The Jewish Association on Aging has awarded  longtime staff member, Kayola Richardson, RN, with the LeadingAge PA’s Distinguished Service Award for 2014 Caregiver of the Year.

Richardson’s work ethic is legendary. After a 30-year nursing career at Pittsburgh’s Montefiore Hospital where she was the first African-American nursing supervisor, she retired, only to come out of retirement to work at the Charles Morris Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. Her intention was to merely fill in a short-term supervisory gap, but it transitioned into a second nursing career. She has been at Charles Morris for more than 20 years, serving as the evening shift supervisor. Her mantra is: “A job worth doing is a job worth doing right.”

The award ceremony took place June 18 at the LeadingAge PA Annual Conference at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pa. JAA President and CEO Deborah Winn-Horvitz presented the award to Nurse Kay, as she is known, at the JAA ceremony.

She is lauded for her determination and professionalism and is fiercely protective of her patients and her staff. When she began at Charles Morris in 1994, she built in standards and protocols that the organization continues to follow today.

“Kay is a woman of great integrity and great heart,” said Winn-Horvitz.

“Her years of service certainly indicate her dedication to the nursing profession. Her guiding principle is to provide the highest quality of care to her residents. Kay is truly a nurse at heart, but it’s her heart that inspires all of those she touches.”

Beyond her dedication to colleagues and patients, Richardson social advocacy is notable. She was credited with the formation of an African-American advocacy group called the Nightingalers, which won the right in the midst of the Civil Rights movement for Black nurses to have the same opportunities as their White colleagues.

Richardson is a graduate of Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in Springfield, Mass.

The JAA offers programs to keep seniors of all faiths and financial means active, safe, independent, and connected to the community.


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