On May 13, the 2024 McKnight’s Women of Distinction Forum and Awards were held in Chicago, and it was a wonderful way to celebrate some outstanding professionals. A certain NFL kicker would have done well to be there and soak up some wisdom and fortitude.

The event celebrates outstanding women who have made a significant contribution in their careers to the field of senior care. 

There were five categories: Lifetime Achievement, Hall of Honor Inductees, Veteran VIP Inductees (I was one of those honored), Rising Stars and Spirit Award Winners.  Go here for full descriptions of the honorees.

Can you imagine an evening dedicated to honoring women who have dedicated their lives to the service of senior care? It was quite unlike the Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, who recently gave a controversial college graduation commencement address

He addressed the ladies first by congratulating them and then telling them that they had had the most diabolical lies told to them related to careers, promotions and titles. He then said that he would venture to guess that the majority of them were most excited about marriage and the children they would bring into this world and that his wife’s life started when she “began living her life as a wife and mother.” (And I thought the Neanderthals died out about 40,000 years ago!)

Well, I am here to tell you that, as a woman, you can have the career and the family or make whatever decision you want, and you can still be living your best life. And please do not misunderstand me: A woman who wants to dedicate her life as a wife and mother is honorable. It is a very hard job, but it isn’t the only life choice. 

My life began as a nursing assistant while in nursing school. And yes, I was a wife and mother as my career blossomed and I began fulfilling my promise to my late grandmother, the one I made to her at her funeral: that I would make it my life’s mission to bring positive changes in long-term care to both the residents and those who served them. I am so grateful to McKnight’s for honoring all these amazing women who do it all. 

So, no, Harrison, my life didn’t begin when I got married and had babies (which, yes, was a blessing), but it also became meaningful when God put it into my soul to dedicate my life to senior care. 

And the wonderful people at McKnight’s created an event to honor that. So, thank you for a wonderful night and for acknowledging that women devoted to senior care are living their best lives ever!

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC, and an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real-life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, a 2024 McKnight’s VIP Woman of Distinction award winner, and an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.

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