Cecilia “Ceci” McVey, Associate Director for Nursing/Patient Care Services at VA Boston Healthcare System, received the Mary A. Manning Mentor Award on Friday for her outstanding role as mentor to the largest nursing staff at VA BHS.
The award was established by the Massachusetts Association of Registered Nurses to honor a nurse who exemplifies the ideal image of a mentor and has established a record of consistent outreach to nurses in practice or in the pursuit of advanced education.
Ceci became a certified mentor in 2008, but has held the part of a mentor for 38 years in her roles as Nurse Manager, Nurse Coordinator, Chief Nurse and Associate Director for Nursing/Patient Care Services.
During restructuring of the Veterans Health Administration in 1995, Ceci created a vision and direction to help transform VA BHS.
“As the leader of nursing at VABHS, she successfully integrated Nursing Service at three medical centers (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain and Brockton) and was instrumental in forming one culture,” Margaret Singer, said in her speech introducing Ceci.
In her past role as President for the Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs whose purpose is to shape and influence healthcare in the Department of Veterans Affairs, she provided testimonies to the US House of Representatives, US Senate and subcommittees to help resolve VA Nursing issues.
In this role, Ceci serves as a role model for more than 1300 Nursing employees, guiding each individual and sharing her journey with groups of Nursing. Ceci began her career as a candy striper at Newton Wellesley Hospital and then as a Nursing Assistant at the VA BHS. Her success gives inspiration to her mentees.
“When my New Supervisor Orientation group spoke of finding a formal mentor to help guide us, I immediately knew Ceci had already been filling that role for me,” Jessica Rizzo, Registered Nurse at VA BHS, said. “Her constant support and encouragement coupled with her wisdom and guidance was the epitome of what being a mentor meant to me.”
As Chairperson of VA BHS Succession Planning Committee Ceci focuses on creating an environment that supports learning and innovation. Ceci encourages Nursing staff to continue their education, and approximately 63 percent of nurses have a bachelors degree or higher at VA BHS.
“It was Ceci who motivated me to assume various leadership positions within VA, obtain my bachelor’s degree, and become actively involved in many professional organizations,” Mary Jo Doolan said.
Ceci is responsible for the development of Northeast VA Nursing Alliance, an academic partnership with six Baccalaureate nursing schools (Boston College, Northeastern University, Regis College, Simmons College, University of Massachusetts Lowell, and University of Massachusetts Boston).
This program helps enrich nursing students and increases nursing staff by allowing VA Nurses to become faculty members in one of the schools.
Ceci continues to be a major advocate for education programs offered to VA BHS nursing staff including mentoring, profession issues, interviewing skills, career development, and management skills.
Despite her long list of accomplishments, Ceci didn’t expect the phone call she received about receiving the award. “When I first got the call that I was to be the recipient of the Mary A. Manning Mentoring Award I was absolutely shocked,” Ceci said. “It is such an honor to be recognized by your staff for doing something you love to do.”
Ceci says that as a young nurse, she had a mentor whose only wish for Ceci was to pass down what she had learned and so, McVey has done and continues to do this.