The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Nursing will hold its annual celebration of the nursing profession, the NightinGala, on October 22. The event, which will be held virtually this year, will be streamed at btsvirtualevents.com/uthscnightingala.
“This is an especially important year for nursing,” said Wendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, APRN-BC, dean of the UTHSC College of Nursing. “As 2020 has been designated the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and as our communities continue to combat a global pandemic, we believe it is essential to celebrate the great work our nurses do this year. Although we regret that we cannot celebrate in person, we hope to offer a virtual celebration that honors our profession and recognizes a few of our many exceptional nurses.”
Registration is required, but the event is free and open to all who want to honor nurses in this International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. The NightinGala program will begin at 6:30 pm and will be preceded by a silent auction at 6 pm. Registration will take place at https://btsvirtualevents.com/uthscnightingala.
The program will include a brief keynote speech by Alisa Haushalter, DNP, RN, director of the Shelby County Health Department, as well as the presentation of the Nurse Hero Awards. The award categories this year include Bedside Nurse Hero, Advanced Practice Nurse Hero, Executive Nurse Hero, and COVID-19 Community Nurse Hero.
In addition, the virtual event will honor a nurse with the Dr. John W. Runyan, Jr., Community Nursing Award, which was established in 1979 and recognizes a UTHSC alumna who is currently practicing and has made significant contributions to the development and promotion of community health. The award is named for the late Dr. John W. Runyan, Jr., Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Department of Preventive Medicine, who passed away March 20, 2020.
Dr. Runyan was instrumental in designing and establishing one of the nation’s premier, community-based, nurse-run, chronic disease treatment programs, which won national recognition for the university. The clinics were one of the first examples of utilization of nurses in an expanded role that demonstrated a reduction in morbidity and mortality.
“Dr. Runyan changed the way health care was provided in the 1960s,” said Dianne Greenhill, professor emeritus of the College of Nursing. “This system of a countywide network of nurse-led health clinics made primary care and chronic disease care accessible and affordable to thousands who might not otherwise have had access to such care.”
This is the fourth year that the UTHSC College of Nursing has honored Mid-South nurses with the NightinGala. Event sponsors this year include St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp., Methodist Le Bonheur Heatlhcare, the Tennessee Center for Health Workforce Development, Regional One Health, and Dr. Haushalter.
“We are so grateful for the incredible generosity of our event sponsors in this especially challenging year,” said Michelle Stubbs, director of development for the College of Nursing. “We appreciate their support and continued partnership in celebrating the most-trusted profession – nursing.”