After a 30-year career in the construction industry, most people would be ready for retirement. Or at least a less challenging lifestyle. But Ed Cook, RN-BC, holds a different outlook than most people.
Cook felt called to become a nurse when he left construction. He graduated in June 2012 from the Medical Careers Institute in Virginia Beach, about two months before his 57thbirthday. Next, he passed the NCLEX exam, becoming an RN in July 2012. After short stints at a nursing home and hospital, Cook wanted a more fulfilling nursing opportunity.
He interviewed with The Barry Robinson Center (BRC) in September 2014 and joined the nursing team the next month. At BRC, caring for children and teens, he found the fulfillment missing from his past positions. Since then, he’s progressed through his brief nursing career and committed to enhancing his knowledge. Earlier this year, Cook passed the American Nurses Credentialing Center exam for board certification as a psychiatric nurse.
And most recently, Cook became the first BRC recipient of the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. The DAISY Award is a highly regarded recognition program found in more than 3,900 healthcare facilities and nursing schools in all 50 states and 22 countries.
An acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune SYstem, The DAISY Foundation was formed in 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes. Barnes died at age 33 of complications from an auto-immune disease. The nursing care Barnes received profoundly touched his family.
“Our goal was to ensure that nurses know how deserving they are of our society’s profound respect for the education, training, brainpower, and skill they put into their work, and especially for the caring with which they deliver their care,” said Patrick’s father, Mark Barnes.
Anyone in a participating organization – patients, family members, other nurses, physicians, and staff – can nominate a nurse who provides extraordinary compassionate care.
“I was happy to hear I’m the first recipient of the DAISY award at BRC,” Cook said. “One of the things that made me happiest was knowing a peer had nominated me. It’s nice to know at least one peer (and I suspect several others) recognizes and appreciates how I perform my work.”
Cook is a night shift nurse, typically covering three dorms, for younger residents and adolescent girls. His responsibilities include performing chart checks, writing reports for the next day, receiving night medication deliveries, updating growth charts, and passing morning medications. He also creates the night nurses’ schedule, and helping the nurse managers in any way he can.
“The most enjoyment I get from my work is when the children greet me, call me by name, ask for a side hug, and/or seem legitimately happy to see me,’ Cook said. “I strongly believe I’ve had a positive influence on most, if not all, of the children I have served in the past five years.”
With an eye to the future, Cook said he would like to work another six years, retiring from BRC at age 70.
“Of course, this plan is dependent on my health remaining good for that long. I sincerely hope God grants me continuing health so that, with His help, I can bring this plan to fruition,” he said.