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Eileen P. Williamson, RN, MSN, Nurse.com senior vice president and CNE, presented Paula R. Graling, RN, DNP, CNOR, CNS, clinical nurse specialist, perioperative services, Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, Falls Church, Va., with a 2013 Nurse.com national GEM award on Nov. 20 at the Inova facility.

Surrounded by family, friends and colleagues at the facility reception, Graling said, “I am thrilled and humbled to receive this award, and I am so proud to be a nurse. When I accept this award today, I feel as though I am representing the perioperative specialty and making our work for patient safety more visible.”

Williamson surprised Graling with an engraved crystal GEM award and a framed Nurse.com cover featuring her as the nursing excellence winner in the Advancing and Leading category. Williamson also presented Maureen Swick, RN, PhD, senior vice president and COO, Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, and CNE, Inova, with a hospital plaque recognizing the facility as one that can boast a Nurse.com GEM national winner. Swick praised Graling as a true nurse of excellence at Inova and a valued colleague.

“Paula is a most worthy recipient, and one who is respected and admired for all that she has accomplished in her outstanding career. I am honored to be here to officially name Paula as one of our 2013 national winners,” Williamson said.

Graling works with a staff of more than 500 RNs, technologists, assistants and administrative and sterile processing personnel who care for both inpatient and ambulatory, pediatric and adult: general, cardiac, thoracic, urologic, plastic, gynecologic, transplant and other specialty surgical patients.

Graling said that by recognizing nursing excellence, the contributions of individuals and the difference those contributions make to patients, families and colleagues can be publicly acknowledged.

She hopes her award will inspire others who want to pursue or continue to develop a career in nursing.

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