People who work with Ann Ailor describe her as as a dedicated nurse who is better at giving than receiving.
Ailor, a nurse with the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, was among 10 nurses recognized Friday night for their work in health care.
Sponsored by the School of Nursing at the Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., "Nursing: The Heart of Healthcare" award program honors nurses who work throughout the state and in the greater Kansas City area. The nurses were selected by a committee of 20 health care professionals from more than 750 nominations.
Seven people nominated Ailor, a registered nurse with the health department since 1973.
NOW COORDINATOR of the department's HIV testing and counseling program, Ailor said she likes working in the community health arena because of the prevention focus.
"I'm a firm believer in prevention," Ailor said, explaining that the health department is in the business of keeping healthy people healthy with immunizations, well-child clinics and the like.
Ailor also likes the educational aspect of her job. Trish Davies, a math teacher at Lawrence's alternative high school, nominated Ailor for the award. Davies said Ailor always does a good job when she talks to students at the school about AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and other sensitive subjects.
"She's very clever in her presentations and is very upfront," Davies said. "She's just really natural with the kids, and they respond well to her."
KAY KENT, director of the health department, said Ailor is "certainly very dedicated to nursing and certainly very much a patient advocate."
Kent said Ailor possesses good interpersonal skills and "a real appreciation for confidentiality."
Health department patients who are tested for the virus that causes AIDS are promised confidentiality. Ailor said she enjoys her work in HIV testing and counseling, although it can be difficult emotionally.
"I think it takes a certain kind of person to do it," she said. "There's a lot of fear surrounding the area, a lot of misinformation. It's emotionally draining sometimes."
Ailor, the first health department nurse to receive KU's award, said she was surprised by the honor.
"(It) feels good to get a few strokes on the back" once in a while, she said.