Northwestern Memorial Salutes Outstanding Nurses
They serve on the front lines of patient care and are always ready to address concerns, educate about the availability of treatment options and provide comfort to patients and family members. National Nurses Week, celebrated May 6-12, honors the contributions of nurses across the country and Northwestern Memorial Hospital marks the week by honoring its more than 2,300 nurses whose collaborative nature and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty defines the essence of nursing.
“Our nurses, through their hard work and steadfast dedication to Northwestern Memorial, better the lives of the patients they serve,” said Michelle Janney, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, Senior Vice President and Wood-Prince Family Chief Nurse Executive at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “They are truly committed to advancing our Patients First mission, and we couldn’t be more appreciative of their support.”
Lori Clark, RN, was recently among Northwestern Memorial’s 2010 Excellence in Nursing Practice award recipients. The hospital recognized 14 nurses for their standout patient advocacy and leadership. Clark said her devotion to patients is what drives her work as a transplant nurse with the Kovler Organ Transplantation Center. “It’s not an easy job,” said Clark. “If you choose to be a nurse though, you do it because of your love for the patient.”
Clark’s devotion to serving others extends far beyond the walls of Northwestern Memorial. Five years ago Clark and her father, a practicing physician in Florida, began making yearly medical mission trips to Guatemala. They provide medication and perform minor procedures on local patients. “We see how much they need our assistance and it’s very rewarding to be able to help them,” said Clark.
Nina Kaye, RN, is one of four liver transplant nurses who work closely with Clark and nominated her for the nursing award because of Clark’s strong commitment to patient care. “Her work with patients is not defined by a shift change or a time clock,” said Kaye. “It takes a special kind of person to be able to care for patients like ours, and Lori definitely fits the bill.” Kaye notes Clark’s team spirit as another reason why she is worthy of the award. “She feels strongly about us all banding together as one so that we are better able to serve our patients,” said Kaye.
Helping others is what inspired Maryanne Fishman, RN, APN, to become a stem cell transplant nurse. Fishman also was recently honored as a 2010 nursing award recipient. “My mother died of ovarian cancer when I was 22 years old,” said Fishman. “I had felt so helpless in knowing what to do to care for her, and that’s why I decided to pursue a career in nursing—to make a difference for people who had cancer.”
Fishman’s choice to pursue a career that is emotionally exhausting, as she cares for patients who are navigating the line between life and death, is admittedly difficult at times. Fishman approaches her work with a resolute attitude. “My goal is to try to make these patients laugh, to ease their experience in any way I can,” said Fishman. “What keeps me on track is that no matter what is happening, no matter the outcome, I know I’ve somehow made the journey for that person easier than if I hadn’t had been involved in their care.”
Colleen Welles, RN, oncology, is a longtime colleague of Fishman’s and has experienced firsthand the kind of care Fishman practices with her patients. When Welles’ husband was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, Fishman was the first person she called. “In that moment, I knew she would be able to help me with whatever I needed,” said Welles. “It’s the same way she is with patients. They thrive off of her positive energy.”
Welles said Fishman shaped her into the nurse she is today. “She taught me so much more than just knowledge and science, but about how to really have a positive impact on a patient’s life,” said Welles.
Clark and Fishman are among the 2010 Excellence in Nursing Practice award recipients. Please see below for a complete list.