St. Lucie Medical Center nurse Barbara Edwards was one of five employees recognized nationally during HCA’s Awards of Distinction ceremony held in Nashville June 8.

Edwards, a medical surgical nurse, received HCA’s Excellence in Nursing Award, which was established this year to honor outstanding HCA nurses who demonstrate excellence in professional mentoring and compassionate care.

The HCA Excellence in Nursing Awards include a $5,000 donation to the charity of the recipient’s choice and $5,000 in cash. Edwards and co-recipient Joanne Pryor of West Florida Hospital in Pensacola were the first two recipients of the awards.

“At HCA, our more than 56,000 nurses contribute directly to our mission of providing the highest quality care to the patients we serve,” said HCA senior vice president and chief nurse executive Dr. Jane Englebright. “We are excited to introduce the HCA Excellence in Nursing Awards, which honor the exceptional work done by our nurses. Barbara and JoAnne set a high standard as the first recipients of this award, and we look forward to recognizing more outstanding HCA nurses over the years to come.”

Edwards has worked at St. Lucie Medical Center for more than two decades. A press release issued by HCA said Edwards has worked to improve patient care and the patient experience by mentoring nurses, hosting workshops for new nursing graduates and serving as co-chair of the Nursing Quality Council. She is also an active community volunteer, working with the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Alzheimer’s Association and Making Strides Against Cancer.