National Nurses Week 2023: Cultivating Kindness

Posted by Enlivant Support Center on May 5, 2023

In honor of National Nurses Week, we are celebrating our nurses who work every day to enrich the lives of our residents and are committed to compassionate care. They truly represent what it means to “Cultivate Kindness,” reflecting this year’s National Nurses Week theme. We are so grateful for each one of them, and the many residents across our communities who served as nurses during their careers. Read on to learn more about the dedicated nurses that work and live in our communities.

Help us show gratitude for our nurses who make Enlivant so special. Show your appreciation to a resident or employee nurse and share a note of thanks on our Gratitude Wall.

Ruthanne Pellegrini - Resident, Woodbourne Place

When she was just five years old, Ruthanne was hit by a car and was in the hospital for several weeks, inspiring her to become a nurse. She understood how hard it was to be a child who was hurt, and she knew she could bring happiness to the children she would care for as a nurse. 

Ruthanne started out in pediatrics, later becoming a school nurse for 17 years. Ruthanne believes that everyday acts of kindness, such as saying hello and smiling while passing, in the hallways help patients to feel better about themselves.

Kristy McCarthy - Regional Director of Care Services, Oregon Washington Region

After trying a few other professions first, Kristy knew she wanted to be a nurse. She loves the personal gratification from helping others and goes above and beyond to help those in her care. As a hospital nurse, she once worked with a woman who struggled through her treatment, and Kristy spent time talking with her to better understand her condition. After she was discharged, the patient sent a letter to the Chief Nursing Officer expressing her gratitude for Kristy.

Kristy believes kindness is essential to building trust. She knows that when a resident feels that they are heard and understood, it is easier to provide higher quality, personalized care.

Annamae Sterret - Resident, Aurora Place

Annamae became a nurse during World War II, because there was a big need for nurses – and the U.S. government paid her way through nursing school! Annamae practiced as a private duty nurse and worked in the maternity ward. She recalls delivering a baby on her own before the doctor was able to make it into the room, and she even helped deliver twin boys who only weighed two pounds each, which was very uncommon at the time.  Annamae believes that kindness goes a long way and the need to help is found naturally within each nurse.

Zachary Brown - Regional Director of Care Services, Blue Ridge Region

Zachary was inspired to become a nurse after his grandmother was diagnosed with dementia. Seeing her struggle everyday made him want to help others. At the beginning of his nursing career during his first clinical rotations, he loved to learn and was eager to soak up all the new information. 

Zachary believes kindness plays an important role in nursing, because it can comfort patients who are sick or scared. He knows a smile can make a resident’s day a little better and lives by the saying, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

Alda Sopher - Resident, North Woods Place

Alda worked as a Certified Nurses Assistant and decided to go to nursing school after a colleague, Registered Nurse, convinced her. Alda loved taking care of people and enjoyed the hands-on aspect of nursing. She believes in giving 100% kindness by listening to people and picking up on what they need. 

Alda encourages anyone who is considering nursing to go for it! She acknowledges it may seem like a lot of work at first, but she knows it’s worth it to keep pursuing – even just one class at a time. 

Alida Raynor - Regional Care Specialist, Oregon Washington Region

Alida originally studied psychology in college, but after her infant daughter became sick, she switched her focus to nursing so she could better help and understand. She has practiced nursing in a wide range of specialties – from the oncology and general surgery to addiction and geriatrics. 

Throughout all her experiences in nursing, Alida believes kindness can feel more important than medications and treatments, because it helps build trust with patients and residents.  She strives to convey she cares and knows she can make a difference with every interaction.

Elizabeth Giorgi - Resident, Dover Place

After a group of nurses came to her high school to talk about the profession, Elizabeth knew it was the only field she wanted to work in. She was a Registered Nurse for 25 years, working as an operating room and floor nurse.

She found working with children to be the most rewarding and believes all people need to be cared for with kindness and love. Elizabeth believes nurses can help patients physically and emotionally heal by building a close, trusting connection.

Verna Allen - Regional Care Specialist, Idaho Washington Region

Growing up, Verna’s mom was not in good health, and Verna’s compassionate nature came out as a result: she wanted to become a nurse to make her mom feel better. She served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and practiced in many other areas of nursing during her career. 

For Verna, kindness and compassion play a huge role in nursing. She strives to always have a smile on her face and speak kindly to her residents, so they know she is there for them and cares for them. 

Judy Davis - Resident, Marigold Place

Judy practiced Emergency Medicine and Rehabilitation at the VA Medical Center. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Northwestern State University in Nachitoches, LA, focusing on caring for patients with “do-not-resuscitate” orders; her thesis paper was titled: “Attitudes of Nurses Toward DNR Patients.” 

It was a passion of Judy's to provide care for DNR patients, because a lot of nurses did not want to provide care for these patients, choosing to focus on other patients instead. Judy felt it was important to minister to patients during the dying process and emphasize kindness for them and their families during a difficult time.

Carol Houghland - Resident, Aurora Place

Growing up, Carol always loved the idea of becoming a nurse, and her parents inspired her to go nursing school and achieve her goal of being a nurse. During her time as a Registered Nurse, she worked with adults in rehab facilities and with psychiatric patients.

Carol believes that kindness plays a very important role in the nursing career and enjoyed the friendships she formed with her colleagues and patients.