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News | March 9, 2022

Medical surge nurse received Ruth Gardiner Award

By Brandy Ostanik-Thornton

Capt. Laura Hartford, a medical-surgical nurse assigned to the multi-service unit at Bassett Army Community Hospital, received the Ruth Gardiner Award for Medical Department Activity – Alaska for her nursing and leadership abilities.

“Capt. Hartford is an incredibly self-motivated, high performing Army Nurse Corps Officer,” said Maj. Timothy Verreault, multi-service unit officer in charge. “Her patients, peers and subordinates consistently praise her attitude and competence.”

Dedication to duty and her performance as both a floor and charge nurse, led to Hartford, who has been at Bassett ACH since 2019, being selected as interim clinical nurse officer in charge for the unit for seven months.

“Her outstanding leadership and attention to detail let to a successful mock The Joint Commission survey in September,” said Verreault.

Hartford is also credited for updating and assisting in the development of new policies for the unit.

According to Verreault, Hartford was instrumental in developing policy and procedures for the implementation of the Bassett ACH COVID-19 Expansion Plan. “Her insights led to a set of contingency policies that maximize Army resources while minimizing disruption during a radical shift of MEDDAC-AK assets.”

In addition to her nursing and leadership duties, Hartford also volunteers to assist with projects the unit undertakes, such as critical lab tracking to planning the Army Nurse Corps Birthday. She also has given up her off time to volunteer with the COVID vaccination program.

Capt. Hartford is currently preparing for Captain’s Career course and the Army Public Health Nurse course.

In preparation for the Army Public Health Nurse course, Hartford has been shadowing at Bassett ACH Public Health while balancing her duties on the multi-service unit.

“Hartford is the epitome of a well-rounded Army Nurse Corps officer,” said Verreault. “She is the future of the Army Nurse Corps and deserves the recognition of the Ruth Gardiner award.

The Ruth Gardiner Award was established in 1997 in memory of Lt. Ruth M. Gardiner, the first nurse to lose her life in a combat theater of operations during World War II. Gardiner was killed July 26, 1943 in an air crash while on a medical evacuation mission near Naknek, Alaska. During the prior 15 months, Gardiner served she was one of six air evacuation nurses in Alaska who compiled 350,000 air miles evacuating over 2,500 casualties.

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