Vangie Dennis, RN, BSN, CNOR, CMLSO at Gwinnett Hospital was awarded the 2011 R. James Rockwell, Jr. Educational Achievement Award for exceptional accomplishments in laser safety education at the 2011 International Laser Safety Conference (ILSC®) in San Jose, California earlier this month.

Ms. Dennis has over three decades of nursing experience and has been instrumental in the development and teaching of many well recognized laser safety programs for professional societies including AORN, ASLMS and LIA.

“With laser safety education as a key component of LIA’s mission, we are especially proud to present this award to outstanding leaders and educators in the field,” said Peter Baker, Executive Director of LIA.  “As a CMLSO, instructor, author, presenter and trainer, Ms. Dennis has made significant and valuable contributions to laser safety education.”

Ms. Dennis has served as a highly rated instructor for LIA’s Medical Laser Safety Officer course, developed and taught LIA’s Advanced Laser Safety Officer and on-line Laser Safety Officer courses. She is the Associate Editor for the Journal for Clinical Laser Medicine and Surgery, served on the editorial advisory board for OR Nurse 2011 and is widely published and referenced in the medical literature.

She has presented and lectured nationally and internationally at a wide variety of conferences and facilities and served as chair of the Practical Applications Seminar at LIA’s 2011 International Laser Safety Conference.

Ms. Dennis commented that she was both humbled and honored to receive the award. She said that even though she has moved into a management role at Gwinnett Hospital in Atlanta she was still a teacher at heart. She quoted from Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life on the meaning of being a teacher.

“In the end, it is life itself which is the mountain, the teacher, serving us up perfect opportunities to do the inner work of growing in strength and wisdom… when we teach… we show others what we have seen up to now. It’s at best a progress report, a map of our experiences, by no means the absolute truth… We are all on (the mountain) together. And we need each other’s help.”

The R. James Rockwell, Jr. Educational Achievement Award is supported on a biennial basis by LightRay Consulting.