2015 Section Challenge Winner, Valerie Huwe

“I was delightfully surprised,” said Valerie Huwe, RNC, MS, CNS, when she learned that she was the recipient of a complimentary registration to the AWHONN 2015 Annual Convention, held in Long Beach, California. The prize was awarded to the California Section, under the leadership of Section Chair Dodi Gauthier, for raising the most in donations to Every Woman, Every Baby through the annual Section Challenge. Every Woman, Every Baby is AWHONN’s charitable giving program. Funds raised support professional development of AWHONN members, research to improve nursing practice and patient care, and education and activities promoting the health of women and newborns. The Section Challenge also awards a complimentary registration to the Section with the greatest participation rate based on a percentage of their total Section membership, which this year went to the Oregon Section.

“(The award) certainly made it easier to go to the convention, but I would have gone regardless,” said Huwe.  “It really isn’t like any other nursing conference in the world.  There is something amazing about being with 3,000 other perinatal nurses and learning about recent evidence based practice guidelines and research findings. You’re inspired, educated, and re-energized.  Every year, I return back to work feeling refreshed, with new insight, and reenergized.”

An AWHONN member since 2006, Huwe is a Perinatal Outreach Educator with the University of California San Francisco Children’s Hospital Outreach Program.  She attended her first Convention in 2008 after she received the Petersen Leadership Award in Nursing. After that she became active in the CA section working with the conference planning committee.  “They greeted me with open arms and put me to work right away on the state conference. I’ve been involved ever since and this past year I served as the Conference Program Co-Chair.  It was the first time I had such a broad role planning a conference of that magnitude. We always strive for a strong program and work together to make it happen.  I think as a bedside nurse and try to consider what direct care nurses are confronted with right now, what are their day to day concerns, and what new evidence can guide our care for mothers and infants. I look through the eyes of a direct care nurse and identify topics and speakers I think can shed light on relevant areas. As a committee we highlight how we can learn from each other to ultimately provide the best care for our patients and families,” said Huwe.

“It is a gift to be a perinatal nurse.  Touching base with so many colleagues throughout the Convention is always very satisfying.  It supports my role as an outreach educator and provides an opportunity for me to network with my counterparts.  It’s quite rewarding.  I feel like when we’re together at convention we acknowledge the work we’ve done; but, we also identify where gaps exists and inspire each other to continue to do great work,” said Huwe.  “AWHONN provides perinatal nurses a professional organization with tremendous resources: evidence based guidelines, position statements, toolkits, aimed to help us provide care that is high quality and safe. AWHONN also identifies, where further research is needed, and partners with other organizations like ACOG and ACNM to enhance the care of mothers and newborns.  It’s alignment with these and other professional organizations create strength and influence toward best practice implementation.”

“Attending the Annual Convention in 2015 allowed me the opportunity to   reconnect with my AWHONN “family” and be among the best perinatal nurses in the United States,” said Huwe. My AWHONN “family” is not merely colleagues and professional partners they are also my friends.” At the end of the day we can get together, celebrate the work we do, and have a great time.

To learn more about Every Woman, Every Baby and how you can help your Section win the Section Challenge, contact giving@awhonn.org.