Gwinnett Medical Center’s Gayle Hayes, R.N., was awarded the prestigious Georgia Hospital Heroes Award at the Georgia Hospital Association’s (GHA) annual Hospital Heroes Awards luncheon Dec. 4 in Atlanta. Hayes, who was one of only 10 individuals statewide to receive the award, was recognized for her tireless work in helping veterans as well as her daily dedication to supporting her colleagues.
Hayes has not only been a dedicated nurse at Gwinnett Medical Center for several years, she has also helped staff the IMPACT program, a comprehensive perioperative medical assessment program for patients undergoing elective surgery. The program is designed to reduce the incidence of complications.
In her work with the IMPACT program, Hayes realized that a number of patients being referred were military veterans who were in great need emotionally and financially. Seeing these individuals inspired her to print professional-grade personalized certificates of appreciation to present to the veterans to show them how grateful she is for their military service. Many of these veterans had never received this type of gratitude and would break down in tears, overcome with emotion. Hayes was also concerned about some of the veterans’ living conditions, so, in addition to going out of her way to show her gratitude, she also prepared special bags, funded out of her own pocket, complete with toiletries and snacks to give to each of them.
Hayes’ kindness can also be seen in her actions toward the hospital staff. For one nurse whose husband was diagnosed with a debilitating form of cancer, she planned and organized a trip to Disneyworld. Hayes collected money to send the family on the trip and, when funds came up short, personally provided what was lacking. The nurse was able to have one last vacation of memories before beginning a hard journey of care for her husband.
In the community, Hayes volunteers as a qualified CPR instructor to keep the hospital’s requirements up to date. She was recently appointed to the board of directors for Creative Enterprises in Lawrenceville, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting adults with disabilities find employement.She is also a master gardener, and gives her time to help special needs adults grow their own gardens.
“Gayle Hayes is a selfless, inspiring individual who embodies every qualification of a hospital hero,” said Joe Parker, president of GHA. “She goes out of her way on a daily basis to give hospital patients, staff, and the entire community the care and compassion they need. She is a deserving recipient of this award.”
GHA’s Hospital Heroes Awards are presented every year to 10 individuals who display outstanding service to the health care field; in addition, one individual is presented with a Lifetime Achievement award, signifying at least 30 years of service.
Established in 1929, GHA is the state’s largest trade organization of hospitals and health systems providing education, research and risk management services to its 174 hospital and health system members. Additionally, it represents and advocates health policy issues benefiting Georgia’s citizens before the state legislature and U.S. Congress as well as before regulatory bodies.