The 19th Annual Honors for Nursing brought the celebration of Nurses Week in Utah to a new level of significance this year when health care systems Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics joined together to be presenting sponsors of the May 7th nurse recognition event.
Established by the Alumni Board of the University of Utah College of Nursing as a way to highlight nurses for their contributions to the profession in research, education and practice, Honors for Nursing is Utah’s largest celebration of the nursing profession during National Nurses Week. During this year’s event, held at Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City, more than 750 nurses from throughout Utah received a groundswell of praise for their individual contributions to the profession of nursing.
Yet it is the ripple effect of Honors for Nursing that extends beyond the evening’s celebratory activities to aid in the preparation of more nurses. Support from the presenting sponsors, along with several other community partners including Sigma Theta Tau International and Kimberly-Clark, is critical in the advancement of a second aim of the event: to raise funds for scholarships for students at the College of Nursing. “Our overarching vision for Honors for Nursing is that it be a celebration of today’s nurses that helps build the pipeline of nurses we need tomorrow,” says Benjamin Becker, RN, MS, OCN, a member of the College of Nursing Alumni Board and a spokesperson for the 19th Annual Honors for Nursing.
For nursing student Saray Perez, the $3,000 scholarship she received from the 2012 event’s scholarship fund helped reduce financial stress and gave her the gift of time, which allowed her to engage on a deeper level in the College of Nursing. “I wanted to make every second of my time at the College of Nursing count,” she says. Perez joined the Student Advisory Committee, continued to work and also got involved in campus-wide activities as a representative of nursing. She views both the scholarship, and her profession as a nurse, as a chance to make a difference in the lives of others—and honor her mother, who
juggled three jobs to make education first for her children. “My mother has been a huge advocate for making my dreams come true and she has sacrificed so much to help me get ahead,” Perez says. “I want to make her proud and help other people in the process.”
“The scholarship I received from the Alumni Association of the College of Nursing is a gift that will continue to give because it gave me the opportunity to learn how to be a good nurse...”
Perez graduated from the College in May and is currently employed as a critical care nurse with University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics, where she is striving to ‘pay it forward’ via the care she delivers to patients. “The scholarship I received from the Alumni Association of the College of Nursing is a gift that will continue to give because it gave me the opportunity to learn how to be a good nurse,” she says. “I have been given so much; I want to give that to my patients.”