Celebrate National Nurse Appreciation Week With KenCrest


This year, KenCrest recognizes the incredible, hardworking nurses who go above and beyond to help the people we serve. 

By Sydney Kerelo

National Nurse Appreciation Week kicks off May 6-12th, honoring and recognizing all the incredible nurses around the United States. For the past few years, nurses have undergone extreme fatigue, stress, and so much more, and this year, we want to share our appreciation for all they do.

National Nurse Appreciation Week has been honoring our hardworking medical care specialists since 1953, according to NursingWorld.org. During this time, Dorothy Sutherland of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare sent President Eisenhower a proposal to proclaim Nurse Day in October. He never made the proclamation, but the following year, National Nurse Week was observed from October 11-16 during the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea.

This happened in 1854 when Florence Nightingale brought a team of 38 volunteer nurses to care for British soldiers fighting the Crimean War. According to the National Library of Medicine, Nightingale and her nurses supplied the wounded and dying soldiers with fresh linens, clean shirts, plates, knives, etc. She believed the soldiers were dying from unclean conditions, so she took matters into her own hands by cleaning the kitchens, bringing food from England, flushing out the sewers, and improving ventilation.

It wasn't until 1974 that the International Council of Nurses (ICN) proposed that National Nurses Week begin each year on May 6th and end on May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

Several nurses at KenCrest deserve recognition for their hard work, dedication, and passion in supporting individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

As nurse Liaison for KenCrest’s Supported Independent Living and Lifesharing programs, Jodi Bliss brings more than just her nursing experience to the table—she brings a well of pep and joy. She will dress up in wacky costumes and visit the homes of those she supports to make them smile.

As nurse House Manager for a KenCrest Community Medical Home, Joyce Benfield decorates the home for every season, holiday, and special event so that residents feel comfortable and loved.

“To be a nurse at KenCrest, you have to be open to the idea of disabilities and know that it’s a different world than a skilled nursing facility,” says Bliss. “You must be adaptable, but it’s so worth it when a client opens up and you get to know their personality. It’s incredible to see them never give up and always be willing to be themselves.”

Jenny Doyle with an individual she serves
Kate Brown with a child she serves
Joyce Benfield with an individual she serves

This year, to honor our amazing nurses at KenCrest, we created a list of astounding staff members who have outdone themselves to help the people we support.

"All the nurses we have on staff shine bright! They all go above and beyond to make our program special. Whether it’s picking up extra shifts, helping to get the children to their routine medical appts, doing family training, buying clothes or toys for the children, or making birthdays extra special, the list could go on and on," says KenCrest Care Coordinator Kate Brown.

These are a few of the incredible nurses on staff at KenCrest. Below, we recognize the nurses who deserve recognition this year.

  • Bernadette Abdill
  • Keesha Allen
  • Georgette Anthony
  • Pati Babik
  • Stella Banda
  • Rhonda Bealer
  • Bette Bellville
  • Joyce Benfield
  • Cammie Benford
  • Anisa Bey
  • Becky Bisbort
  • Tia Blake
  • Jodi Bliss
  • Rebecca Boyer
  • Dorothea Brenner
  • Sharon Brown
  • Kate Brown
  • Toni Camac
  • Sharon Carney
  • Dana Carter
  • Valerie Chadwick
  • Valerie Chrisman
  • LaCora Clayton
  • Sharnae Clement
  • Cynthia Coleman
  • Ta’Shaia Coleman
  • Breanna Conti
  • Erica Contreras
  • Debra Cooper
  • Lita Daniels
  • Heather Davis-Stukes
  • Abigail DeAngeles
  • Luis DeJesus
  • Jennifer Doyle
  • Latifah Elliott
  • Triscia Felty
  • Nicole Floyd
  • Theresa Frederick
  • Noreen Furda
  • Jennifer Gardner
  • Alesha Gaus
  • Deborah Grater
  • Colleen Greevy
  • Stephanie Griffin
  • Susan Hagerich
  • Shanee Hayles
  • Karen Headerty-Lopez
  • Adrienne Henley
  • Adrienne Hughes
  • Ellen Iwer
  • Bridgett King-Grayson
  • Chrstina Koch
  • Roy Kohr
  • Christina Kremer
  • Susan Kronberger
  • Carolyn Kulp
  • Patricia Kupris
  • Claudette Lawrence-Simpson
  • Linda Leroux
  • Lynn Lu
  • Marquita Mack
  • Scott Major
  • Wendy Malkiel
  • Rebeca Marti
  • Amie Mastrocola
  • Darlene Matta
  • Genevieve Matuszewski
  • Stephan Matuszewski
  • Michele McCarney
  • Jennifer Miller
  • Jen Miller
  • Donna Miller
  • Sarah Morrow
  • Linda Murell
  • Russell Myers
  • Naomi Njenga
  • Muslin Nousenga
  • Sharonda Oberlton
  • Alexia Ott
  • Beth Overmier
  • Miriam Panyangara
  • Axita Patel
  • Jeanelte Polite-Thomas
  • Michele Ranson
  • Janai Robinson
  • Patricia Rooney
  • Rukiya Rowe
  • Maura Rubendall
  • Jannell Schera
  • Stephanie Scott
  • Kareema Sherfield
  • Kate Shipton
  • Erika Shulkusky
  • Aziza Sidig
  • Kim Sterling
  • Tracey Sutton-Vitabile
  • Felecia Tanner
  • Sheneed Tucker
  • Regina Wade
  • Joanna Wah
  • Mitzie Walker
  • Laurie Weston
  • Tara Woods

How will you celebrate the special nurse in your life this week? Email Aubrey Hoffert, KenCrest's Digital Media Manager at Aubrey.Hoffert@KenCrest.org, a picture of how you are celebrating!