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Monday, October 25, 2010 - Local Nurse Wins National Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award - Honored for her innovative pet therapy program

(VINELAND, NJ), Oct. 19, 2010 —As the assistant nurse manager of the cardiac ICU and cardiac SDU at South Jersey Healthcare (SJH), Samantha Abate is strongly committed to providing excellence on behalf of her patients and the nursing profession. Because of her noble efforts to make specialty certification accessible to nurses and her work with pet therapy and congestive heart failure (CHF) patients, Abate is one of just four recipients nationwide to receive the 2010 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. 
Believing that patients benefit from nurses who are nationally certified in their specialty, Abate created a program, on her own time, that successfully prepares registered nurses to earn their national certification in progressive care nursing.   She is also being saluted for her innovative research project demonstrating that CHF patients are willing to exercise more frequently when pet therapy is integrated into their treatment plan.  The value of this research is emphasized by the fact that her findings have been presented to multiple prestigious audiences and are awaiting publication.

“Samantha Abate’s innovative approach to providing compassionate care to patients, while at the same time demonstrating her love for animals, is making an important impact on patients’ lives.  She is looking beyond the traditional boundaries of healthcare and demonstrating the power that a person with a vision can have,” says Wendell Mobley, who directs Cherokee Uniforms’ charitable and scholarship programs.

The award is granted by Cherokee Uniforms as a way of recognizing the caring work of nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals, who provide exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation, while positively impacting others’ lives. This is the eighth year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers.    

Abate was nominated by Bruce Boxer, nursing quality/magnet program director at South Jersey Healthcare. He explains, “Animals are one of Samantha’s passions. And pet therapy is the perfect combination of her dedication to animal rescue and her devotion to nursing.”
As the Grand Prize Winner, Abate receives an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two; a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Cherokee Footwear worth more than $1,000; a $500 donation in her name to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation; a crystal Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy; a 14K gold-plated commemorative pin and a year’s subscription to Scrubs, the nation’s first lifestyle magazine for nurses.

But it is the challenge of discovering new ways to improve patient care that gives Abate her true reward.  “Nursing is always changing and there is always something new to explore. I cannot think of anything more inspiring than knowing that you can potentially change practices across the country!” she says.   

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 9,000 healthcare professionals have been nominated across the various nursing and non-physician disciplines. A panel of Cherokee representatives and past Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award recipients evaluates nominations and grants the awards.

For every nomination, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1.00 to Nurse’s House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship.  Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2011 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1 through May 31, 2011. For further information on the award, please visit or receive updates on Twitter- @InspiredComfort.