Spirit of Excellence Award: Acute Care Registered Nurse of the Year

Each year, Spirit of Excellence Awards are presented by our parent company, Amedisys, to select employees who demonstrate exceptional caregiving support to the field and display Amedisys’ core values, which include service, passion, integrity, respect, innovation and talent. 

Our 2023 Acute Care Registered Nurse of the Year Award was presented to Lawon Gardner, BSN, RN, an Acute Care Registered Nurse (ACRN) and Clinical Supervisor supporting our Recovery Care at Home program at Mount Sinai Health System in New York. Here are some of the wonderful things Lawon’s colleagues said about her in their nominations in support of her:   

Lawon is clinically focused but is willing to step back and look at the whole picture, not just the medical concerns. Lawon is willing to take that extra time to explore what is going to work and is willing to adjust her time to accommodate patient needs.” 

Lawon as a supervisor goes over and beyond in her job performance. She is always available to assist the ACRNs out in the field to provide quality care to patients in the comfort of their homes. She is always available to assist as needed, you can reach her at all times of day to address any question or concerns one may have, and if she doesn’t have the answers, she will contact necessary personnel to make sure we are provided with the answers.”

“Lawon is transparent, extremely hard working, communicates well and respectfully, is supportive, very good at what she does, has an expansive knowledge base, and is an overall transformational leader.”

We are proud to spotlight Lawon’s achievements in this role, and we asked her to share a little more about herself and her day-to-day work as an ACRN. 

What do you do at Contessa, and why did you choose this job? 

I am an Acute Care Registered Nurse, providing acute and specialized medical attention to patients with acute and/or chronic illness or injuries via the hospital at home program. I chose this job because I was drawn to the challenging nature of health care in acute and critical situations. This motivates me to excel in this demanding yet rewarding field of work. 

What’s unique about this role and what is special about Contessa?  

The most unique aspect of being an ACRN lies in the ability to adapt to unpredictable and rapidly changing situations. My role demands a dynamic skill set and capacity for quick decision-making, and working with this joint venture of Contessa and Mount Sinai holds special appeal due to its innovative approach to healthcare delivery. Contessa focuses on providing acute care services in home settings, embracing the concept of “hospital at home.”

This unique model allows healthcare professionals, including nurses, to deliver high-quality care in the comfort of patients’ homes, enhancing the patient experience and promoting a more personalized approach to treatment. The emphasis on blending traditional healthcare with the convenience and familiarity of home settings makes Contessa a distinctive and forward-thinking workplace in the healthcare industry. 

Tell us about you! What is your educational and job background? 

My nursing journey was somewhat of a late start — my mom passed away at 46 years of age, and due to her untimely death, as the eldest I had family responsibilities such as the raising of my younger sibling. Prior to her hospitalization my father asked me and my siblings what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I immediately stated, “I want to be a nurse.” So the journey began as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in Charlotte NC, then as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in New York City at Bellevue Hospital, and last but definitely not least, as an RN-ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) and finally RN-BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). 

Outside of work, what are your favorite things to do? 

My favorite thing to do outside of work is researching my family history. It allows me to connect with my roots and understand the stories that shaped my ancestors’ lives. Discovering their triumphs, their challenges, and the traditions of my family’s journey through time adds a meaningful layer to my own narrative, creating a sense of continuity and appreciation for the legacy passed down through generations.    

Thanks, Lawon, for sharing your talents and passion for caregiving with your patients, their families and the Contessa team! We are grateful for the care and attention you and other ACRNs like you contribute to advancing healthcare at home.