Letters to the Editor

Celebrate nurses this week

Nurses Week is time to reflect upon the significant contributions and crucial impact that nurses have on health and healing. Nurses are serving in a vast array of roles across many settings, as direct care clinicians, researchers, case managers, prehospital care providers, infection prevention specialists, educators, leaders, policy advocates, informatics experts and countless in other specialty roles. While nurses may be highlighted for the softer skills they bring to care, it’s coupling the caring skills with the knowledge, science and skill that make their contribution so unique.

Recently, Gallup published survey results demonstrating that Americans once again rated nurses the highest for honesty and ethical standards. The profession has topped the Gallup list every year since 1999 (except for 2001 when firefighters earned that slot after September 11.)

There are nearly 1,800 nurses and advanced practice nurses practicing at the University of Vermont Medical Center and they contribute each and every day to high-quality patient outcomes. Our nurses are the center point of interprofessional care teams and provide an essential role as advocates for patients and their families. They are practicing in complex environments with sophisticated technology and must remain competent with the latest evidenced-based care approaches.

Our nurses continue to lead efforts that assure patient and family-centered care practices are implemented so patients experience the highest quality outcomes and that assure patients and families are partners in care.

I am deeply honored to serve with the dedicated and exemplary nurses and nurse faculty of UVM Medical Center and the UVM College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Remember this week to give thanks to the nurses who have touched your lives.

Kate FitzPatrick, DNP, RN
Chief Nursing Officer
UVM Medical Center, Burlington

Mental health awareness in May

In Vermont, approximately 23,000 adults and 6,000 youth and teenagers face serious mental illness, and one in five Vermonters deal with mental illness. In 2013, President Obama proclaimed May as National Mental Health Awareness Month and now each May the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Vermont (NAMI Vermont) joins the nation in bringing the issue of mental health to the forefront. Each year, we fight to end stigma, provide support and educate the public on mental illness. Each year, the movement grows stronger.

NAMI Vermont’s advocacy goal is to ensure youth and adults with mental illness receive the right care at the right time and in the right place to experience lives of resiliency, recovery and inclusion. Most people living with mental illness can lead fulfilling, productive lives, but only if they have access to treatment. We want to share the message that there is hope and recovery is possible.

NAMI Vermont offers free support groups and mental health education in communities all over the state. The NAMI Family Support is a monthly meeting for family members, partners and friends of individuals living with a mental illness and meets on the third Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Community Health Center’s Mt. Mansfield Conference Room on Riverside Avenue in Burlington. Our Connection Recovery Support Group is a weekly peer-led support group for people living with a mental health condition and meets every Thursday at 3 p.m. at St. Paul’s Cathedral, on Cherry Street in Burlington. There are also free Family-to-Family seminars for families, partners and friends of individuals living with mental illness and “Our Own Voice” is a new educational program in which peers share their stories of illness and their road to recovery. Request a presentation or learn more at or contact us at 876-7949.

Laurie Emerson,
Executive Director
National Alliance on
Mental Illness Vermont

Frogs, fun and fellowship

For three generations, our family has enjoyed being in the Williston town green on the 4th of July making sure local frogs had the opportunity to prove they were the best jumpers in the country.

When I started the contest, more than 20 years ago, I did it because I wanted children to learn how to have fun with nothing. A piece of string, a patch of grass and a frog.

The rewards over the years for our family have been wonderful. For me personally, seeing the smile on that little girl’s face after she won a blue ribbon with a frog no bigger that her little finger will always be with me.

Now that our family has grown to include teenagers, college students and a wonderful 5- year-old granddaughter in Alaska, it is time for us to enjoy the 4th of July in different places while experiencing new and interesting adventures. My granddaughter wants “Papa to see, ‘Her Parade.’”

I wish to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to my family and the people of Williston for their many years of support and encouragement.

“May Your Frogs Always Be Jumping”

Bill Skiff
Frog master, Williston