Bahaa Barsoum, RN, Director of Nursing at A.G. Rhodes Health and Rehab has been awarded the prestigious Joan Anne McHugh Award for Leadership in Long-Term Services and Support (LTSS) Nursing. Photo by Phil Skinner.

A.G. Rhodes nursing director wins prestigious award

Bahaa Barsoum, RN, Director of Nursing at A.G. Rhodes Health and Rehab has been awarded the Joan Anne McHugh Award for Leadership in Long-Term Services and Support (LTSS) Nursing.

Barsoum received the award during the LeadingAge Annual Meeting and EXPO, October 29 - November 1 in New Orleans, LA.

Since joining the staff at A.G. Rhodes Health and Rehab as Director of Nursing in September of 2009, Barsoum has demonstrated great capacity for compassion for his patients as well as the competence to direct a staff of 120 in a very efficient manner.

According to Albert K. Blackwelder, chief executive officer at A.G. Rhodes Health and Rehab, “In an industry where the turnover rate is high for a demanding job such as Director of Nursing, Bahaa has passionately served in this role at A.G. Rhodes for eight years. It was clear from the first day that I met Bahaa that he doesn’t view his work as just a job, rather he is answering a calling.”

Barsoum credits his father for supporting him in pursuing that calling. He says, “I was drawn to nursing for the passion to help people, especially the elderly. Once I decided on becoming a nurse, my lifelong ambition was to become a Director of Nursing. My inspiration to become a nurse was from my father. He was not in that profession but he encouraged me to follow my path.”

Jackie H. Summerline, RN BSN and Director of Clinical Services at A.G. Rhodes Health and Rehab credits Barsoum’s energy, positive attitude and quick thinking for his exemplary work.

She writes in her recommendation letter, “Mr. Barsoum is extremely innovative in setting up programs to make workloads easier for staff; while at the same time, making the day more enjoyable for the residents. He is a quick thinker and a rational decision maker.”

Barsoum is also lauded by staff members for his ability to inspire them and support their individual goals.

One of his nursing supervisors, Andy Akobundu, LPN says that within six months of Barsoum’s arrival, the facility had a deficiency-free state survey. He adds that since then, they have had nine years of consistent, excellent and deficiency-free state and federal surveys.

Akobundu also says, “Through his magnetism and quiet persuasion, he has enlisted other’s dreams. Bahaa has encouraged eight of our licensed practical nurses and four certified nursing assistants to become registered nurses since 2009.”

Another attribute that makes Barsoum an excellent candidate for the McHugh Award is his willingness to jump in and fill in gaps whenever needed.

Blackwelder says this of Barsoum in a letter of recommendation he submitted to the award committee, “Employees look up to him because he is a leader who will never ask his staff to do something that he hasn’t already done or wouldn’t do. In times of staff shortages, Barsoum will jump into any position to get the job done.”

About Bahaa BarsoumPrior to earning his nursing degrees, Bahaa Barsoum spent two years in the U.S. Army as a CNA. He completed boot camp and training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and then he was stationed at Fort Polk in Louisiana. He also travelled to Germany and Belgium for training.

In 1996, Barsoum earned his LPN and in 1998, he earned his RN from Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, New York. Prior to his move to Atlanta, Barsoum worked as an RN in upstate New York.

About the McHugh AwardThe McHugh Award was established in memory of Joan Anne McHugh, a RN who had a stellar reputation for her compassion, knowledge and professionalism. Her work had a lasting impact on the geriatric health care profession. Sadly, she passed away in 2003 at the age of 47.

The award recognizes nurse leaders who provide outstanding clinical care to their patients while demonstrating leadership skills in the field of LTSS nursing.

About A.G. Rhodes Health and RehabProviding elder care since 1904, A.G. Rhodes Health and Rehab specializes in rehabilitation services, short-term recovery and long-term care. It is one of Atlanta’s oldest non-profits, A.G. Rhodes Health and Rehab has a staff of 550 and accommodates more than 1,100 seniors per year at one of their three facilities located in Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties.

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