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Greater Chicago Nursing Excellence Finalists: Community Service

The finalists for the Nursing Spectrum Nursing Excellence Awards event, which takes place May 5 in Schaumburg, Ill., in the Community Service category are as follows:

Maria Sauerzapf, RN, MSN
School Health Coordinator
Alivio Medical Center and Little Village High School, Chicago
Nominated by: Clarisa Medina Poeliniz

Maria Sauerzapf has dedicated her 32-year nursing career to working with the Latino community in the Chicago area. In her current role as a coordinator for school-based health centers, she has created healthcare access to Latino children, adolescents and the community at large. Her position includes developing all aspects of the free-standing SBHCs, from administrative duties to establishing relationships with schools and the community. Sauerzapf markets, recruits and interviews potential staff, even though Spanish-speaking nurses are hard to find. The clinics’ primary objective is to provide access for sick visits, health maintenance, behavioral health assessments and, soon, dental services and nutritional counseling. The high school clinic is staffed by a certified nurse midwife, which is especially important for keeping teen mothers in school. Sauerzapf has worked with a bilingual nurse consortium, recruiting for and advising candidates about nursing programs. Sauerzapf is a true community leader. Not only has she dedicated her professional life to working as a community advocate, but she also finds time to volunteer in that community. Sauerzapf has had the opportunity to move out of the community, which suffers from gang violence and high crime rates, but she has chosen to live where she serves.

Susan E. Fletcher, EdD

Susan E. Fletcher, EdD, MSN, BSN
Associate Professor of Nursing
Chamberlain College of Nursing, Addison, Ill.
Nominated by: DeLois P. Weekes, RN, DNSc, MSN

Susan Fletcher is a strong believer that experience is often the best instructor in life. While the nursing students she teaches gain practical knowledge in the classroom and through their textbooks, it is the interactive labs and clinical experiences that encourage her students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom to real-world scenarios. Fletcher takes this emphasis on hands-on, diverse learning experiences one step further with the alternative nursing course she developed for the college. For the past 13 years, she has provided students with opportunities to earn course credit by traveling abroad for two- to three-week international nursing service projects. These trips are life-changing experiences for her students. Through this immersion experience, the eight to 10 students who travel with Fletcher gain a deeper understanding of cultural differences by working with people living in extreme poverty and from different cultural backgrounds. For the past few years, Fletcher has collaborated with a nonprofit humanitarian medical organization by taking students to rural Bolivia and Kenya. In November, she launched a partnership with Chamberlain College’s sister college in Brazil. She traveled with her students for three weeks to work with urban and rural Brazilian communities to treat and educate local residents and share best practices in healthcare with the students’ Brazilian counterparts. Fletcher estimates that in the past 13 years her teams have treated, and in some cases saved the lives of, more than 32,000 people.

Dave Krupa, RN

Dave Krupa, RN, MSN, MBA
RN Case Manager
Resurrection Home Health Services, Morton Grove, Ill.
Nominated by: Debra Thompson

Dave Krupa, a field clinician who manages a caseload of patients for a hospital-affiliated home health agency, has an extensive educational background, as well as knowledge and excellent clinical skills. Krupa has what it takes for successful home health nursing: strength, character and problem-solving skills. He works primarily with the most needy patients and families in the Chicago area and is a strong patient advocate for those clients. He faces challenges daily, including language, cultural, ethnic, educational and financial barriers. Some patients have no resources, family or friends to help them. Despite the challenges, Krupa manages complex situations and coordinates care to involve many disciplines. He has demonstrated a particular interest in wound care and was elected to be a member of the agency’s wound care team. A strong team player, Krupa is always willing to pitch in and help, regardless of the situation. Krupa also is involved in ROMP (Range of Motion Project), an organization based in Chicago with a clinic in Guatemala. The clinic is operated by Krupa’s son, an amputee, who lives in Guatemala and produces prosthetics and orthotics for third-world countries. Krupa participates in missions in which he collects old limbs and either sends them to the clinic or takes them to Guatemala, where the limbs are refurbished. He offers his son and the staff there knowledge regarding the assessment and treatment of wounds.

Susan Walsh, RN

Susan Walsh, RN, MS, CPNP
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Instructor
University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing
Nominated by: Janice Nuuhiwa

A well-respected clinical instructor in a pediatric nurse practitioner program, Susan Walsh has for several years been organizing teams of nurse practitioners and students to embark on medical service trips to Haiti. Walsh was in Haiti in January with a volunteer group when a massive earthquake struck the nation. Walsh and her colleagues cared for hundreds of patients in the hours and days after the disaster. The aim of the Haiti trips is to provide primary and urgent care to the mountain villagers outside of Port-au-Prince. In her commitment to help for the long term, Walsh helped to create a nonprofit organization with the goal of relieving suffering, treating illness, improving nutrition and promoting basic healthcare through a partnership with the village. The annual trips have turned into three trips a year because of the high numbers of volunteers who are eager to sign up. The person nominating Walsh has been on three trips and writes about Walsh’s clear respect for the underserved population of grateful Haitians. Walsh is a voice for social justice, both in her community and abroad. Though busy with her professional responsibilities in academia and private practice, Walsh takes community involvement to a personal level. She and her husband became licensed foster parents and have taken a special interest in working with young pregnant women. The couple went so far as to expand the physical layout of their home in order to accommodate educating young mothers while they reside in the Walsh’s home.

Susana Gonzalez, RNC

Susana Gonzalez, RNC, BSN
Director of Perinatal Women’s Services
MacNeal Hospital, Berwyn, Ill.
Nominated by: Hermilia and Fabiola

Dedicated to women’s and children’s health, Susana Gonzalez shines for her clinical competence and extensive experience. Gonzalez has developed women’s and children’s programs for inpatient hospital and outpatient settings, as well as for public policy for elected officials, advocacy for nonprofit organizations and community health outreach programs. She has woven volunteerism into her life. Gonzalez serves on several nonprofit boards and on various women’s health committees. She coordinates, leads, and gives of her time, energy, talents and money. For example, she is on her second six-year term as a volunteer on the executive committee for the board of directors of Mujeres Latinas en Accion, a domestic violence social support agency. She has volunteered for more than a decade on the board of directors for the Chicago chapter of the March of Dimes. Gonzalez serves on the board of directors for the Chicago Bilingual Nurse Consortium, and she works with key elected officials as a trusted health adviser. Gonzalez also is a pivotal force in coordinating annual health events for different organizations. For example, she is in her 16th year coordinating a health fair that provides school physicals and offers free school supplies for more than 2,500 children. She views giving back to the community as fun and looks forward to spending the holiday week each November giving free flu shots at a local church near her home and feeding the homeless.

By | 2020-04-15T14:35:39-04:00 April 19th, 2010|Categories: Greater Chicago, Regional|0 Comments

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