Patricia Reed of Saratoga Springs has been named the 2011 Nurse Practitioner of the Year by the Capital Chapter of the Nurse Practitioner Association.
Reed was chosen for her work in health care reform, her service to the community and her work as a mentor for other nurse practitioners, said Jeanne Millett, secretary of the 250-member chapter.
“It’s a very prestigious award, and it comes from your peers, so that’s always the best,” Millett said.
Reed, who received the award in December, said she was surprised and awed by the honor.
“It’s something that is so unique, to be recognized by your colleagues for such an award. It really is amazing,” she said.
Reed became a nurse in 1963 and went on to earn a master’s degree in nursing from the Teachers College of Columbia University. In the 1990s, she completed a post-master’s program at Binghamton University as a nurse practitioner specializing in gerontology — the scientific study of the aging process.
During her career, Reed worked in clinical practice, hospital administration, nursing education, home care and primary care. She worked as a nurse practitioner at the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, in home- and community-based primary care programs and was also vice president for nursing at Albany Medical Center.
Throughout her career, she advocated for the integrity of the nursing profession.
“The old model of the nurse as a handmaid of the doctor, that may have some history to it, but the role of nursing in the modern world is certainly one of a profession in its own right, [which] contributes significantly to the health and well-being of our community,” she said.
Reed worked as a hospital nurse for 25 years and then for 25 more years focused her efforts on working with more ambulatory patients, in the home care arena.
“That’s basically where our health care system is headed anyway, is keeping people healthy rather than just working with taking care of sick people,” she said.
One highlight of Reed’s career was participating in Project L.E.A.R.N. BSN, a program established by Albany Medical Center in collaboration with the former Regents College. The program enabled working nurses to continue their education.
“Nurses are really a very competent, capable bunch of people and really, in my opinion, can do anything, and it was very rewarding to help people move on and be able to be recognized for the knowledge and skills that they had,” she said.
Looking back on her career, Reed hopes people will remember the work she did to bolster the nursing profession.
“Nursing is an absolutely fantastic career because you can do so many different things. There are so many opportunities, and you do not need to start at the bottom all the time, like if you change careers,” she said.
Opportunities for nurses are available in home care, visiting nursing, private offices, education, administration, clinical practice and research, she noted.
“I had the good fortune to be able to do a lot of those things,” Reed said.
And she enjoyed every one of them.
“You know, if you love what you do, it’s not hard,” she said.
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