During the annual Nurse Leadership Program on June 2, Florida Health Care Association recognized the 2023 recipients of our Excellence in Long Term Care Nursing Awards. Each of these winners share compassion for their residents and has unique characteristics, professionalism and expanded skills set of the long term care nurse.
Audrey Foster of Sea Breeze Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was named the 2023 Certified Nursing Assistant of the Year. Audrey has been a CNA for 35 years and is known for her patience, kindness and compassion. She is critical to ensuring that every member of her center’s team makes personal connections with the residents and helps them achieve their goals.
Laure Meech with Palm Garden of Sun City Center was named the 2023 Licensed Practical Nurse of the Year. Laura has been with Palm Garden since 2013 and has served in several roles, including case manager, unit manager, and now director of education and infection prevention. Before becoming a nurse in long term care, Laura was a nurse in the U.S. Army and worked in various sectors including oncology, urology, and pediatric nursing.
Teresa Thompson, Director of Nursing at Valencia Hills Health and Rehabilitation Center, was named the 2023 Registered Nurse of the Year. Teresa has been an RN for over 20 years, including 15 years working at Valencia Hills. She has pursued advanced degrees in nursing as she progressed in her career and serves as an inspiration to her peers by encouraging them to do the same. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Teresa dedicated herself to infection prevention policies and improved the lives of residents.
Farah Claude, Nursing Director at Aventura Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, was recognized as the Florida Health Care Association’s 2023 Nurse Administrator of the Year. During her time at Aventura Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Claude has helped the nursing center achieve Joint Commission accreditation, reduce rehospitalization rates, and improve referral communications and care coordination. She is a natural leader, role model and problem solver and cares deeply for her residents.
Sonia Wilson, Licensed Practical Nurse at Century Center for Rehabilitation and Healing was named the 2023 Rising Star. Sonia is known for her continuous compassion and commitment to her patients. She is recognized for her outstanding work ethic and leadership, earning nicknames as “Lady with the Lamp” and “Ms. Florence Nightingale.”
“The association is proud to recognize these dedicated healthcare heroes for their outstanding service to our wonderful residents,” said Emmett Reed, CEO of FHCA. “Each of them is a role model, and the passion and commitment to excellence they demonstrate is what helps Florida lead the way in quality long term care.”
FHCA’s Excellence in Long Term Care Nursing Award honorees are health care professionals, nominated by Florida Health Care Association member skilled nursing and assisted living centers, who reflect the unique characteristics, professionalism, and expanded skill sets needed in the long term care nursing profession. The annual awards recognize individuals for their important roles in helping centers achieve continuous quality improvement and demonstrating a person-centered care approach to residents and patients.