Nurse.com Nursing Spectrum has chosen five finalists from the Greater Chicago region for the Volunteerism and Service category in our 2012 Nursing Excellence Awards program.
The finalists will be recognized May 15 in a ceremony at the Chicago Marriott — Schaumburg, where a winner in the category also will be selected.
Jodie M. Chester, RN
Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Downers Grove, Ill.
More than five years ago, Chester began volunteering for Young Hearts 4 Life, which screens and identifies cardiac abnormalities, including cardiomyopathy, in high school students. The program includes EKG screening as well as heart-health education. She became involved with educating parent volunteers to perform EKGs and became the team leader organizing the screening of thousands of students at community high schools. She also has volunteered at her childrens high school, supporting athletic programs and recruiting others for the YH4L screening. The program has been so successful that other communities have asked for screening programs at their schools. Her nominator wrote: “Jodie has always shown a love for children and those less fortunate or defenseless. She will occasionally bring in newspaper clippings of patients that were cared for in the unit and now are in the news for sports or other related activities and note how they have progressed in the community.”Alla Donets, RN
Alla Donets, RN, BSN, OCN
Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Ill.
Donets is a nurse in the oncology care unit. She is active in fundraising for the Leukemia Research Foundation, and her patients have become involved in the effort by volunteering to participate in walks, attend fundraisers, sell tickets and more. She has been recognized as Nurse of the Year by the Leukemia Research Foundation. She also has made a significant impact on the unit through her involvement in the nursing shared governance structure, particularly in the area of quality. Donets collects data, monitors staff for hand washing and keeps track of data for such things as falls. Through her efforts, the unit has seen a 50% decrease in falls and is at 100% compliance for hand hygiene. Her nominator wrote: “Alla is a wonderful individual who has dedicated her life to oncology. She has chosen to be active in the community and volunteer her time despite having two sons who have hearing deficits.”Ginny Fowler, APN
Ginny Fowler, APN, MS, CPNP, CPN, CPON
Advanced Practice Nurse
Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital, Oak Lawn, Ill.
Fowler is an APN who serves general pediatric patients and their families as well as a large population of children with a hematologic/oncologic diagnosis. According to her nominator, Fowler and a physician helped start the Cure It organization. Founded in 2011, the foundation is a not-for-profit organization which supports children diagnosed with cancer and works toward helping to find a cure. The foundation initially was developed to raise funds for CureSearch, a national organization supporting pediatric cancer research. The Cure It mission is to support pediatric cancer care and research at both the national and local levels. Locally, the Cure It team supports communities that sustain their mission by directly giving back to children and families affected by childhood cancer. Through her fundraising work, the foundation has raised more than $100,000.Susana Gonzalez, RN
Susana Gonzalez, RN, MSN, MHA, CNML
Director of Perinatal Services
MacNeal Hospital, Berwyn, Ill.
In her second six-year term, Gonzalez volunteers on the executive committee for the board of directors of Mujeres Latinas en Accion, a social service and advocacy organization. In 2007, the agency recognized her as a community leader, honoring her with the Maria Maruca Martinez Community Service Award. For more than 10 years, Gonzalez has volunteered to serve on the board of directors for the Chicago chapter of the March of Dimes. She serves on the board of directors for the Chicago Bilingual Nurse Consortium, dedicated to guiding and educating women on becoming RNs in the United States. She is an active member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, in which she volunteers on the awards and scholarships committee. She spends the holiday week each November giving free flu shots for the homeless and serving them dinner at a local church.Lisa Williams, APN
Lisa Williams, APN, CCNS, AACRN
HIV Advanced Practice Nurse
Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago
Williams is an APN caring for HIV patients in the infectious disease clinic. She has championed rapid HIV testing protocols in the ED and is collaborating with general internal medicine to increase screening for HIV among patients in its clinics. Williams has made three trips to Africa as part of the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. She traveled to Nigeria in 2009 and 2010 and was conference planner and lecturer for both four-day conferences. Each was attended by about 80 Nigerian nurses. Last year in Tanzania, she took part in two, four-day training sessions for about 140 local nurses. Williams is an active member of NMHs Advanced Practice Nurse Advisory Committee and Mid-Level Provider Committee. For the past 10 years, she has captained and coordinated a large team to participate in the national AIDS Walk. She also volunteers at Vital Bridges, a provider of nutrition services for nearly 2,000 HIV/AIDS clients annually.