Freeman Health System celebrates nurses with gala

Oct. 7—The seventh annual Freeman Health System Nursing Gala took place Sept. 29, celebrating and honoring nurses as the lifeblood of the Joplin hospital system.

The gala was an opportunity for nurses to meet and mingle away from the stresses of their jobs. Dinner was served, and goodie bags were handed out; entertainment was provided by the Passing Zone, a comedy-juggling duo featured on "America's Got Talent."

"It allowed us to get the department together outside work and enjoy each other's company," registered nurse Jessica Maynard said.

Many of the nurses who had received Daisy Awards throughout the year were named and honored during the ceremony, which took place at Downstream Casino Resort. Daisy Awards celebrate the compassionate care displayed daily by nurses, who are nominated by physicians, staff, volunteers and even their patients.

"Our department was able to have fun, be together and relax, especially after a trying last couple of years," registered nurse Lorraina Porter said.

More than $55,000 was raised from sponsorships and ticket sales this year, said Freeman's Kayleigh Sewell. Proceeds benefit the Freeman Nursing Education Fund, which provides registered nurses the opportunity to advance their education and knowledge in the profession through financial assistance and support for certifications, advanced degrees and advanced job-related training.

"I feel deeply honored to be receiving funds from the Nursing Education Fund, not only because my hard work is paying off, but also because Freeman Health System sees me and believes in me," said Whitney Veri, a registered nurse. "It is evident to me, by receiving these funds, that Freeman is putting forth great effort to continue investing in me — not only now but also in my future."

Freeman officials have awarded $138,198 in scholarships to 119 nurses since 2014.