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New Jersey gala night honors FilAm health workers

Don Tagala | TFC News New Jersey

Posted at Mar 31 2023 06:01 PM

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Filipino nurses in New Jersey were recognized for going above and beyond duty during a recently held gala night.

"It's a celebration of life," said Jackie Baras of the Philippine Nurses Association in New Jersey. "We owe it to you for all your sacrifice, for being out there taking care of not only those who are sick but your family as well and all those who are in need."

The PNANJ also recognized individual nurses and groups of nurses for their outstanding work as care providers.

Among the honorees was the Gambito family, whose service and contribution to the profession were deemed worthy of the Distinguished Nursing Practice Award. 

"They are a family of nurses," said Baras. That speaks a lot and yet we fail to recognize the importance. It is really our honor to present this award to the family."  
The Nurse Advocate of the Year award, meanwhile, was given to Felix Rivera Jr. 

His testimony before the New Jersey State Assembly helped pass a piece of critical legislation dealing with surgical smoke that Governor Phil Murphy signed on March 13. 

The law mandates certain health care facilities to implement policies aimed at preventing exposure to surgical smoke through a smoke evacuation system.

"Every time we do surgery, we always get into the smoke," Rivera said. "You cannot do surgery without using the cauterization to stop the bleeding. Every time you use the cautery, there is smoke, so yung smoke na 'yon, ini-evacuate na namin."

For many nurses, the gala night also served as a break from the daily grind, after years of uncertainty from the pandemic.