Nurses Week is a time when MUSC celebrates the hard work and tireless
hours put in by its registered nurses. Instead of honoring just one
“Nurse of the Year,” winners were selected in four categories: nurse
manager, staff nurse, other support nurse and resource nurse.
2009 Nurses of the Year are (back row) Melinda Biller, right, Pediatric
Intensive Care Unit, Nurse Manager of the Year; Pamela Srinivas,
Therapeutic Services, Physical Therapy, Resource Nurse of the Year;
(front row) Sherri Jowers, right, Hospital Options Pool, Staff Nurse of
the Year; and Katie Vriezen, Pediatric Hematology Oncology, Support
Nurse of the Year.
were chosen by their peers during the nomination period, which ran from
March 30 until April 8. The five nurses with the most votes for each
category were selected. Online voting took place April 15 - April 22.
The winners of each of the four categories were honored at a ceremony
All nominees had to be registered nurses in their current position for
at least one year; were respected and admired by patients, families,
workers and students; always adhered to MUSC Standards of Behavior;
couldn’t be under current disciplinary action; and employed by MUHA in
a permanent position.
The following is a special question/answer section with the four nurses
of the year: Melinda Biller, R.N., Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
(PICU), Nurse Manager of the Year; Sherri Jowers, R.N., Hospital
Options Pool (HOP), Staff Nurse of the Year; Katie Vriezen, R.N.,
Pediatric Hematology Oncology, Support Nurse of the Year; and Pamela
Srinivas, R.N., Therapeutic Services, Physical Therapy, Resource Nurse
of the Year.
How long have you been at MUSC?
“I have been at MUSC for more than 13 years. I started my nursing
career here and have been here ever since. I chose MUSC because of my
desire to work with children and because of the wonderful things that
the Children’s Hospital does for them.”—Jowers
“I have been at MUSC off and on for 18 years. I began my health care
career at MUSC in 1991 as a pediatric social worker. I worked as a
social worker in CH for seven years, and then went to nursing school.
Since that time, I have worked on 7A, for LifePoint doing organ
procurement, and the PICU.” —Biller
What made you choose nursing?
“I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else! My father would
love to answer this question. He tells a story about me carrying around
my toy medical kit (while wearing my cowboy boots) and “taking care of”
every dog, cat, bird and small child I could find; whether they needed
it or not. I thank my mother for inspiring me to be a nurse. She takes
care of everyone around her and is concerned for their well being,
emotional and physical health.” —Srinivas
“I was a pediatric patient for most of my childhood and was taken care
of by very dedicated nurses. I always knew that I wanted to be a nurse
and give back a little of what had been given to me and my family.” —Vriezen
How does it make you feel to win this award, which reflects the respect and admiration of your peers?
“I feel overwhelmed to be singled out for this award, because I know
that I could not do my job without the help of my fellow wound care
nurses, as well as each and every nurse here at MUSC…To be given that
kind of trust and cooperation from one’s peers is a very humbling
“I am overwhelmed that my staff would nominate me for this award. The
PICU nurses are such a special group of people, and I feel lucky to
work with them every day. To be recognized by the nursing staff is very
What is the best part of your job? What is the most challenging?
“The best parts are definitely my awesome nurses and management team
that I have the privilege of working with every day. The most
challenging is trying to balance my responsibilities in a way that
enables the very best resources for my nurses, patients and families.” —Vriezen
“The best part about my job is seeing a very sick child go home with
his or her family well and to know that I had a part in it. It is very
rewarding to see that happen. The hardest part is dealing with a child
that you know will never be well again…Having kids of my own, it is
sometimes hard not to put myself in the parents’ place and become very
Any advice for up-and-coming nurses?
“I think that to succeed in nursing, one must avoid becoming cynical.
Yes, it is easy to feel like you do the same things over and over,
sometimes without seeing a result or an improvement. Every day you can
learn something new that may be the one thing that helps your next
patient…Once you find what interests you, learn as much about that
field of nursing as you can!” —Srinivas
“If you don’t love what you do, you won’t last long. Find a place in
nursing that brings you purpose, and you will continue to grow for the
rest of your career.” —Biller
What is a normal day for you?
“Spending time in each of the clinics checking in with the nurses and
families, a couple meetings, and (on the best kind of days) some
patient care.” —Vriezen
“A normal day for me never seems quite normal. I work at night so my
day starts at 7 p.m. Also, I am in the HOP pool, so I never know where
I may end up. I may start on one unit, and if another unit ends up
having a greater need for a nurse during the night, I may be pulled
there. I get reports on my patients and then take care of all of their
needs and their families’ needs for 12 hours. I also admit new patients
if I am needed to, and help the other nurses if I am able.” —Jowers
Nurses Week May 6 - 12
Building a Healthy America
9 to 11 a.m.—Nurse of the Year Ceremony and Recognition of RNIII,
Certifications, Military Nurses with Speaker, St. Luke's Chapel; 10
a.m. to 1 p.m.—massages for registered nurses, Children's Hospita
lobby, Institue of Psychiatry and Ashley River Tower (ART); Noon to 1
p.m.—“Introduction to Research: What you need to know,” 2W classroom
May 7: 8
a.m. to 2 p.m.—Education and Professional Organization Fair,
Children's Hospital lobby; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.—Nurse Appreciation Flower
Sale, Children's Hospital lobby; Noon to 1 p.m.—Success Center and You
May 8: 8
a.m. to 2 p.m.—Nurse Appreciation Flower Sale, Children's Hospital
lobby; Noon to 1 p.m.—“Inspired Nurse” webinar, 2W Classroom and ART
May 9: 6 to 8 p.m.—Florence Nightingale's Traveling Party, ART Auditorium, and 5 to 7 p.m., 2W classroom
10 a.m. to noon—Poster Day, ART Atrium; 1 to 2 p.m.—Medication Error
Prevention: Principles in adverse event analysis, ART Auditorium
May 12: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.—Nurses walk, MUSC campus, start at ART.
For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, May 8, 2009