December 12, 2019

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists treated VUMC staff for the holidays, and this care required a glass of milk.

This sweet tradition has been going strong for 23 years

Quintana Lackey, RCIS, in the VUMC Cardiac Cath Lab,  (left) gets a special Cookie Day delivery from Mary Peters, CRNA. Photo by Susan Urmy.

During a quick work break, Buffy Lupear, DNP, CRNA, APRN, director of the Professional Development Office of Advance Practice, and a few nurse friends talked about wanting to do something nice for their co-workers around the holidays. The small group of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, which included LupearJan Hardison, Edith Newberry and Kris Hull, decided to bake a few dozen sweet treats and deliver them early in the morning on a day in December.   

That was in 1996.   

Now23 years later, what is known as Cookie Day” has grown into a full-on production. 

Over the years, the same small group of CRNAs managed to recruit plenty of helpers, even family and friends, to make this an ongoing holiday tradition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center 

“Sometimes when you work with someone you don’t say thank you enough, or you’ve had a stressful day, or they’ve had a stressful day. This is a great way to connect and say, ‘thank you for everything you do for our patients and everything you do for us when we are helping with patients,” said Lupear 

This December approximately 60 CRNAs volunteered to roll up their sleeves, roll out some dough and help spread some holiday cheer.  

Volunteers prepare trays of cookie for Cookie Day deliveries. Photo by Kristin Smart.

“We filled 64 trays in 20 minutes,” said Jan Hardison, nurse anesthetist in the Department of Anesthesiology.   

Mary Peters, nurse anesthetist in the Department of Anesthesiology, along with her mom, enjoy Cookie Day so much she volunteered on her day off“You just put a message out on email, and it’s not like you (the CRNA) have to come; it’s just whoever shows up, shows up, and it’s always a fun time,” said Peters. 

“This is a great way to connect and say, ‘thank you for everything you do for our patients and everything you do for us when we are helping with patients.’”

When the team arrived on campus at 6 a.m., they quickly formed an assembly line  which rivaled Santa’s workshop  placing peanut butter blossoms, snowballs, pizzelles and snickerdoodles, just to name a few, on plastic plattersAbout 30 minutes later, those fully covered trays of cookies, which totaled more than 2,000, were sent out for delivery.  

Cookie Day delivery in progress as volunteers make their rounds to different departments. Photo by Susan Urmy.

The Burn Unit, Pediatric HR, Adult MRI and Valet were some of the groups that received a tray of mouthwatering morsels.   

“The best part is hearing how excited people get when they receive their tray,” said Edith Newberry, nurse anesthetist in the Department of Anesthesiology.  

Quintana Lackey, RCIS, interventional technologist in the Cardiac Cath Lab, was eagerly awaiting Lab’s tray.  

“It makes us feel really good that they care enough about us to bring us a Christmas gift, and you know in the morning we need a little sugar with our coffee,” Lackey said with a laugh. “These will be gone in about 15 minutes.”  

In all, 57 locations throughout the VUMC campus enjoyed Cookie Day, but the biggest smiles belonged to the group who decided long ago to do something nice for their co-workers around the holidays.