Mon, June 4, 2018
Loraine Strickland, RN, BSN, has been selected as WellStar West Georgia Medical Center’s 2018 recipient of the Mary Lynn Faress Award for Distinguished Service.
Strickland, nurse manager for WellStar West Georgia Home Care, began working as a nurse at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center 33 years ago after graduating with an associate’s degree in nursing from LaGrange College in 1985. She transitioned to home care as a supervisor in 2014 before being named nurse manager.
In May 2018, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from LaGrange College while working full-time. She was one of eight nurses at WellStar West Georgia in the college’s inaugural online nursing program who received an RN-to-BSN scholarship from Fuller. E. Callaway Foundation through a partnership with WellStar West Georgia and LaGrange College.
Phyllis Gentry, RN, BSN, director of West Georgia Home Care, nominated Strickland for the Faress Award. Gentry met Strickland two years ago when she became director of home care.
Gentry said at the time, she wondered if Strickland could transition effectively from the hospital to home care when she had minimal experience in a health care field that is so highly regulated and scrutinized by outside governmental agencies.
“At the time, I decided to sit back and watch Loraine for 30 days,” Gentry said. “And during those 30 days, I found myself quite impressed. I watched her handle ethical issues from staff and patients with maturity and grace. … Loraine showed understanding that sensitive issues needed to be handled when emotions are in control and in the proper place to maintain a calm atmosphere.”
Gentry said Strickland also is an excellent leader.
“Loraine’s effective management of the office and the respect she has from the staff are extremely evident, “ Gentry said. “From the beginning, I saw that staff members in the home care department who had many more years of home care experience came to her for guidance. She shows respect to everyone. I have many times witnessed her say in situations that were becoming tense: ‘I will always show you respect; all I ask is that you do the same, even if we don’t agree with each other.’”
Gentry said she not only feels confident in leaving the home care office in Strickland’s hands when she is not there, but she also feels comfortable if both of them need to be away.
“Recently we both had to be out of the office, and I asked her if she was worried about us both not being there,” Gentry said. “Loraine responded, ‘No, our staff is great, and they are extremely capable and know what we expect.’ It was at that moment I realized I had made the correct decision in promoting her to nurse manager. I couldn’t have been more proud of her and West Georgia Home Care.”
Gentry said that even with the demands of a family, full-time job, and completion of her BSN degree, Strickland recently came to her saying she wanted to take the Home Care OASIS certification exam.
“She has dedicated herself and her entire career to West Georgia Medical Center, and she continues to show her commitment and dedication to our system, patients and the community,” Gentry said. “She is truly a positive role model for all the home care staff.”
Gentry said she also worked with Faress at WGMC from 1983 to 1985 when Gentry was a new nursing graduate from LaGrange College.
“I remember her professionalism and how she had dedicated herself to the career of nursing,” Gentry said. “I remember being impressed with her going to get her master’s degree. This was a great commitment to make, for our local colleges were only offering associate’s degrees in nursing; to try to get a master’s in nursing was quite a challenge.“
Gentry said she sees Faress’s qualities in Strickland.
“I look at Loraine and see the same dedication, commitment and drive that I witnessed in Mrs. Faress,” she said. “Nursing is not just a career for these ladies but a way of life that makes them role models for our current and future nurses.”