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Saint Francis Hospital RN wins Advancing and Leading the Profession honor

The stage was set May 15 for a night of celebration and admiration for the 30 regional finalists of Nursing Spectrum’s 2012 Nursing Excellence program. The stellar event, held at the beautiful Chicago Marriott Schaumburg in Schaumburg, Ill., culminated in the regional awards presentation in which six of the 30 were named regional winners.

The evening was co-hosted by Eileen Williamson, RN, MSN, senior vice president and CNE, and Cheryl Portner, RN, MSN, vice president, staff development and training/nurse executive, Greater Chicago for Gannett Healthcare Group, publisher of, who expressed the company’s continued commitment to honoring the many exceptional nurses who can be found in the Greater Chicago area.

“We consider it a true privilege to recognize nursing excellence in this beautiful way,” Williamson said. “We wait with great anticipation for this night all year; truly it is one of the highlights of the year for us at”

During the course of the evening, guest facilities that participated in the Honor Your Own program presented their staff honorees with certificates of appreciation. Each of the 30 Nursing Excellence regional finalists were garnished with a corsage and received a plaque bearing his or her name and regional achievement. Of those 30, six extraordinary nurses were chosen to represent Greater Chicago in the national Nurse Excellence awards to be announced this fall. The six regional winners each received an elegant sail-shaped, metallic, etched glass award to commemorate the evening.

Lydia Dacenko-Grawe

Advancing and Leading the Profession
Lydia Dacenko-Grawe
Director, Patient Care Services
Saint Francis Hospital, Evanston, Ill.

As the celebratory sounds from Dacenko-Grawe’s colleagues echoed through the Chicago Marriott Schaumburg ballroom, the 2012 Advancing and Leading the Profession winner had a moment of pause.

“In a way, I feel a little selfish because they all deserve awards for everything that we’ve accomplished together,” Dacenko-Grawe said. “I work with them every day. I see how much they put into everything we do. This is a very big surprise.”

Thanks to her guidance, Dacenko-Grawe has overseen plenty of successes, including the hospital’s successful Magnet recognition in 2010.

While serving as Magnet director, Dacenko-Grawe also chairs the hospital’s Evidence-Based Practice/Research and Performance Improvement councils.

Just as colleagues feted her accomplishments during the Nursing Excellence nomination process, Dacenko-Grawe likes to do the same with staff.

“I really love working with the staff nurses,” she said. “I enjoy reflecting what they do back to themselves. They often don’t see how wonderful the things they do are.”

Dacenko-Grawe enjoys sharing compliments about how her nurses handled a difficult patient, resolved an issue or completed a project.

“That, to me, is one of the biggest rewards,” she said.

A strong supporter of education, Dacenko-Grawe leads the Nursing Education department, established the hospital’s annual Certified Nurses Day celebration and was instrumental in developing a multidisciplinary simulation lab, which is used by seven nursing schools and numerous healthcare professionals.

“We’re sharing the wealth with everybody,” she said. “We’re using it for our new grads, but we’re also using it in our annual competency sessions with nurses. We’re seeing a lot of benefits from it.”

Amid the myriad technologies that a hospital offers, Dacenko-Grawe is most in awe of the caring shown by her nurses.

“There’s all this technology around you, and the nurse is that one voice that you want to hear,” she said. “There’s still the human being in the middle of all of the technology.”

Barry Bottino is a regional editor.

By | 2021-06-03T11:32:24-04:00 June 4th, 2012|Categories: Nursing News|0 Comments

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