A registered nurse whose commitment to caring ranges from Alzheimer’s patients at a Jacksonville long term care facility to members of the nation’s military has earned statewide recognition as Registered Nurse of the Year. Marlena Blaylock, Unit Manager of Riverwood Center, was honored by the Florida Health Care Association at its 2014 Long Term Care Excellence in Nursing Awards presentation in St. Pete Beach.
Blaylock knew early on that her calling in life would be to serve and care for people. She has dedicated almost her entire nursing career to serving long term care residents, and in 1995 enlisted in the U.S. Army, where she still serves as a First Sergeant. Blaylock has climbed through the ranks of her profession over the last decade, advancing from LPN to RN and obtaining her masters degree in health management, on the path toward becoming unit manager.
She currently oversees Riverwood Center’s 44-bed Alzheimer’s and dementia unit. She brings a top level of leadership and clinical expertise to residents with care that does not rely on restraints, does not cause pressure ulcers, and does not use bed or chair alarms. She has also implemented a Caring Way program to keep residents engaged, and through various activities she helps team members learn more about what is important in each resident’s life, such as their children, the foods they enjoy or the cities to which they’ve traveled.