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Peru woman

PLATTSBURGH - After 35 years as a certified registered nurse, Deborah L. Bell of Peru is being recognized statewide for her hard work and dedication.

Bell, an employee of the Skilled Nursing Facility at CVPH Medical Center, was presented with the 2009 Long Term Care Employee of Distinction Award during a ceremony held Sept. 11. The award is presented to 16 employees across the state every year by the New York Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, based in Albany.

"We represent 585 not-for-profit and public providers of long-term care services all across the state," explained NYAHSA president Carl Young.

"The genesis of this award really is rooted in the challenge that we ... are finding in attracting people to our field," Young added. "Young people have so many more choices these days and it has become a real challenge for us to get people to come to the field and stay in our field."

"So many people here in this facility come to work every day, day in and day out, doing their jobs so incredibly well," said Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey, R-Peru. "With compassion and love and concern and an extremely high quality of care."

Bell began her career at CVPH as a floor nurse, eventually taking more "major" roles, including director of nursing on SNF.

"[I] finally just decided that my heart was really out there on the floor, which is where my people are, where my residents are, where their families are," explained Bell. "So, that's why I went back there, and I would not give it up for one minute."

"I would encourage everybody to be a nurse," added Bell. "Especially a nurse in long-term care. It can be frustrating, but it is truly one of the most rewarding professions and places to be in that I could ever imagine."

One way NYAHSA has worked to combat the problem was to bring attention "to the people who do the real work," and focus on the reward of working in long-term care.

"Nobody's going to get rich in our field, but there are rewards that you don't measure in dollars and cents," Young explained.

The winners of the award are decided upon by the state Assembly, Senate, and numerous other organizations and committees across the state.

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