Ambassador and attending RNLMI events. “The most enjoyable thing about the RN Symposium was that many eyes were on us as ambassadors,” she says. “We stood out as a group of extraordinary nurses who continue to make a difference in the lives of others.”

For Jean Joseph, an RN from The Schulman and Shachne Institute for Nursing and Rehabilitation Home and 2015’s first runner-up for winner in a nursing home setting, it is an honor to be a nurse ambassador and mentor other nurses. “If it wasn’t for 1199, I would not be in the position that I am now,” he says. “I am happy to always be of service to my fellow nurses. It feels great.”

After Carolyn Jones-Week of Forest Hills Hospital won 2015’s Hospital Setting category, she became more active, encouraging others to nominate nurses from their institution. Jones-Week has assisted staff at different RNLMI events and participated in Forest Hills’ Nurses Week activities to spread the word about NOD. “I really enjoy being a nurse ambassador. It is definitely a good feeling,” she says.

For additional information about nurse ambassadors, please call Naya Gonzalez at 212-494-0547 or email her at [email protected].

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