BVAHCS Nurses Go Above During Nurses Week - Birmingham, Alabama VA Health Care System
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Birmingham, Alabama VA Health Care System


BVAHCS Nurses Go Above During Nurses Week

Bill Nichols State Veterans Home

Bill Nichols State Veterans Home

By Derrick Smith, Public Affairs Specialist
Friday, May 8, 2020

BVAHCS Nurses Go Above During Nurses Week

Husband and wife, both nurses, answers call together on 27th wedding anniversary

As National Nurses Week wraps up, several Birmingham VA Health Care System (BVAHCS) team members return from assisting an area State Veterans Home.

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ “Fourth Mission” includes “taking actions to ensure continued service to Veterans, as well as to support national, state, and local emergency management, public health, safety and homeland security efforts.” The BVAHSC takes this charge seriously.

“The contribution and service of our nursing staff during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is especially meaningful as it falls during Nurses Week.  We recognize and honor our nurses as they continue their work on the frontlines of the pandemic battle,” said Stacy Vasquez, Director at the BVAHCS.

Dr. Tina Strickland, Chief Nurse organized the deployment of the first team from the Birmingham VAHCS to detail at Bill Nichols State Veterans Home on April 24 – May 7 included Jennie McClain, RN, the Team Lead; Kimberly Brantley, NA; Natasha Crockett, LPN; Jessie Fails, NA; Mary Holloway, RN; Tim Holloway, RN; Marla Jones, NA; Justin Streeter, NA and Carlos Strickland, NA.

The nursing staff team provided direct nursing care to facility residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Two of the nursing professionals are husband and wife.

Mary and Tim Holloway, parents of a daughter and son -- their son is an Air Force Veteran -- are both registered nurses. They traveled with the team to Alexander City, AL, to assist with caring for Veterans on April 24 – their 27th wedding anniversary.

“It was a really humbling experience,” said Mary, a nurse at the BVAMC for 22 years. “Seeing the dedication of the staff there, some coming back to work after recovering from COVID themselves, was inspiring.”

Tim served as an Army medic and in 2000 became a registered nurse. Three months ago, he brought those experience to the VA medical center’s Endoscopy Department.

“Some (Bill Nichols staff) have cared for these Veterans for 20 years. It was an honor to work with them and giving them a break,” said Tim. “Compassion was prevalent there. They are like family and it is evident in the care they provide. Most are World War II patients and were unable to have their families with them.”

McClain, an VA assistant nurse manager with 13 years of experience at the BVAHCS, said the staff and Veterans were very appreciative of the VA team assistance.

“The patients were appreciative and asked us not to leave.”

Due to COVID, Bill Nichols has more than 90 Veterans in the home that needed assistance,” explained McClain.

“The experience provided us an opportunity to take care of Veterans in a different setting. We had huddles during our detail to stay on the same page even though we hadn’t previously worked together at the VA.”

A second team was detailed May 8 – May 22nd.  Deidra Naylor, RN, is serving as the Team Lead.

Alfreda Battle, RN; Ebonie Essex, RN; Breawna Farrish, NA; Robin Hall, RN; Ray Lake, NA; Denera Marshall, NA; Tiffany Moore, NA; Champagne South Rouche, RN; Cynthia Turner, RN and Kristy Whitlow, LPN.

Naylor, who has been at the Birmingham VAHCS for seven years, is looking to help.

“I am here to serve Veterans. If this is what I need to do, going in to help out the facility, then that’s what I must do,” said Naylor. “I am going into it with a positive mindset. I have worked in nursing homes before and understand the atmosphere.”


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