NJ Nurse Wins Spirit of Hope Award

 In Nurses Weekly

On behalf of the Department of Defense, Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) presented the Spirit of Hope Award to a Sussex, New Jersey, native who dedicated service to caregivers of the Navy’s wounded, ill and injured, during a ceremony at Washington Navy Yard, Oct. 29.

Retired Navy nurse Capt. Virginia R. Beeson was bestowed the honor of receiving the 2021 Spirit of Hope Award for her contributions and support to the caregivers of the Navy’s Wounded Warrior program, which is managed by CNIC.

Established in 1997, the award is presented to individuals or organizations that embody the core values of Mr. Bob Hope, who gave generously to military men and women for five decades.

“She truly exemplifies the qualities of patriotism, generosity and selfless dedication to caregivers of the Navy’s wounded, ill and injured,” said Ed Cannon, director of CNIC’s Fleet & Family Readiness. “She has dedicated her time and talent to improving their quality of life by providing resources and facilitating discussions designed to support them in their caregiver role.”

After meeting a staff member from the Navy’s Wounded Warrior program, Beeson volunteered her time, expertise and efforts through several initiates in 2020 during the ongoing pandemic.

“The teamwork in Navy Medicine is unmatched by anything I’ve seen in the civilian world,” said Beeson. “How dedicated our military men and women are. The importance of serving your country. It’s never about ‘you.’ It’s always about serving other people, in my case, patients and staff.”

A few of Beeson’s significant contributions include:

  • Collaborating with Navy Safe Harbor Foundation to produce a webinar discussing communication skills to benefit Navy wounded warrior enrollees and caregivers, which remains posted on the Navy Safe Harbor Foundation website for availability of continuous learning.
  • Providing additional training sessions addressing mental health concerns of caregivers experiencing isolation as the pandemic persisted resulting in the establishment of a virtual Caregiver Coffee Break four-part initiative series with 16 enrollees and caregivers in attendance.
  • Conducting brainstorming sessions with Navy’s Wounded Warrior program and Navy Safe Harbor Foundation partners to develop a curriculum of new training topics by providing quality and relevant information, offer support, recommended resources and promote self-help and well-being for the caregiver population.
  • Teaching classes to caregivers for the Easter Seals Caregiver Program for two years, educating about 135 caregivers on communication, management, stress management and problem solving.

With more than 45 years of experience in health care, Beeson served as a Navy nurse for most of her career, a nurse manager, director of Navy Medicine’s Leadership Development Program and as the deputy director of the Navy Nurse Corps.

Beeson retired from the Navy in June 2003 as the chief nurse executive at The National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where she was lauded as the “Nurses’ Nurse” by staff.

“Whatever you do, give your very best,” said Beeson. “You can do anything you want to if you put your mind to it. Always do the right thing, even and especially when it’s hard. Never compromise on your values. Have fun at your work and make it fun for others.”

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