Pictured: Whitney Howell, Tom Calabro, Shaknequa Pleas Valdosta, Ga. – Three exceptional nurses at South Georgia Medical Center have been nominated for the Georgia March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Awards. Shaknequa Pleas, Tom Calabro and Whitney Howell were selected by their peers based on clinical excellence and leadership competencies. Pleas is a patient care coordinator on 5-West, a busy medical oncology unit. She is known as a true patient advocate always placing her patients’ wellbeing and safety in the forefront. Her positive attitude and passion for nursing has a constructive impact on her coworkers and patients. Calabro is director of critical care nursing. He demonstrates an ongoing commitment to patient safety and quality which is evidenced by his initiation of a nursing residency program and interdisciplinary patient rounding. His can-do attitude is demonstrated daily in his activities with patients and staff. Howell is a nurse in Pediatrics. Her energy and willingness to learn new things has earned her the rising star nomination. She is known for her compassionate patient care and warm, friendly smile. Howell willingly helps out on other units often working extra shifts to meet the needs of the units. Through the Nurse of the Year Awards, the March of Dimes recognizes nurses who demonstrate exceptional patient care, compassion, and service to improve the health of Georgia residents. SGMC’s Interim Chief Nurse Executive Cherise Giddens said, “These nurses exemplify the best of the best. It is an honor to work with them every day and see how their love for the profession of nursing benefits their patients, patients’ families and peers.” The awards will be presented at a gala event on November 1 in Atlanta.