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Winner/Runner-Up Bios

Staff Nurse Award
Staff Nurse Award
2014 Winner
Anne Page

Beaumont Health System, Royal Oak
Nominated by Kimberly Kennedy

As a staff nurse in the PreOp/PACU units at Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak, Anne Page is responsible for the pre-operative preparation and post-operative recovery care of patients undergoing surgery. Anne is passionate and meticulous in the care she provides and is always seeking ways to improve quality, safety and patient care experiences. She has obtained a double certification in her specialty to be knowledgeable in all areas of the per-anesthesia field. Page has developed a Downtime Plan for all per-anesthesia units, formed the North Tower Quality Committee and is responsible for coordinating and scheduling on-call and Saturday shifts for over 100 nurses. Anne’s commitment to exceptional care is evident in her dedication to her patients and accomplishments and expertise in her field, which has led her to become a valuable leader to her colleagues.

Staff Nurse
2014 Winner
Lisa D’Andrea

Beaumont Health System, Breast Care Centers
Nominated by Heather Lowry

Lisa D’Andrea has transitioned from her Pediatric Oncology, Management and Maternal Child Health background to her current nursing position at the Beaumont Breast Care Center. Lisa has recently organized the implementation of a new system from tracking newly diagnosed breast cancer patients by creating a tracking tool of their treatments. With this information, the Breast Cancer team is able to deliver care more efficiently and provide patients a seamless transition into the cancer survivorship phase. Lisa also took ownership on an ongoing project looking at early detection of lymphedema in post-surgical breast cancer patients. Lisa D’Andrea continuously goes above and beyond in her nurse navigation role, which is demonstrated in how she has touched each of her patients with her kind heart, nursing expertise and her passion for providing exceptional nursing care.

Staff Nurse Award
2014 Runner Up
Molly Duane

Harper University Hospital
Nominated by Maria Teresa Palleschi

Molly Duane works in the medical intensive care unit (MICU), where she stays well informed of current trends, technologies and evidence-based practices in multiple aspects of critical care. She is the chair for the Harper and Hutzel Hospital Professional Nurse Council (PNC), Critical Care PNC and active participant of a staff driven wound care group called Pressure Ulcer Ambassadors. After attending the American Association of Critical care Nurses National Teaching Institute, Duane inspired the hospital to develop an ongoing pre- and post-sleep quality study in critically ill patients. Duane’s evidence-based practice platform allows her to perform and succeed at a level that exemplifies the exceptional and innovative leader she is.

Staff Nurse Award
2014 Runner Up
Timothy Deuby

Providence Hospital and Medical Center
Nominated by Denise McLean and Ana Arnold

Timothy Deuby consistently demonstrates his professional leadership skills in his current position as the formal lead preceptor role for the ICU at Providence Hospital and Medical Center. As the co-chairperson for the ICU/NS ICU unit practice council, Deuby developed a newsletter to provide a form of communication between the ICU and NS ICU staff. Also, as a member of the West Region Nursing Quality Council, Tim is involved in evaluating nursing care across the west region, identifying trends and providing solutions to ensure the highest quality of care. Timothy Deuby has the ability to connect with each of his patients and their family members during their highly-stressed personal crisis, identify the family’s most important concerns and anticipate how to meet their psychosocial and spiritual needs.

Education / Research
2014 Winner
Morris Magnan

Karmanos Cancer Center
Nominated by JoAnn Maklebust

Morris Magnan is a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Karmanos Cancer Center. More than that, he is a master researcher, educator and practitioner. He is an expert in healthcare worker fatigue and was selected to be the US representative of an international committee to develop guidelines for pressure ulcer prevention. Morris spends hours keeping up with the latest research findings while simultaneously collaborating with nurses, academics and administrators across disciplines to conduct his own studies and has published more than 100 manuscripts. Morris has provided the necessary support through an established foundation at Karmanos to transform the education and research process; nurses are now independently beginning projects of their own.

Distinguished Alumni
2014 Winner
Anne Stewart

Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe
Nominated by Rick Swaine

Anne Stewart is the Interim Chief Nursing Officer at Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe. This ‘practicing’ administrator has been effortlessly, as it seems to her colleagues, juggling her responsibilities as the Director of Nursing and Interim Chief Nursing Officer.

Anne takes a hands-on approach in every aspect of her professional and personal lives. She is recognized by her nursing and administrative peers as well as the physician staff as someone who is even-keeled, fair, detail-oriented, approachable and truly one of the hospital’s greatest assets. She focuses on the bedside caregivers, ensuring that they have the resources they need to do their work effectively and the ear to listen to their concerns. While this active engagement provides great job satisfaction for the bedside nurses, the secondary benefit has been to the managers who have grown as leaders under her guidance.

She meets individually with every nurse, on every shift, in every unit and is very candid about concerns that she can fix and those that she cannot. Something as seemingly simple as one-on-one conversations with staff has resulted in a positive culture shift, significant increases in RN Engagement Survey scores and Culture of Safety scores. The staff agrees that it is not just that Anne listens and considers alternatives, but she has the integrity to follow through.

In an effort to reduce the hardship of starting a new job, Anne has implemented a 90-day program. She meets with each newly hired nurse after 90 days on the job to determine how well her orientation program is functioning and instituted a “friend at work” program which assigns an individual on the unit to help navigate the first days of the job. Even for those veteran nurses, Anne fosters growth in nurses who want to expand their roles or move in other directions through her inherent mentoring skills. Engagement scores have increased, more nurses are retained; this not only provides for a better work environment, but saves the hospital costs associated with a high turnover rate.

With her specialty of maternal-fetal health, Anne was the principle responsible for the hospital receiving the World Health Organization’s “Baby Friendly” designation – the only hospital in Michigan to have this designation.

Her hands on approach stretches into community. Fundraiser for American Diabetes Association, active participant in raising funds for her son diagnosed with cancer and on community walks.

2014 Runner Up
Suzanne Gardner

Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe
Nominated by Cathleen Solecki

Suzanne Gardner is the Director of Quality and Patient Safety at Beaumont Hospital in Grosse Pointe. Certified as a Six Sigma Black Belt and Kaizen leader in her division, Suzanne uses her expertise to create and carry out strategic business and operation plans. Kaizen is the Japanese philosophy of “change for the best,” focused on continuous improvement in a variety of industries and involves all employees. The combination of Suzanne’s exemplary service and expertise along with her moral character, high enthusiasm and formidable optimism ensures that she was, and is, poised to effectively lead the hospital and staff to making innumerable improvements. Because of her leadership skills and respect from her co-workers, she has been able to implement many quintessential quality and safety initiatives.

Beaumont Grosse Pointe was recognized by the Joint Commission as a top performer for Key Quality Measures from 2011 to 2013. Her work on sentinel events, which are unexpected occurrences involving death or serious physical or psychological injury, helped lead the hospital to experiencing zero events in 2013. The hospital was able to achieve this impressive statistic thanks, in part, to Suzanne’s Eagle Eye and Good Catch awards and recognition programs, which encourages the reporting of potential safety concerns. She also facilitated the formulation of the quality structure including data collection, control charts and process improvement plans to help Beaumont Grosse Pointe achieve advance primary stroke certification by Joint Commission. Since she is an expert in Joint Commission standards interpretation and expectations, she oversees all Joint Commission oversight for the hospital.

Suzanne also carries the practices of quality and safety initiatives into the environment as evidenced by her hospital department being the first to “go green” in business meetings, resulting in cost savings and resource conversation. The thousands of dollars once spent on paper are now spent on direct patient care.

Within her community, Suzanne previously partnered with her Township Supervisor husband to lead the development of a new park system and building of a new library. And while everyone else is singing her praises, Suzanne sings along with her church choir which she has done for more than 30 years. She, along with her choir cohort, has performed at the Olympics in Beijing (2008), Greece (2010), Sweden (2012) and will be in Australia in 2014.

2014 Winner
Sister Mary Ellen Howard, R.S.M.

St. Frances Cabrini Clinic of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church
Nominated by Anne Marie Bradley, RN, BSN

Described as “a nurse leader for the 21st century”, Sister Mary Ellen Howard has devoted her life to God and to service. Sister Mary Ellen serves as the Executive Director for The Cabrini Clinic. Her work there has been instrumental in updating the 64 year old clinic to a modern facility equipped to meet the growing and changing needs of the community and those it serves. As the oldest, free medical clinic in the United States, The Cabrini Clinic is a critical part of its neighborhood in Southwest Detroit serving over 4,500 working, uninsured patients each year who may otherwise not receive medical care.
The management of a free clinic with breadth and scope of the Cabrini Clinic is a daily challenge. Sister Mary Ellen skillfully manages the day-to-day operations of the organization. From managing fundraising efforts to keep the clinic’s doors open to utilizing her knowledge and skills in nursing to care for patients and guide caregivers at the Cabrini Clinic, there is no shortage of hats worn by Sister Mary Ellen in her role as Executive Director. Always seeking new ways to meet the needs of those around her, Sister Mary Ellen introduced a diabetes awareness and education program designed specifically for the large Hispanic population of Southwest Detroit.

Not one to shy away from difficult issues, Sister Mary Ellen is an outspoken advocate for policy changes including the Affordable Care Act that will have a positive impact on the people she works with and cares for on a daily basis. Her promotion of health care reform extends to the local, state, and federal level. She has published numerous editorials in the Detroit Free Press to help the public better understand the complex issues surrounding healthcare policy and has also worked with NETWORK, a Catholic lobbing and advocacy group focused on social justice.

Sister Mary Ellen’s influence and commitment to serving others is extended to future generations through her work with the Mercy Volunteer Corps—college graduates who give a year of service to organizations such as the Cabrini Clinic, and through her efforts to educate future health care leaders as a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
Her skills have demonstrated excellence in her field that has not gone unnoticed by her peers; her talents are sought by many as she is a member of numerous boards, groups, and councils throughout the state. Her involvement in her parish of St. Charles Borromeo and the Religious Sisters of Mercy community is also large and greatly valued. Through her various works, Sister Mary Ellen serves as an example of leadership and compassion for those who interact with her.
The Board of Visitors is proud to recognize Sister Mary Ellen Howard as the 2014 Nightingale Nursing Administration Award winner.

2014 Runner-Up
Mohamad Rustom

Oakwood Healthcare System
Nominated by Barbara R. Medvec

As the Director of Clinical Language Services at Oakwood Healthcare System, Mohamad Rustom represents strong leadership and management skills with his quality improvements and cost saving initiatives.

Mr. Rustom founded an award winning, state-of-the-art system wide clinical language access program that serves four acute care hospitals, 38 ambulatory sites, over 9000 employees and 1200 physicians. The system is extremely cost effective, highly efficient and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It was built as a patient centered model from scientific evidence to eliminate communication barriers. This system offers full-time interpreters, state qualified American Sign Language interpreters for the deaf and hearing impaired, onsite document translators; as well as an online database of qualified bilingual and multilingual Oakwood staff members with over 50 different languages. The CLS program provided assistance to over 10,000 language requests in 2013; this is 200,000 clinical minutes which patients benefited from in regards to effective communication and medical care. There is scientific evidence stating that language support to patients is cost effective in helping to reduce medical errors and increase patient safety and satisfaction.

Mr. Rustom was also involved in a clinical study analyzing the length of stay between two different groups of Limited English Proficiency patients, investigating the positive and negative impacts medical interpreters have in a clinical setting. Studies revealed that language barriers with today’s healthcare do deter the full understanding of one’s diagnosis and treatment. He recommended using professional Medical Interpreters to aid in lowering the cost, and therefore, might reduce the hospital stay for those with a language barrier. Group I did not use assistance, while Group II did. Analysis proved that patients who used the medical interpreters had a shorter stay period of 0.49 days. Patients who did not receive help had a 0.33 (11%) increase in their length of stay over the DRG allowance of 2.90 days. The average length of stay of 0.33 days is a significant financial loss to any healthcare system.
He was the project leader for Aligning Forces for Quality Language Quality Improvement Collaborative for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This was an 18 month study which enhanced the infrastructure of the language access program as a tool to address healthcare inequalities and develop national language quality metrics. Oakwood was one of nine hospitals chosen nationally for this initiative and it was the only hospital that was able to develop and collect all of the required metrics and show proof of its quality improvements.

Mr. Rustom was also chosen to present his findings at the International Medical Interpreters Association’s Administrative Symposium on the Language Access Quality Measures. He is a member of the Greater Detroit Area Health Council, the American College of Healthcare Executives and Board member of the National Arab American Association.

Advanced Nurse Practice
2014 Winner
Marci Simon-Burrell

DMC Hutzel Women’s Hospital
Nominated by Faye Mckinnon

Throughout her career, Dr. Marci Simon-Burrell has demonstrated an admirable commitment to both patients and their nurses. During her eight years as a clinical nurse specialist for perinatal services at the Detroit Medical Center’s Hutzel Women’s Hospital, Dr. Simon-Burrell has been an advocate for mother and infant health, as well as helping their caregivers improve the safety and quality of care they provide to their patients.

When complicated medical cases arise, Dr. Simon-Burrell can always be counted on to consult and assist in determining a course of action for the patients and their care givers. Patient health and well-being is truly the foundation of Dr. Simon-Burrell’s nursing practice; she assists new families by teaching the hospital’s Parent and Family Discharge class as well as working extensively with the hospital’s breast feeding initiative.
Her work is described as an inspiration to her colleagues, and the numerous benefits to her organization are well noted. New nurses at Hutzel Women’s Hospital are immediately introduced to Dr. Simon-Burrell’s professionalism and effectiveness through the orientation she provides and coordinates for new employees. Her work in managing hospital training and education helps hospital staff perform at the highest levels and provides them with the resources to grow and thrive within their field and their career while ensuring the highest quality of care for their patients.

The impacts of Dr. Simon-Burrell’s efforts on her hospital are extensive and visible. She has helped implement a shared decision making model for her hospital as well as leading the development of a nursing peer practice review committee. As a result of her efforts, Hutzel Women’s Hospital has become recognized as a Center for Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology.
Dr. Simon-Burrell’s nursing practice is one that is deeply rooted in research and scholarship. In 2013 Dr. Simon-Burrell was successful in helping Hutzel Women’s Hospital implement a program to increase its rate of exclusive breastfeeding. Through her extensive research, Dr. Simon Burrell designed an education program for 212 registered nurses in skin-to-skin contact following birth to help facilitate successful breastfeeding outcomes. Additionally, her research in evidence-based practice initiatives helped reduce the prevalence of plugged PICC lines for hospital patients and was presented at the DMC Research Day. Her commitment to scholarship has earned her the DMC Faculty Scholar Award.

Advanced Nurse Practice
2014 Runner-Up

Dr. Susanna Sirianni
Sinai-Grace Hospital
Nominated by Marlene H. Mullin

Dr. Susanna Sirianni is a Nurse Practitioner in the SICU/Trauma department at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit. She has implemented and developed many new protocols to improve patient care. Her advanced practice skills have helped to save many lives with her research and practice related to sepsis recognition and treatment, early ambulation of ICU patients, prevention of hospital acquired anemia and development of a Rapid Response Team.

Dr. Sirianni has had many accomplishments during her role as a Nurse Practitioner in the SICU/Trauma department. As Chairperson of the Sinai-Grace Sepsis Committee, she developed the “Improving Sepsis Care Through an Interprofessional Approach” project. She provided research for healthcare providers, as well as system wide education to improve sepsis care. Results showed a decrease with patient mortality, length of stay, improving the time for antibiotics to be distributed to patients, and early identification and treatment to patients with sepsis.

Another achievement Dr. Sirianni succeeded with is updating the hospital’s ICU culture which resulted in an increase in patient activity, without having to add additional staff. She also assisted with eliminating unnecessary phlebotomy and diagnostic imaging in ICU patients. Two conditions that occur with daily phlebotomy and chest x-rays are hospital acquired anemia and exposure to radiation which is unnecessary. Dr. Sirianni educated staff and residents on transfusion guidelines and evidence-based care and the Choosing Wisely Campaign. With this initiative, she has helped to save approximately one million dollars in blood transfusion administration.
She is responsible for the ongoing education for the Rapid Response Team and even produced a family activated rapid response process (Condition H – Help). Family members can contact the team for immediate assistance. The number of non-ICU cardiac arrests has decreased considerably due to this initiative. Also, she created a method to monitor daily patient outcomes by having goals written for each patient and posted outside their room. Every day, the team reviews their progress of these goals with the patient. As a result, there has been a dramatic improvement in all areas of patient care with this project.

In 2012 and 2013, Dr. Sirianni volunteered with the Hope Warming Center, serving dinner to the homeless. She has also participated in the Michigan Diabetes Fundraiser Walk at the Detroit Zoo and AIDS Walk in 2013. She is a member of the Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners and President of the Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners Metro Chapter and has been involved with the American Association of Critical Care Nurses since 1991.

Education and Research
2014 Winner
Morris Magnan

Karmanos Cancer Center
Nominated by JoAnn Maklebust

Morris Magnan is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Ambulatory Care at Karmanos Cancer Center. More than that, he is a master researcher, educator and practitioner. His energy and enthusiasm are unending. Nurses and administrators at every practicing level want to BE him. All of the committees want Morris on their team, staff is challenged to think differently because of him, nurses surround him hoping to glean more knowledge from him and in spite of being a meaningful mentor, Morris conducts and publishes his own research.
When the Joint Commission put out an alert related to health care worker fatigue and its effects on patient safety, Morris designed a tool to measure fatigue among the inpatient and outpatient nurses at Karmanos Cancer Center. This tool measured physical and mental fatigue, asked questions like what time they felt most tired, what shift they worked, how many days in a row they worked, how much sleep did they get each night and more. His results showed that the inpatient staff felt more physical fatigue while the outpatient staff experienced more mental fatigue. He did not stop there. He went on to develop supports and suggestions to lessen fatigue for them. He was then invited to become a member of the new American Nurses Association professional nurse fatigue panel, in addition to, presenting on the topic to other cancer center hospitals in the consortium.

Morris was also selected to work as a United States Representative to an international committee to write Global Guidelines for Pressure Ulcer Prevention and Management which was initiated by the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory panel, European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel and the Pan Pacific Pressure Ulcer Committee. These guidelines require a massive global literature search and review and are expected to be completed by the end of the year.
As a voracious reader, Morris spends hours keeping up with the latest research findings while simultaneously collaborating with nurses, academics and administrators across disciplines to conduct his own studies and publish the results. He has published more than 100 manuscripts so far.

Morris not only shares his knowledge and expertise at the practical level, he provides the necessary support through an established foundation for research and education at Karmanos, transforming the education and research process. Nurses at Karmanos are now independently beginning projects of their own.

2014 Runner-Up
Melchora “Toy” Bartley

Commission on Nursing Certification
Nominated by Kristen Oltersdorf

Melchora “Toy” Bartley is an exceptionally inspiring nurse, just like Florence Nightingale. Her intelligence and ability to teach and educate nurses is a natural talent for her. As a Certified Clinical Nurse Leader with the Commission on Nursing Certification, she is continually doing research and educating others on important initiatives to help improve patient care.

One of Ms. Bartley’s main projects is with the Medical Intensive Care Unit, where she has been instrumental in aiding with several quality improvements. She has helped to reduce the Septic Shock Mortality rate from 34% to 13%, as well as had the Central Line Bloodstream Infection rate at zero since May of 2011. She has also worked with the Ventilator Associated Pneumonia initiative and introduced the use of endotracheal tube with polyurethane cuff and sub glottal secretion drainage. This has improved the clinical cost and outcomes of mechanically vented patients and therefore, decreased early and late onset of VAP. Ms. Bartley performed the necessary research and provided it to the Products & Keystone Committee for approval. Out of 845 patients who used “Seal guard,” only two developed VAP and there has not been one in the MICU since December of 2011.

During interdisciplinary rounds, she strengthened the level of care in the MICU and provided on-time, effective communication with members of her team who cannot participate in rounds. Ms. Bartley encourages nurses to speak up during rounds and developed a nurse report to be handed out. She is always checking on patients to make sure they are receiving the best care possible.

Team building is a very important asset for Ms. Bartley. She initiated the “Monthly Appreciation Day” where she has the entire team come together for “goodies” and created an appreciation award certificate. She also has the team write encouraging messages to the awardee and makes a special day of it during huddle. With the Huddle, the recipient then listens to all of the wonderful comments from their team. Throughout the year, she hosts a monthly lunch-and-learn, has a physician speak, and she educates new Residents on the unit from ACLS by orienting them on many ICU protocols.

Ms. Bartley participates in many community service organizations such as the Thanksgiving Soup Kitchen where she and her daughter help to prepare dinner. She is also involved with The United Way and the “Caring Hearts by Virginia” where she provides free on-going education to elderly caregivers. Professional organizations include the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, the Clinical Nurse Leaders Association and the RN-AIM Association.

Nursing in the Community
2014 Winner
Karen Straetmans

St. John Providence Hospital
Nominated by Nancy McMenemy

The community in which Karen Straetmans lives and works has undoubtedly felt the enormous impact of her presence. As the Education Specialist at St. John Providence Hospital and Parish Nurse, Karen not only focuses on the healthcare needs within her community but is committed to providing the skills needed to make the most of life through spiritual guidance, mentorship, and tutoring.
Her work in transforming what is now a mobile medical unit into a permanent medical clinic through a partnership with St. John Providence Health System and Grace Community Church is evidence of her commitment to her community and helping those in need. Currently, thousands of Detroiters with medical and dental needs receive care through the mobile system, but the new facility taking shape with Karen’s help will provide those service s to an estimated 8,000 east side residents in a new, permanent facility when it opens this year.

Karen has shared her passion for nursing and for her community through countless volunteer endeavors. She has facilitated programs such as the Walk to Jerusalem to help promote physical activity as well as a collaborative effort between Grace Church, St. John Providence Health System, and Eagle Sports to bring a kid’s nutrition day and nutrition education programs to her community. The servant leadership she displays in these roles has made her as much of a resource for her community as those whose services she facilitates. Many individuals and organizations rely on Karen’s knowledge, expertise, and organizational abilities in order to meet their goals of serving those in need.
Helping individuals overcome personal challenges through mentoring and coaching is another gift Karen shares with her community. Karen is a mediation advocate and works with adults struggling with addiction and their families and provides support when it seems the cards are so heavily stacked against them. Through this work, Karen has helped numerous women and children overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.

The results of Karen’s positive impact on her community and in individual lives are incalculable. Her consistent use of her nursing education for the good of her community is an example to those with whom she works and demonstrates a level of compassion and commitment to her field to which future generations of nurses should aspire. Her colleagues describe the moral character and selfless compassion which guide Karen’s actions and nursing practice as an inspiration to the healthcare profession.

2014 Runner Up
Jesse Cruz

Henry Ford e-Home Care
Nominated by Mary Hagen / Fran Gosen

Jesse Cruz is the Telehealth Coordinator for Henry Ford e-Home Care. As a nurse, as a citizen and as a family man, he is as committed as they come. There are no short cuts, no easy way out. After enlisting in 1985, Jesse is currently a major in the United States Air Force and proud member of the USAF Reserve Unit in Youngstown, Ohio where he serves as a credentialing officer one weekend per month. He also served in Operation Desert Storm.

In 2011, he was hired as the Telehealth Coordinator and in that time has surpassed the expectations of those who brought him on board. His all or nothing attitude and innovative approach has kept chronically ill patients out of the hospital and living healthier, happier lives. Complex and chronically ill patients typically have high hospital readmission rates. Over the past year and a half, the number of high-risk patients admitted to home health services has increased by 135%, while overall hospital admission rates decreased more than 1% over the same period. For high risk patients receiving telehealth services, the drop in 30-day readmissions is 4% for those with the same diagnoses, thanks to Jesse and his team.

He assisted in the creation of pathways for home health patients and development of comprehensive booklets and easy-to-use tracking logs for patients to use in their homes. Through the use of remote technology, he monitors patients with chronic diseases like heart failure, COPD, diabetes or high blood pressure; reviewing changes in status daily. This allows he and his team to identify potential problems and take action before the situation worsens. But Jesse is more than a technician at the other end of the monitor. With care and compassion, he contacts patients to assess them and teaches them to be more involved in their own care.

By seeking to identify high risk patients who would benefit from telehealth monitoring and working with home health nurses, this fastidious problem solver has grown the program from its original capacity in the teens to its current enrollment of nearly 200 patients. His devotion to those under his watch means staying connected long past 5:00, working into the evenings and on weekends, from the military bases, from airport hangars, so that minor changes in patients’ status’ do not go unnoticed and he does so with patience, good humor, a calm demeanor and genuine kindness.

People's Choice Nominee's
2014 Nominee
Caryn Knappen

Chateau Home Care
Nominated by: Dora Dingwall, Scott Dingwall, Linda Krumm, Bethany Judd, Cassandra Johnson, Cynthia Ray, Penny VanDette, Owen Pearlman, and Robin Bissonette

Simply put, there are people with us today who would not be with us if it were not for the immense nursing skill and compassion demonstrated by this outstanding nurse. Caryn Knappen, is currently a nurse manager at Chateau Home Care, caring for Scott Dingwall who became a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic at the age of three. Scott has encountered no shortage of life-threatening medical situations. 2011 was a medical roller-coaster for Caryn, Scott, and his family. Caryn was at Scott’s side the entire time often leaving her family in the middle of the night to be with her patient. In Scott’s words, “Caryn is always there when I am in the hospital. It can be very scary, but I’m not scared when I know she is there…She knew what to do when I had my breathing trouble and when I thought I was going to die. She knew what to do medically and how to comfort me.”

Caryn’s nursing has allowed her patient to achieve many milestones such as becoming a student at Oakland University and becoming a service dog trainer. Scott’s family was also able to make cherished memories during a family vacation to Florida with all of Scott’s medical equipment, prescriptions, and staff in tow (facilitated by Caryn, of course).

Caryn’s history of going above and beyond for her patients is extensive. When Caryn began caring for Tim Rohlfing she probably didn’t know the extent to which she would play a role in saving his life. After being hit by a car while in college, Tim lost the use of his legs. An infection following his accident made his kidneys unable to function leaving him dependent on dialysis with the only long-term solution and hope for a normal life being a kidney transplant. Family and friends were tested but the only possible match came from his nurse,

Caryn. Without hesitation Caryn gave a piece of herself to her patient so that he would have a chance to lead the life he wanted.
Always the consummate professional, Caryn manages the daily workings of every aspect Chateau Home Care while creating an environment that her colleagues describe as truly team-oriented with standards of excellence for the staff. Her organization, professionalism, and thoroughness in the face of the most challenging and complex situations makes her an example for her fellow nurses and to those across many other professions. Numerous colleagues speak to the privilege it is to work alongside someone of her immense skill and compassion.

2014 People’s Choice Nominee
Cindy McKenna

Older Persons’ Commission (Crittenton Wellness Center)
Nominated by Julie Syers, Barb Holser, Sue Lauckner, Bob Thomas, Larry and Andrea Sagowitz and Ken Peacock

As an outstanding nurse at the Older Persons’ Commission, Cindy McKenna is in charge of the Crittenton Wellness Center. She is responsible for community education to assist numerous senior citizens dealing with a variety of health issues. Cindy is admired daily for her impressive nursing care by her colleagues and her community.

Cindy provides numerous services to individuals at the OPC and her community in a variety of ways. A few of her achievements include facilitating blood drives in conjunction with the Red Cross, establishing a flu clinic for seniors to receive their flu shots, and provides podiatric services to seniors. Cindy is also a wellness advocate, in which she provide monthly screenings of blood pressure, cholesterol levels and bone density. In collaboration with Wayne State University, Cindy assists in training and mentoring nursing and pre-medical students.

Despite these many accomplishments, Cindy is uniquely suited to her nursing role in providing exceptional daily services to an untold amount of senior citizens. Her empathic and compassionate demeanor is demonstrated to each individual who enters the Wellness Center. She is attentive to each of her patient’s needs so they are not rushed and makes certain their concerns are taken with the upmost importance. Cindy has the capability to handle life threatening emergency situations quickly and proficiently, with leadership and professionalism to ensure accurate care.

The Wellness Center is a place of warmth and comfort as a direct result of the effort and determination Cindy puts in. She has no problem going above and beyond her nursing role to ensure the senior citizens feel emotionally and physically better. Cindy has been known to contact patients during non-business hours and even make hospital visits on her own time, which has made such an impact on each of her patients’ lives.

2014 People’s Choice Nominee
Tamara Niemiec

Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital
Nominated by Daisy Diaz

Tamara Niemiec goes above and beyond the role of a nurse at Henry Ford West Bloomfield. Tammy is the type of nurse that embraces grace and compassion, strength and attentiveness for each of her patients. Her peers, physicians and patients consistently comment on how dependable, courteous and effective Tammy is in her nursing role. Her pleasant demeanor and compassion balance out her countless medical knowledge, strong work ethic and exceptional maturity, which is demonstrated in her outstanding performance for nursing care of a variety of patients and medical issues.

Tammy is proof that we are our work. To truly care for someone is to let that person into your life.
By growing closer to her patients, Tammy embodies a great sense of compassion and ease with her patients. When she had to deliver the devastating news to her patient that her cancer had progressed to a stage IV cancer, her genuine compassion and empathy brought her the only comfort to be found at such a difficult moment. Her exceptional bedside manner was apparent when she sat with her patient after receiving this terrible health news and offered her devoted attention to ensure all of her needs were taken care of. Due to her caring spirit, Tammy’s patient was able to feel a level of comfort and open up about her prognosis and her family concerns. Tammy has the remarkable ability to perfectly balance the amount of time spent with her patients while allowing them space and providing them with the feeling of control over a situation where control may seem to be lost.

The day Tammy had lost her beloved patient to her battle against cancer she was overwhelmed with emotions because, despite the losses healthcare workers often see, truly caring for someone means that those feelings do not stop when a nurse’s shift ends. Having those genuine, uncontrollable emotions allow nurses like Tammy to make memorable and lasting personal moments with their patients and helps create something positive in the face of a devastating situation.