The American Association of Nurse Practitioners annually chooses one person from each state to receive its highest honor: the Nurse Practitioner State Award for Excellence. This year, for the first time, the Massachusetts honoree is someone from Western Mass.

The Berkshire reports that Great Barrington resident Martha Klay was selected as this year's recipient.  Klay holds nursing degrees from Creighton University and U-C San Francisco, and specialized in geriatric urology.  For 30 years as an NP she spent countless hours often driving hundreds of miles to visit with elderly women in more than 60 facilities in Massachusetts and Connecticut. In fact, while this was the first such award given to someone from W. Mass. it's the second time around for Klay.  She was named Connecticut's Nurse Practitioner of the Year in 2004.

It's a dream for many professionals to be able to go out on top, and that's the way it turned out for Martha Klay, as she recently retired after 40 total years in nursing. She'll need to temporarily set aside her retirement activities this summer, to gather with fellow honorees from across the country in Denver at the AANP's national conference.