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St. Mary’s nurse receives national hospice & palliative care award

Athens, Ga., June 12, 2018 – Petti-Jeanne Sheldon, RN, CHPN, Palliative Care Coordinator for St. Mary’s Health Care System, recently received the 2018 Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse of the Year Award at the national assembly of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine/Hospice and Palliative Nurse Association (HPNA) in Boston.

St. Mary's Palliative Care Coordinator Petti-Jeanne Sheldon
St. Mary’s Palliative Care Coordinator Petti-Jeanne Sheldon, center, displays the Nurse of the Year award presented to her at the Annual Assembly of the American Association of Hospice and Palliative Medicine/Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association in Boston. She is posing with, from left to right: Sandra Lee Schafer, Director of Credentialing HPCC/HNPA; Sally Welsh, HPNA CEO; Donna Morgan, past president of HPNA; and Maria Gatto, Trinity Health System Director Palliative Care.

Sheldon was honored for her role in advancing palliative care in Georgia, the Southeast, and nationwide. In addition to her patient care and administrative roles at St. Mary’s, she serves as the HPNA’s Southern Atlantic District Leader over Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia, and is a member of the Trinity Health palliative care team, which serves patients at some 93 Trinity Health hospitals and 120 continuing care locations – including home care, senior living, and hospice facilities – in 22 states.

“This has been a humbling experience for me,” Sheldon said. “To be nominated by colleagues I admire and who inspire me has left me speechless. It was a wonderful celebration and to be greeted by colleagues from across the nation made it extra special. I left feeling recharged and excited about sharing ideas with my team and colleagues.”

“All of us at St. Mary’s are very proud of Petti-Jeanne,” said St. Mary’s President and CEO Montez Carter. “The impact she has had on palliative care at St. Mary’s, across the state of Georgia, and throughout the nationwide Trinity Health ministry cannot be overstated. Our whole St. Mary’s family extends our thanks and congratulations to her.”

“I am thrilled by this tremendous leadership award to honor Petti-Jeanne,” said Maria Gatto, Trinity Health System Director of Palliative Care and one of Sheldon’s nominators. “Petti-Jeanne’s profession is not contained within the four walls of an institution but is a calling to serve humankind. Her work is not what she does, but who she is. Her heart, soul and expertise has mentored countless other programs and provided education to hundreds of providers to improve the bedside care of thousands of patients and families today, and untold generations of the future.”

Palliative medicine is specialized care for people living with serious illness. It focuses on providing relief from symptoms and stress. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and their family by providing an additional layer of emotional, psychological and spiritual support. It is appropriate at any age or stage of a serious illness, and can be provided along with curative treatment.

Sheldon is a member of the Georgia Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Education Committee and serves on the working group of the Georgia Cancer Control Consortium (GC3), a statewide, volunteer, grassroots organization that successfully worked with the state government to create the Georgia Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council in 2016.

Particularly outstanding to Sheldon’s nominators is her leadership in improving palliative care at a statewide level. The efforts of the GC3 work group and more than a dozen partnering organizations led to the passage of Georgia House Bill 509, which went into effect July 1, 2016. The law created the Georgia Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council to provide advice about state palliative care initiatives. It also established a consumer and professional education program to provide information about palliative care to the public, health care providers and health care facilities.

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