April 16, 2008


CRMC nurse earns Rotary work award

Organization’s 14th annual Pride of Workmanship Award presented at ceremony Tuesday


Bob Ellis/staff photographer        
Nina Camillo sets up equipment in the operating room at Cortland Regional Medical Center. Camillo, who has worked as a nurse for more than 30 years, received the Pride of Workmanship Award Tuesday from the Cortland Rotary Club.

Contributing Writer

Work in an operating room day in and day out means dealing with a constant high-stress environment. For Nina Camillo, it’s the type of environment where she’s not only survived as a registered nurse for much of the past 30 years, but excelled to the point that surgeons request her by name.
The Cortland Rotary Club recognized the work Camillo, 57, has done and presented her Tuesday with the organization’s annual Pride of Workmanship Award during a luncheon at the Elk’s Club.
The award is given to an individual who has been nominated for dedication and excellence in their particular job.
Camillo is an operating room registered nurse specialist and a registered nurse first assist, meaning she assists surgeons when they perform surgery, at Cortland Regional Medical Center.
She said she was surprised to have been selected and had only found out about being nominated a week before the ceremony since she had been on vacation. Camillo did say she works hard to maintain a high quality of work and was honored to win the award that highlights her efforts.
“It’s good to hear someone recognizing what you do,” she said.
From 1980 through 1992, Camillo said she worked at Cortland Memorial Hospital. After that she worked at Community General Hospital in Syracuse and in a private practice with a plastic surgeon. In 1998 she resumed working at the hospital in Cortland.
Denise Mironti, winner of the Pride of Workmanship Award in 1996 and vice president of nursing services at CRMC, nominated Camillo. In the speech she wrote for the nomination, Mironti said Camillo deserved the award for working with nursing staff, departments within the hospital and with outside vendors in an effort to make sure patients receive safe, efficient surgeries.
Mironti wrote that Camillo is also deserving of the award because of her desire for self-improvement. She is a member of the Association of Operative Registered Nurses and attends educational conferences on her own time, passing on what she learns to her co-workers.
Camillo, who lives in Homer with her husband and two children, was described by Mironti as someone who possesses passion for what she does, saying she “is very eager to get the job done and done right the first time.”
She won the first ever Nurse of Distinction Award from Cortland Memorial Hospital in the late 1980s.
There were a total of 10 nominees, including Lori Barber, a registered nurse at Renaissance OB/GYN of Cortland, who was runner up to Camillo.
Kathy McMahon, chair for the Rotary Pride of Workmanship event, said she found it impressive that jobs that vary significantly all produced nominees who carried out their jobs with the type of excellence looked for when handing out the Pride of Workmanship Award.
The Pride of Workmanship Award encompasses businesses within Cortland and Tompkins counties. More than 160 businesses solicited nominees McMahon said. Five area business people judged the nominations.
McMahon said none of the five judges were members of Rotary or had nominated anyone for the award, and that they preferred to not be identified.
“It was very hard to judge; all are deserving,” said McMahon, who talked to the judges and looked over the nominations herself.
She said the nominees carried the common theme of enthusiasm, persistence and holding themselves to high standards. McMahon said Camillo’s experience in life and death situations within the hospital and the fact that doctors and patients specifically request her made Camillo stand out and deserving of the award.
The Pride of Workmanship Award was first created in 1975 in Australia. An exchange student from Moravia brought it to the United States, with the first American version of the Rotary award taking place in Moravia in 1990.
Cortland adopted the award in 1994, with Camillo’s award being the 14th to be presented.