In an effort to recognize the many contributions of nearly 4 million registered nurses in the U.S., National Nurses Weektraditionally celebrated from May 6 to May 12became a month-long celebration this year. As we conclude National Nurses Month, Atrium Health Foundation is proud to highlight just a handful of Atrium Health’s dedicated nurses who are providing health, hope and healing, for all.

This month, and all-year-long, we also invite grateful patients, teammates and community members to help honor nurses at Atrium Health by making a contribution to the Atrium Health Nursing Fund. With a donation of $100 or more, you can make an Atrium Health nurse a Nursing Star. Learn more here.

Pictured: Jenny Ray, BSN, RN, and her family.

Jenny Ray, BSN, RN 

A nurse for nearly 20 years, Jenny is admired by her teammates and patients for her positive attitude and commitment to her patients. In her role as a registered nurse at Atrium Health, Jenny cares for newborns and mothers inside Levine Children’s Hospital’s mother/baby unit.

When the coronavirus pandemic began last year, Jenny was determined to use her skills to help where she could, assisting with teammate screening checks at Atrium Health’s COVID-19 testing sites and volunteering for the new Atrium Health Levine Children’s Pediatric Virtual Hospital. The virtual hospital, which is among the first of its kind in the country, has been offering at-home care for pediatric COVID-19 patients, as well as COVID-positive mothers with newborns, to ensure patients receive timely care and close monitoring while minimizing the spread of the virus.

Throughout the pandemic, Jenny has put in countless volunteer hours, using her expertise as a mother-baby RN to support families who have been impacted by COVID-19. Her teammates can attest that Jenny exemplifies Atrium Health’s core values every day through her commitment to her profession and her patients. 

Pictured (right to left): Nick Wilson, RN, and Tracy Jo, PT, and their patient test out the putting green.

Nick Wilson, MSN, RN, CEN

During the pandemic, Nick met an extended stay inpatient who was having trouble maintaining his oxygen saturation levels, following a COVID-19 diagnosis. The patient, who was only in his fifties and had previously maintained an active lifestyle, was very saddened by his lack of progress. On the communication board, Nick noticed that his patient enjoyed playing golf. An avid golfer himself, Nick decided to bring the putting green to his room, donating the supplies himself.

The patient was overjoyed by this kind gesture and to have a small part of his life back. Thanks to Nick’s thoughtful, personalized care, his patient was able to experience some joy during his stay and focus on his recovery.

Pictured (left to right): Erin Godlewski, RN, and Nivea Griffin.  

Erin Godlewski, RN

In September of 2020, Erin Godlewski stumbled upon a social media post from Nivea Griffin that would ultimately change both of their lives. Nivea had polycystic kidney disease and was in search of a kidney donor. Unfortunately, none of her family or friends were a match, so she posted her message online, hoping someone would come forward to generously donate a kidney.

Erin thought about her nursing career, in which she had the pleasure of taking care of children who needed organs as well as assisting in the preparations of other children who were receiving organs. She has witnessed firsthand the impact and joy that a lifesaving donation can bring, and as Erin read Nivea’s post, she knew it was her turn to provide the ultimate gift.

Within a few months of the initial social media post, the successful transplant surgeries took place at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. “Being a living organ donor has changed my life just as much as it changed Nivea’s life,” shared Erin.

Marisol Staley, RN, administering curbside injections amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marisol Staley, BSN, RN

Over the past year, many aspects of normal life have been put on hold. Unfortunately, cancer diagnosis wasn’t one of them, and Atrium Health teammates needed to quickly adjust protocols to ensure the holistic safety of their patients undergoing treatment. One of the implemented changes came from Marisol Staley, a registered nurse at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute.

Marisol developed a plan for giving non-chemotherapy injections in a drive-through fashion during the COVID-19 pandemic. After ensuring the project was both regulatory and financially sound, she developed the standard operating procedure, provided teammate education and ultimately implemented the successful project. This protocol has been an overwhelming success as it has minimized patient infection exposure and given patients the convenience and ease of staying in their vehicle. Marisol’s methods have been implemented at other Atrium Health sites.

Pictured: Tara McGee-Walker, BSN, RN-BC, at the second mass vaccination event hosted by Atrium Health.

Tara McGee-Walker, BSN, RN-BC

Tara McGee-Walker is a Clinical Informatics Team Lead at Atrium Health. A dedicated nurse and teammate, she has been instrumental in supporting Atrium Health’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts. During the second community event at Bank of America Stadium, Tara acted as Chief of Operations, working with hundreds of teammates and volunteers to successfully vaccinate over 20,000 community members.

“There is no greater feeling in the world than having the opportunity to vaccinate our community against COVID-19,” shared Tara. “Beyond simply giving a shot in the arm, I saw hope in patients’ eyes and heard poignant stories of why they were getting the vaccine. Words can’t convey the pride I have in my teammates; how we worked through challenges, pivoted quickly when needed, trusted each other and, ultimately, made a meaningful impact on our community.”