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May 11, 2012

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Fairfax Nurse Selected as Public Health Nurse of the Year

(RICHMOND, Va.) – A Fairfax County Health Department nurse, known for her passion for working with children who have intellectual disabilities, has been chosen as this year’s Public Health Nurse of the Year. According to her colleagues, Gail Zukosky, RN, BSN, MSN, exemplifies the characteristics highlighted in this year’s theme, “Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring.”

“Gail Zukosky is an exceptional professional who not only serves the community with enthusiasm and passion, but also applies those same qualities to mentoring and educating future nurses, while advocating for school health,” said State Health Commissioner Karen Remley, MD, MBA, FAAP.

Zukosky dedicates much of her time working at the Key Center in Springfield, Virginia. The Center is co-located with Key Middle School and educates children with emotional, cognitive and physical challenges. Zukosky’s leadership led to the creation of the “Peer to Peer” program which partners Key Middle School students with children at the Key Center. She trains the students to understand the behaviors and developmental abilities of the Center’s children, which creates lasting relationships and enables the students to better understand children with disabilities.

Virginia’s 2012 Nurse of the Year joins other nurses around the nation being honored during National Nurses Week, which is celebrated from May 6 through May 12. The observance is devoted to highlighting the diverse ways in which registered nurses, who comprise the largest health care profession, are working to improve health care.

“Virginia’s 697 public health nurses wear many hats,” said Joanne Wakeham, Ph.D., Director of Public Health Nursing at the Virginia Department of Health. “Virginia’s public health nurses embrace every role with passion for the profession and with a strong commitment to protecting and promoting the health of all Virginians.”

VDH is looking for new nurses to play vital roles in their communities. For more information about careers in public health nursing, visit

Last Updated: 11-08-2012

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