Nurse.com Nursing Spectrum has chosen five finalists from the Greater Chicago region for the Education and Mentorship 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.
Karen Egenes, RN, MS, EdD
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Health Promotion
Loyola University Chicago, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing
Egenes, who teaches undergraduate and graduate nursing courses, leads a community health clinical rotation in Surrey, England. In addition to her work at Loyola, Egenes serves as a co-consultant to the Student Nurses Association of Illinois and as director at large for the Illinois Nurses Association. Also, she has served on the board of directors for the Howard Area Community Center, which assists low-income individuals and families in Chicagos Rogers Park neighborhood through educational and wellness programs. As co-author of “Faithfully Yours — A history of nursing in Illinois,” she helped bring a greater awareness of the professions development in the state. She has spoken nationally and internationally while publishing and completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Her nominator wrote: “Students note her enthusiasm for the profession and a willingness to become involved and inspire others to do the same.”Janice Nuuhiwa, RN
Janice Nuuhiwa, RN, MSN, APN/CNS, CPON
Staff Development Specialist
Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago
Nuuhiwa heads a national committee for the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses and is a past recipient of the CPON of the Year Award. She has been the keynote speaker for a national APHON conference and is an adviser to the board of the local APHON chapter. She recruited senior nursing leadership to provide monetary support from Children’s Memorial to fund several APHON awards, creating a name for the institution as a strong supporter of ongoing learning and professional development for pediatric hematology/oncology nurses. She promotes certification for pediatric hematology/oncology nurses. Nuuhiwa takes part in medical missions around the world, as well as locally through her church. Her nominator wrote: “I had the opportunity to witness Janice in action this past August as she invited me to volunteer for her churchs annual free clinic. The event was flawlessly orchestrated, and through Janices hard work, over 500 underserved Chicago community members were able to receive health, nutrition, social work and legal advice all in one day.”Angela Sass, RN
Angela Sass, RN, MS
McHenry County College, Crystal Lake, Ill.
Sass, an ICU RN, was the first nurse hired to teach in McHenry County Colleges new associate degree in nursing program in 2008 after completing the nursing education graduate program at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Ill. She has taught all but one course in the program. Her nominator wrote: “It was not expected that she would be the best nursing instructor this veteran director of nursing has ever seen, but that is exactly what Angela has become.” Sass developed an electronic health records system to allow students to chart their clinical activities and patient observations, mimicking hospital documentation systems. Through Sass leadership, all 50 MCC nursing graduates have passed the NCLEX-RN exam and obtained jobs as nurses. She served as the faculty adviser of the schools student nurse association and led a student trip to New Orleans the past two years, to volunteer with the St. Bernard Project, which helps rebuild homes of Hurricane Katrina victims.Melanie Siedlinski, RN
Melanie Siedlinski, RN, MSN, CDE
Clinical Diabetes Nurse Educator
Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Glendale Heights, Ill.
Siedlinski has 32 years of experience in diabetes management. Her scope includes partnership with the hospitals endocrinologist, leadership and oversight of the Corporate Hyperglycemia Collaborative, outpatient diabetes management classes, individualized patient follow-up, and extensive outreach in the communities within the organizations service area. Her outpatient services focus on older and lower-income clients. She provides semi-annual screening and education to hospital employees. Only 60% of the staffs RNs passed a diabetes exam she administered upon her hiring a year and a half ago. A year later, that number rose to 93%. Siedlinski coordinated a grant from the Glendale Heights Chamber of Commerce targeted toward diabetes screening for children within community elementary schools and served 200 students. She provides quarterly lectures to seniors in the community, as well as coordinating diabetes screening at numerous local events, screening 500 residents during 2011.Maria Suvacarov, RN
Maria Suvacarov, RN, MSN, CCRN, CEN, CVRN
Critical Care Clinical Nurse Educator ICU/PCU/ED
Adventist Hinsdale (Ill.) Hospital
Since joining the hospital two years ago, Suvacarov has helped 70 staff members seek certification. Staff certification in the critical care and emergency department has risen from less than 10% to almost 50% since she was hired. She leads the Advance Nurse Practice Committee and is a member of the Magnet Committee. Suvacarov is part of the Clinical Practice Committee and the multidisciplinary Critical Care and Emergency Department Team. She is a Fundamental Critical Care Support instructor and is in charge of the FCCS program at the hospital. She developed and led nursing grand rounds on therapeutic hypothermia protocol and is the recipient of the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses. Her nominator wrote: “When someone needs help figuring out a difficult case, shes the first to raise her hand. She has risen from a bedside nurse to a top educator. Shes an exemplary clinician, teacher and role model to all.”