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Greater Chicago’s Top RNs Honored

The bright spotlight that illuminated the stage May 5 at the Chicago Marriott Schaumburg proved to be fitting.

“Every nurse in this room is a star and a winner,” Judith Mitiguy, Nursing Spectrum’s Executive Vice President, Nursing Communications & Initiatives, told the crowd of more than 300 attendees in the hotel ballroom.

Thirty finalists in six categories from the Greater Chicago region were honored during Nursing Spectrum’s 2010 Nursing Excellence Awards gala.

Mitiguy and Melyni Serpa, who serves as Nursing Spectrum’s General Manager, Publications, welcomed the finalists to the stage, where they were bathed in the spotlight and received warm ovations.

“Thank you for allowing us the privilege of standing with you tonight and all through the year,” Serpa said.

Nursing Spectrum thanks the sponsors who made the awards dinner possible. Gold Sponsors were Chamberlain College of Nursing and the University of Chicago Medical Center. Silver Sponsors were Advocate Christ Medical Center, Northwest Community Hospital, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Resurrection Health Care, Resurrection Home Health Services, Rush University Medical Center, Saint Francis Hospital, Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center and the University of Illinois Medical Center. The Cocktail Reception Sponsor was Advocate Health Care.

Advancing and Leading the Profession

Michelle A. Janney, RN

Michelle A. Janney, RN, PhD, NEA-BC
Senior Vice President and Wood Prince Family Chief Nurse Executive
Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago

Reading the words of those who nominated her for a Nursing Spectrum award touched Michelle A. Janney deeply.
“When they sent me the nomination that they had written up, it brought me to tears,” said Janney, the winner in the Advancing and Leading the Profession category. “I think the greatest reward any leader can get is to have the people who report to her think so highly of her. I think it was one of the most memorable and beautiful moments in my leadership career.”
Among Janney’s many efforts are leading implementation of a patient-centered care model across nursing, sponsoring organizationwide process improvement initiatives to reduce patient falls and the incidence of nosocomial pressure ulcers, and launching a safe patient handling program for nurses, along with an effort to reduce needlestick injuries.
Those works, and many others, have given her nursing colleagues plenty of reason to applaud Janney.
“It’s the pinnacle of your career in leadership when those you represent and those you guide and mentor think so highly of you,” Janney said. “It truly is an honor to be nominated and certainly an honor to get the award as well.”

Clinical Care

Annemarie O’Connor, FNP-BC

Annemarie O’Connor, FNP-BC, MSN
Nurse Practitioner, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
University of Chicago Medical Center

In a room full of the region’s top nurses and their supporters, Annemarie O’Connor’s rooting section included two special visitors — her parents from Ireland.
“They’re really supportive and wanted to come here and support me, and the university said, ‘Bring them along,’” O’Connor said.
O’Connor was recognized for her work in burn care, an area in which she has bridged the gaps among nurses, patients and physicians.
“It’s an achievement, but not just for me,” she said. “(It’s) for our entire institution and our unit in particular, it’s one of the smaller units. It’s nice for us all to be recognized because I couldn’t do my job without them.”
O’Connor has spent the past 18 years participating in the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance Burn Camp, a weeklong event for burn survivors ages 8 to 16.

Community Service

Susan Walsh, RN

Susan Walsh, RN, MS, CPNP
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Instructor
University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing

The memories of Jan. 12 are still fresh for Susan Walsh. Along with a team from her nonprofit organization, Little by Little, Walsh was in Haiti when a massive earthquake struck. Her team worked for days to care for victims of the disaster.
“It has been a whirlwind emotionally,” Walsh said. “It’s really easy to forget. It’s our job to keep it alive.” Walsh said her team, which specializes in pediatrics, will work hard to maintain nutrition, immunization and other programs they had implemented. “There’s so much that we’re hopeful for,” she said.
Winning the Community Service honor allowed Walsh a chance to thank one special supporter from the stage — her husband, Brian.
“Thank you for going to Haiti with me and not letting me go by myself,” said Walsh, who also thanked her husband for keeping the team safe on behalf of the “parents and husbands and boyfriends” of other colleagues who have gone to Haiti.


Patricia A. Creehan, APN/CNS

Patricia A. Creehan, APN/CNS, MSN
Manager, Clinical Operations for Labor & Delivery
Advocate Christ Medical Center, Oak Lawn, Ill.

Among the numerous loud ovations at the event was one that jolted Patricia A. Creehan when she was announced as the honoree in the Management category.
“Oh my goodness, I’m going to cry,” Creehan said while accepting the award. She is credited with taking Advocate Christ Medical Center’s labor and delivery unit from respectable patient satisfaction percentile scores in the 70s and 80s to a consistent 99th percentile in the past year.
The support from her colleagues made the evening a thrill.
“It’s overwhelming,” she said. “It’s very, very nice to be recognized for the hard work. But you can’t do it by yourself. Nothing that any of us accomplishes could be done without teamwork and all the wonderful people we’ve worked with over the years. … I could not ask to work for a finer organization.”


Phyllis Lawlor-Klean, RNC

Phyllis Lawlor-Klean, RNC, MS, APN/CNS
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Advocate Christ Medical Center, Oak Lawn, Ill.

Phyllis Lawlor-Klean’s impact on nurses in the medical center’s neonatal ICU is not lost on her co-workers. But when Lawlor-Klean was announced as the Mentoring winner, she was at a loss for words.
“Those of you who know me, I’m seldom speechless,” she said.
Lawlor-Klean’s work on the neonatal ICU, however, spoke for itself to the Nursing Excellence judges. She has established a learning environment, according to a colleague who nominated her, that allows others to feel comfortable asking questions, thanks to a warm and welcoming mentorship style.
The Nursing Spectrum award was especially touching in a career that has spanned more than three decades. “I’ve been a nurse for 35 years, and I’m passionate about nursing as well as neonatal care,” Lawlor-Klean said. “It’s a huge honor to be nominated and recognized.”


Rebecca A. Steinmann, RN

Rebecca A. Steinmann, RN, APN, CEN, CPEN, CCRN, CCNS
Clinical Educator, Emergency Department
Edward Hospital, Naperville, Ill.

The colleague who nominated Rebecca A. Steinmann for the Nursing Excellence program pointed out that Steinmann knows every one of the more than 200 ED staff members at Edward. After winning the Teaching honor, however, Steinmann did not know quite how to react.
“I still don’t even believe it,” she said. “It was such an honor to be nominated and I never, ever expected it. It’s only possible because I work with such a great team.”
Steinmann is credited with knowing the strengths, learning styles and areas of opportunity for each RN, patient care tech and unit secretary. She also knows how grateful she is to the nurses who impacted her own career.
“I’ve been very blessed throughout my nursing career to have wonderful mentors and be involved with wonderful teams who care more about their patients than you can ever believe,” she said.

Barry Bottino is a regional editor for Nursing Spectrum.

By | 2020-04-15T14:20:40-04:00 June 14th, 2010|Categories: Greater Chicago, Regional|0 Comments

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