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Contact: Linda Johnson
WCA Hospital Public Relations
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WCA Hospital

Photo Caption: Celebrating the WCA Hospital 125th Anniversary and National Nurses Week from left, Judith Burgett, WCA School of Nursing graduate, is shown wearing a nurses white uniform and registered nurse cap which was, for decades, the emblem of a registered nurse. The cap’s original purpose was to keep the nurse’s hair neatly in place. Also pictured, Betsy T. Wright, WCA Hospital President/CEO; Erica Alekson, named “2010 Nurse of Distinction”; Ann Downing, R.N., MS, WCA Vice President of Nursing; Mary Sue Pawlak, R.N., BSN, WCA Hospital Nurse Manager and member of the Nurse of Distinction Committee.

Jamestown, New York (Thursday, May 27, 2010)—WCA Hospital is pleased to announce that Erica Alekson, R.N., at WCA Hospital was named the “2010 Nurse of Distinction” at a special breakfast held in recognition of National Nurses Week.

The distinguished tradition at WCA began in 1989 when Elaine Hoglin was selected the first “Nurse of Distinction”.

WCA Hospital awards the distinction to an outstanding Registered, Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree Nurse who exemplifies the mission and vision of WCA Hospital.  The award is given to a nurse who displays outstanding achievement; is a role model; possesses professional standards and leadership skills; is an advocate for healthcare and the nursing profession; and is involved in his or her community.  The honoree is nominated by his or her colleagues and selected by the Nurse of Distinction Committee comprised of recipients from previous years.

“Nurses are a vital part of our healthcare team,” said Betsy T. Wright, WCA Hospital President/CEO.  “During National Nurses Week alongside the 125th anniversary commemoration at WCA, we celebrate the commitment and dedication of our nursing profession and salute our staff for their continued passion and excellent care to our patients and the communities we serve.”

In announcing Mrs. Alekson as this year’s recipient, Ann Downing, R.N., MS, Vice President of Nursing at WCA Hospital stated, “Erica is a champion for her patients.  She is the example of what a WCA nurse should be.  The WCA mission is to improve the health and well-being of those we serve in a way that includes compassion, and a commitment to quality.  Erica takes our mission to heart and it shows in her day-to-day care of our patients.  From the key principles of leadership, to her willingness to teach and mentor others, she is truly a team player who goes above and beyond for others.  We are very proud to recognize Erica today for her outstanding devotion to our patients and the nursing profession.”

A high school graduate of Cranberry Area High School, Cranberry, Pennsylvania, Erica received an Associate Degree in Applied Science from Jamestown Community College.  She is currently a Clinical Level II Registered Nurse at WCA in the 4D Medical/Surgical Unit. She resides in Youngsville, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Richard and children, Tori, Collin, and Madison.

Award finalists for the 2010 Nurse of Distinction were: Laurie Smith, R.N., Inpatient Mental Health program; Susan Fulton, R.N., Medical Rehabilitation program; and Pamela Caccamise, R.N., Senior Staff Nurse for the WCA Medical Rehabilitation program.  The program included honorable mention to Deborah Parker, Maternity Care Registered Nurse and primary preceptor for all new registered nurses at WCA Hospital, who was presented the distinguished J.C.C. “Alumni Nurse of Distinction” award; and Arlene Hamilton, L.P.N., who was acknowledged for 45 years of dedicated service to WCA Hospital for the 2010 anniversary year.

The morning celebration included a special presentation on the subject of the WCA School of Nursing and hospital facts and trivia over the last 125 years.  Alumni nurses from the WCA School of Nursing modeled traditional nursing uniform fashions dating back to 1885 through more recent times.  

Previous Nurse of Distinction recipients include Elaine Hoglin, Julie Anderson, Mary Sue Pawlak, Michelle Benson, Carol Nelson, Kathleen Cayer, Sue Crytzer, Toni DeAngelo, Ruth Yancey-Walton, Joann Nelson, Joyce Devine, Sandra Gilebarto, Ralph Hamby, Karen Beck, Wendy Beckerink, Charity Carris, Donna Bryant, Jennifer Zabalo, Mindy Moore, and Erica Alekson.

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