25-year hospital veteran ‘crowned’ Nurse of the Year | SierraSun.com

25-year hospital veteran ‘crowned’ Nurse of the Year

Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra Sun Elizabeth "Betsy" Watson is crowned "Nurse of the Year" by last year's title holder, Alyce Wong.

While it’s obvious from speaking with Elizabeth “Betsy” Watson that she loves her job as an Emergency Room nurse at Tahoe Forest Hospital, it is also clear that many other people at the hospital love the job that she does.

Watson, who was crowned the 2004 Nurse of the Year on Wednesday, has spent the last 25 years nursing for various departments in the hospital, and, according to her peers, has left an indelible mark wherever she has gone.

Interim Chief Nursing Officer Ann Holmes-Delforge, who spoke at the award presentation, said, “Betsy really set the bar for nursing; and I think she just really encouraged us to go beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary. She’s leaving us a great legacy.”

And with tears in her eyes, Holmes-Delforge added, “She’s extraordinary. She’s done so much in this facility, and just has a good heart and is a great person.”

Watson’s peers, including the other 15 nominees for the 2004 Nurse of the Year award, stood and cheered as she accepted a bouquet and plaque from hospital CEO Bob Schapper and an honorary crown bestowed by the 2003 Nurse of the Year, Alyce Wong.

Schapper congratulated all of the nurses on the hospital’s staff, and especially those nominated for the Nurse of the Year award.

“One of the reasons that this hospital, over the last two years, has been ranked by patients as one of the best hospitals in California, is because of you guys,” he said. “I can honestly tell you that I have never worked, nor been around, a more inspired, passionate, caring group of nurses in my whole 30-plus-year career.”

The Nurse of the Year award is voted on by a panel of past winners, with nominations taken from patients, doctors and other staff members. The program has been in place since 1990 at Tahoe Forest Hospital, and winners have often been looked upon as role models for other hospital employees.

The awards ceremony is scheduled to coincide with the beginning of National Nurses Week, which runs through May 12.

Watson, upon hearing her name called as the Nurse of the Year, was honored and grateful for the recognition.

“I’ve worked here for 25 years and this place is the best place to work,” she said. “I think it’s quite an honor to be Nurse of the Year.”

And what has kept her at Tahoe Forest Hospital for those 25 years?

“The people, the patients, the quality care that we’re able to give. This is a really wonderful place to work, to grow, to be accepted for who you are . . . it’s a great place to work.”

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