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Citizens Nurses Celebrated with Luncheon for National Nurses Week

Celebrating Those Who Provide Critical Care

Citizens Options Unlimited nurses joined with administrators to enjoy an afternoon and celebrate everything they do for the people we serve.
Nurses from Citizens Options Unlimited wore their new baseball caps, that read “Nurse Strong,” with pride.

Nurses from Citizens Options Unlimited were treated to a luncheon, catered by Wheatley Farms, on May 2 to honor their talent, hard work, and invaluable service to the people we serve.

“In case you don’t know, you all rock,” said Vice President of Operations Sallyanne Burgess. “Nurses are the heart and soul of everything we do. You keep people safe; you make judgment calls. You take phone calls at 3 o’clock in the morning. You save people’s lives every single day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you do. We love our nurses at Citizens.”

The luncheon was held as part of National Nurses Week, a time to honor and show appreciation for nurses all around the country. The luncheon, along with the gift of a baseball cap with the slogan “Nurse Strong,” were just two ways Citizens Options Unlimited showed their appreciation for the amazing nurses who keep people healthy and safe.

This luncheon was also an opportunity for Citizens Options Unlimited nurses to meet and chat with nurses who they may not always cross paths with from partner agencies AHRC Nassau and Brookville Center for Children’s Services.

“The nurses are not looking for accolades and they’re not looking to be rewarded for the work that they do. They work behind the scenes to help people live as healthy of a life that they can and that they choose,” said Nicole Ferrar, the Vice President of Health Services. “This gives us a week to be able to shine a spotlight on people who are always behind the scenes.”

Nurses who were not able to make the luncheon because they were on the clock will be honored through luncheons at their place of work and through signs and banners showing appreciation.

Chief Operating Officer Chris O’Connor said his background in nursing helps him to appreciate the nursing team’s achievements and professionalism.

Photo of a baseball cap that reads "Nurse Strong"
The “Nurse Strong” caps were chosen as a gift to reflect the enduring strength of our amazing nurses.

“They are often the unsung heroes, especially in this field,” Chris said. “This field is a little bit more challenging because sometimes you don’t know what the health issue is. It really takes getting to know your patients well and being able to act on changes in baseline functioning. That’s admirable for a skill. It’s something that not every nurse deals with. You also bridge the gap in health equity for people supported that don’t always have access to services, but through your advocacy, you ensure that people get the best care at the most vulnerable times.”

Georgeann Thompson, who has been with the agency’s network for 45 years, said her favorite part about being a nurse is helping people and nursing them back to health if they’re sick.

She has spent a lot of her time with Citizens Options Unlimited at Camp Loyaltown in Hunter, NY. She’s currently working part-time and will be heading up to the camp in June to provide training.

When asked what keeps Georgeann coming back, she said she enjoys working with the campers.

“At camp, there’s no pressure on them,” Georgeann said. “They’re free. They can go do what they want. They get to go swimming. There are animals they bring up there that the campers enjoy feeding.”

Diane Makowski, the Director of Health Services for Helen Kaplan Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF), Camp Loyaltown and Residential Supports and Services, has been with the agency’s network for 22 years, starting as a part-time residential nurse at AHRC Nassau while she was still working in a hospital. Overall, Diane has been a nurse for over 40 years.

Photo of a sign that reads "Thank You Nurses" for National Nurses Week
The luncheon was catered by Wheatley Farms, which is operated by the people the agency serves.

“I always asked myself why I didn’t find this job sooner,” Diane said. “Because I love it. And I couldn’t believe that I was so lucky to find this.”

Diane shared her favorite part about being a nurse is the people we support – a bonus is the fact that no day is ever the same.

“It’s the people, always the people,” Diane said. “When I was younger, I was very shy and so when I came into nursing, it just did so much for me, personally. We always talk about what nursing does for other people, but we never talk about what nursing does for you personally. It really brought me out of my shell and got me to really bond with people. It was really a good experience, and it continues to be.”

Diane agreed that events like this luncheon are important to boost nurse morale. In fact, Diane likes to encourage the nurses she works with through events like karaoke and escape rooms.

“I think team building is so important and coaching and morale. It’s just so nice to work every day and to feel like a team,” Diane said.

The luncheon was a great afternoon for everyone who attended, and a reminder that everything they do does not go unappreciated.

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