Nurse practitioner (NP) Emily Comstock and registered nurse (RN) Yolanda Flores of VA Maryland Healthcare are shining examples of the dedication and professionalism of VA nurses – star nurses in anyone’s book.

The Washington Post and the American Nursing Association (ANA) recognize them as “Star Nurses.”

The organizations selected Comstock and Flores from hundreds of nurses from the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia areas.

“Star Nurses” can be RNs or advanced practice RNs. These nurses stand out for their strong clinical, administrative and academic skills. They are recognized for their compassionate care for the whole person, exceptional collaborative skills and positive impact on life, community and family.

“Emily Comstock (pictured above) is an amazing clinician,” said Camilla Rose James, a co-worker. “She’s a highly skilled asset to the infectious disease team and the VA organization.”

Dedication extends to advocating for the underserved

Comstock has made her mark at the VA Medical Center in Baltimore and on the national level at VA. She serves as an infectious disease NP. She is also the National HIV Testing and Care Quality Improvement lead for HIV, Hepatitis and Related Conditions programs.

Her dedication extends to advocating for the rights of the underserved and vulnerable among us as a volunteer for her local community at the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital. She is an Asylum Network member, an organization that advocates for human rights.

Respect from colleagues and patients alike

Yolanda Flores has been taking care of Veterans at VA for over 27 years and is currently coordinating the hepatitis C clinic in the Infectious Disease Department.

Yolanda Flores coordinates activities at the hepatitis C clinic.

James said that “Yolanda’s years of experience have brought her the wisdom and expertise of strong clinical skills, demonstrated excellence in nursing care and unending respect from her colleagues and patients alike.”

Excels at COVID-19 challenges

Flores has mastered the art of patient-centered care. She excels at meeting challenges and finding paths forward in the most difficult of circumstances – for both her colleagues and patients. This is important especially during the COVID-19 pandemic where challenges, fear and frustration are a constant for many Veterans and their families.

Flores organized transportation for an isolated Veteran to complete a hepatitis C evaluation after years of no treatment. She even helped the reluctant Veteran by answering questions, easing fears and making him feel comfortable prior to seeing his provider. Her compassion extended to anonymously providing a meal voucher for the Veteran.

During this National Nurses Week, we thank you, Emily Comstock and Yolanda Flores, for your exceptional dedication to Veteran health care. And thank you, VA nurses, for your tireless dedication every day to caring for America’s Veterans. You are all superstars to those you serve.

Michelle Spivak is a communications specialist with the VHA Office of Communications. Scott Ballard is a program analyst for the VHA Office of Nursing Service.

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Published on May. 9, 2021

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