Tag Archives: Clarkson College

2018 March of Dimes Nurse of the Year

January 16, 2019 by

Nursing is the largest profession in health care, and one of the most recognizable.  Professionals from psychiatrists to surgeons use nurses each day to help care for patients with tasks from administering medicines to handing them tools of their trade.

Nurses labor tirelessly, often for 12 or more hours at a time. On Nov. 15, 2018, the March of Dimes took an evening to thank those vital professionals taking vital signs, and Omaha Magazine was in attendance as an event partner.

Nominations are blinded, then scored by the volunteer committee. Scores were based on credentials, certifications, their proudest outcomes, leadership, professional associations, and achievements. The Nurse of the Year is determined by the nurse with the highest overall score.

We again thank the nurses nominated for the March of Dimes awards, for taking care of us, each and every day.

Nurse of the Year Committee

Nicole Caswell, CHI Health Immanuel

Teresa Hultquist, UNMC College of Nursing

Cindy Mirfield, Methodist Women’s Hospital

Wendy Muir, Bryan Health

Christine Murphy, Nebraska Medicine

Sue Nuss, Nebraska Medicine

Melissa Schmaderer, Madonna Rehabilitation Center

Kris Stapp, VNA

Lisa Strasheim, CHI Health

Judy Thomas, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center

Judy Timmons, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center

Susie Ward, Methodist College

Chrissy Wilber, Boys Town National Research Hospital

March of Dimes Staff

Mackenzie Hawkins, Development Specialist

Kristin Schemahorn, Development Manager

Kristina Debus, Development Manager


Nurse of the Year

Jean Armstrong-Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital, Family Resource Center and Shaken Baby Task Force

Jean Armstrong has been devoted to creating and implementing a Shaken Baby Task Force. She has developed an educational curriculum, organized a conference, and created multiple educational videos. Her efforts were first recognized on a national level in 2000 when First Lady Laura Bush made a stop at her hospital.

Armstrong has helped Iowa Senator Amanda Regan support Senate Bill 349 to establish a Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Program through the Iowa Department of Health.

This Nurse of the Year was also instrumental in creating the only national 24-hour Crying Baby Helpline in the U.S.

 

Rising Star

Family Choice Award

Excellence in Academics


Betsy Miller-Methodist Hospital, Cardiac Care

Miriah Jansonius-Methodist Women’s Hospital, Labor & Delivery

Judi Dunn-Clarkson College, Continuing Education

Excellence in Advanced Practice

Excellence in Advocacy

Excellence in Clinical Excellence

Judy Placek-Nebraska Medicine, Plastic Surgery/Burn Surgery

Maria Lander-Nebraska Medicine, Solid Organ Transplant Unit

Sylvia Hanousek-CHI Health, Labor & Delivery, Post Partum and Mother-Baby

Excellence in Informatics

Excellence in Leadership & Mentoring

Excellence in Pediatrics

Ryan Zulkoski-Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Nursing Education/Nursing Informatics

Anne Thallas-Methodist Hospital, Medical Surgical

Megan B. Sorensen-Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Transport

Excellence in Pediatrics in School Health

Excellence in Research & Evidence Based Practice

Excellence in Service to Veterans

Twlya Kleen-Storm Lake Community Schools, Elementary School Nurse

Bernadette Vacha-Nebraska Medicine, Lung Transplant

(No Photo Available) Lisa Crouch-Veterans Health Administration, Ambulatory Care

Spirit of Nursing Award

Spirit of Nursing Award

Spirit of Nursing Award

Lindsey Ayles-Nebraska Medicine, Cardiothoracic Surgery Joan Blum-Clarkson College, Oncology Nursing Michelle Brester-Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Pediatric Surgery

Spirit of Nursing Award

Spirit of Nursing Award

Spirit of Nursing Award

Cathrin Carithers-UNMC College of Nursing, Kearney Division

Tiffany Keller-CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center, Post Partum—Lactation RN

Jaki Kenney-Nebraska Medicine, Werner Special Care Unit

Spirit of Nursing Award

Spirit of Nursing Award

Spirit of Nursing Award

(No Photo Available)Jennifer Lantis-Great Plains Health, Infection Prevent

Kimberly Marsh-Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Barbara Petersen-Great Plains Health, Quality

Spirit of Nursing Award

Spirit of Nursing Award

Spirit of Nursing Award

Kimberly Peterson-Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Performance Improvement

Julie Sundermeier-Nebraska Medicine, NICU

Danielle Treska-CHI Health Lakeside Hospital, ICU

Spirit of Nursing Award

Anne Wilber-UNMC College of Nursing, Northern Division (Norfolk)

Student Nursing Award

Student Nursing Award

Student Nursing Award

Taira Anderson-University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing, Northern Division

Dania Cervantes Ayala-College of Saint Mary

Racheal Dawn Daigger-UNMC College of Nursing, Kearney Division

Student Nursing Award

Student Nursing Award

Student Nursing Award

(No Photo Available) Katherine Glaser-Creighton University College of Nursing

Sara Glaser-Bryan College of Health Sciences

Sarah Henry-Purdue University Global School of Nursing

Student Nursing Award

Student Nursing Award

Student Nursing Award

Kathryn Noble-Nebraska Wesleyan University

Tiffany Pardew-Clarkson College

Megan Reiten-Nebraska Methodist College

Student Nursing Award

Student Nursing Award

Student Nursing Award

Jiosajandy Garcia Reyna-University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing

Stephanie Shoning-College of Saint Mary

Breanna Swanson-Bryan College of Health Sciences College of Nursing

Student Nursing Award

Ashley Tagart-College of Saint Mary

Nurse of the Year Nominees

Boys Town Clinics

  • Sara Pfeifer, Pediatric Clinic

Boys Town National Research Hospital

  • Kayla Gentrup, Pediatric Gastroenterology
  • Stephanie Hernandez, Surgical Floor
  • Nerissa Imada, Surgery Center
  • Autumn Rowe, Surgery Center
  • June Root, Pediatrics – Inpatient

Bryan Health

  • Christie Bartelt, Rehabilitation
  • Julie Bratt, Care Management

CHI Health

  • Sarah Barker, Family Birth Center
  • Susan Brill, Intensive Care Unit
  • Rebecca Gardner, Good Samaritan
    Surgery Department
  • Sylvia Hanousek, LDRP: L&D, Post Partum, and Mother Baby
  • Katelyn Henriksen, Orthopedics
  • Jennifer Lemmons, Hospital
  • Debra Saldi, Behavioral Serivces
  • Rebecca Seier, Infection Prevention
  • Lowellyn Steinkraus, Plainview Hospital Specialty Clinic
  • Heidi Gall, Rural Health clinic

CHI Health CUMC – Bergan Mercy

  • Aaron Allen, ICU
  • Kara Aldana, NICU
  • Alicia Buechler, HVI – Cardiac Universal Unit
  • Kara Johnson, Obstetrics
  • Tara Kiichler, NICU
  • Sarah Kumm, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Rhonda Meyer, Heart and Vascular
  • Tracy Meyers, NICU
  • Donna Myers, NICU
  • Emily Oppel, Intensive Care Unit
  • Elena Oquendo, NICU
  • Erin McQuinn, House Operations
  • Guylah, Med/Surg/Ortho/Intermediate/Dialysis
  • Heather Reese, ER

CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center

  • Tiffany Keller, Post Partum-Lactation

CHI Health Good Samaritan

  • Kelsey Daake, Leadership
  • Del Miller, Orthopedics/Oncology

CHI Health Immanuel

  • Hannah Baldwin, PCCU
  • Crisann Hannum, Critical Care
  • Mandy Iverson, Labor and Delivery
  • Mandy Iverson, Obstetrics
  • Mandolyn Klinkhammer, Labor and Delivery
  • Cynthia Lesch-Busse, Nursing Administration
  • Kay Maguire, Medical Surgical
  • Carrie Meyer, Labor and Delivery
  • Jaclyn Seiboldt, Medical Surgical Oncology
  • Elizabeth Steadman, Critical Care
  • Christy Todd, Labor and Delivery
  • Lisa, Labor and Delivery

CHI Health Lakeside Hospital

  • Christine Enterline, Surgery
  • Emily Mass, Med/Surg/Oncology
  • Jordan Novak, Med-Surg/Oncology
  • Katie Swanson, Med-Surg/Ortho
  • Danielle Treska, ICU
  • Jill Yosten, Ambulatory Infusion Center
  • Hanah Zehnder, Float Pool
  • Aysha Classen, ED

CHI Health Mercy Corning

  • Chimene Cobb, Outpatient Specialty Clinic

CHI Health Mercy Council Bluffs

  • Marie Baker, Critical Care Unit
  • Ranita Hiller, Post Critical Care
  • Lori Woodrow, Psychiatric Nurse

CHI Health Midlands

  • Vicki Gall, Medical/Surgical
  • Julie Nichols, Surgical Services

CHI Health Missouri Valley

  • Jodi Potts, Rural Health clinic

CHI Health St. Elizabeth

  • Emily Bachman, Ortho/PEDS
  • Lori Birdzell, Observation
  • Nicole Ragon, Critical Care Unit
  • Tricia Topolski, Emergency
  • Christine Vogt, OBGYN
  • GayAnn Wagner, NICU
  • Kelly Watton, Primary Care

CHI Health St. Francis

  • Darla Cleveland, Medical Oncology
  • Lacey Pavlovsky, Quality Management-Infection Control

CHI Health St. Mary’s

  • Loree Mort, Labor and Delivery

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center

  • Carol Beare, Med-Surg 6 – Nursing Informatics
  • Alicia Bremer, Performance Improvement
  • Michelle Brester, Pediatric Surgery
  • Erin Hartman, Emergency
  • Chase Hinzmann, Critical Care Transport
  • Jill Jensen, Performance Improvement
  • Vanessa Le, NICU, Nursing Informatics
  • Kimberly Marsh, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Katherine McCollough, Dialysis
  • Kimberly Peterson, Performance Improvement
  • Kathy Powers, CARES/PACU
  • Katherine “Kitty” Rasmussen, 5 Med-Surg
  • Megan B. Sorensen, Transport
  • Ryan Zulkoski, Nursing Education/Nursing Informatics

Children’s Physicians—Bellevue

  • Nicole Wallin, Lactation

Children’s Physicians—Plattsmouth

  • Rebecca Robbins, Pediatrics

Children’s Physicians—Gretna

  • Amy Wortmann, Pediatrics

Clarkson College

  • Joan Blum, Oncology NursingJudi Dunn, Continuing Education

Craig HomeCare

  • Amy Lauby, Pediatric Home Health Care

Fremont Health

  • Desa Clark, NursingTerese Moore, Labor and Delivery

Great Plains Health

  • Jennifer Lantis, Infection Prevention
  • Jill Stevenson, Joint Replacement-Orthopaedics
  • Wendy Ward, Quality-Risk Management
  • Barbara Petersen, Quality

Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital

  • Jane Bilau, Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation
  • Mari Ramsey, Acute Rehab

Methodist Hospital

  • Jean Beumler, Palliative Care
  • Ashley Colburn, Rehabilitation
  • Rachael Coufal, Progressive  Care Unit
  • Carrie Kelseth, Cardiac Care
  • Kelly Menousek, Emergency Department
  • Betsy Miller, Cardiac Care
  • Tiffany Pettit, Ortho-Neuro
  • Mandy Stockdale, Rehabilitation
  • Anne Thallas, Medical Surgical
  • Catherine Wolpert, Medical Surgical

Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital

  • Jean Armstrong, Family Resource Center and Shaken Baby Task Force

Methodist Women’s Hospital

  • Miriah Jansonius, Labor & Delivery
  • Sheri Kimmey, NICU/Outreach
  • Shonda Knop, High Risk Obstetrics
  • Amy Rapp, GYN, Postpartum

Nebraska Medicine

  • Megan Armbrust, Women’s and Infant’s Services
  • Lindsey Ayles, Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Claire Baweja, Emergency Department – BMC
  • Lindsie Buchholz, Enterprise Practice Support
  • Ashley Carne, Medical ICU
  • Barabara Cowden, Werner Intensive Care Unit
  • Lyndie Farr, Critical Care Anesthesia
  • Stephanie Floth, UNL Student Health Center
  • Caitlin Hagen, Cardiology-Progressive Care
  • Terri Heineman, Oncology Treatment Center at Werner Cancer Center
  • Samantha Jordan-Schaulis, Pediatric ICU
  • Jaki Kenney, Werner Special Care Unit
  • Teresa Kerkman, Medical ICU
  • Susan Knutson, NICU
  • Margee Langer, Oncology
  • Maria Lander, Solid Organ Transplant Unit
  • Riley Lyons, Werner Progressive Care Unit
  • Courtney Marshall, Nursing Development Specialist
  • Megan Myers, Medical ICU
  • Denise McGrath, Women and Infant Services
  • Sarah Newman, NICU
  • Sara Neumann, Cardiology
  • LeaAyn Norton, Clarkson Family Medicine Clinic
  • Megan Pierce, Women’s Services
  • Judy Placek, Plastic Surgery/Burn Surgery
  • Lori Schmida, Kidney/pancreas transplant
  • Michael Schrage, Emergency Department
  • Danielle Schulz, Emergency Department
  • Carmen Shannon, SICU
  • Amy Steinauer, Community & Corporate Relations
  • Angie Strain, Heart and Vascular
  • Julie Sundermeier, NICU
  • Gisele Tlusty, Specialty Care Unit
  • Tina Twymon, Clarkson Family Medicine Clinic
  • Bernadette Vacha, Lung Transplant
  • Lisa Wulf, Emergency

Nebraska Methodist College

  • Alice Kindschuh, DNP

Omaha Public Schools

  • Sharon Wade, School Health

Saunders Medical Center

  • Patricia Kucera, Long Term Care

Skinner Magnet Elementary School

  • Shannon Cunningham, Health Office

Storm Lake Community Schools

  • Twlya Kleen, Elementary School Nurse

UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s

  • Christi-Ann Bullock, NICU
  • Brenda Crank, Mother Baby

UNMC College of Nursing

  • Cathrin Carithers, Kearney Division
  • Anne Wilber, Northern Division (Norfolk)

Veterans Administration Health Care

  • Lisa Crouch, Ambulatory Care

VNA of the Midlands

  • Jennifer Dannen, Maternal Child

West Holt Memorial Hospital

  • Jessica Thomassen, Med/Surg, ER, Surgery

West Central District Health Department

  • Brandi Lemon, Outreach Director

This list was printed in the January/February 2019 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Young and Surviving Cancer

May 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

It was just eight weeks after Amberly Wagner-Connolly had given birth to twins when she received the devastating news that she had breast cancer. She was just 29.

“I knew that life as I knew it would never be the same,” she recalls. “I was so shocked. Why me? Why would I have these beautiful kids and then so soon after find this out?”

As it turns out, the experience has come to be one of the most positive things that has happened in Wagner-Connolly’s life. It also became the springboard that put her goals in motion.

“It has helped guide me in my life and my career,” she says. “It opened my eyes to how much worse things could be and inspired me to do more with my life. Through cancer, I realized that I wanted to go into public health where I can help others. I know I am a better mom, friend, teacher, nurse, wife—everything. All of my roles have been affected in a positive way because of [cancer].”

On March 1, Wagner-Connolly celebrated her four-year anniversary of being a cancer survivor, and while she has managed to make it a positive in her life, she acknowledges that it was also one of the most difficult and trying times in her life.

“It has helped guide me in my life and my career. It opened my eyes to how much worse things could be and inspired me to do more with my life.” – Amberly Wagner-Connolly, survivor

The number of young adults who are diagnosed with cancer is very low, usually less than 5 percent, depending on the cancer, says Margaret Block, M.D., a medical oncologist at Nebraska Cancer Specialists. But for those who do receive the disturbing news, it can be a very emotional and stressful journey.

Like many young cancer patients, Wagner-Connolly experienced the challenges and emotional turmoil common among people her age. She struggled with the shock of being diagnosed at such an early age; she feared not being around to see her children grow up; and she grew weary from juggling two tiny twins and a four-year-old daughter when she could barely take care of herself.

Her family and friends and people she didn’t even know became her biggest supporters. Her husband worked nights and was able to help as much as he could during the day. Her mother and mother-in-law also provided help when they could and were there for emergencies.

Her co-workers at The Nebraska Medical Center held a fundraiser for her. Several friends of her sister who work at Lincoln Financial Group also organized a fundraiser/auction and raised more than $6,000 to help her with her medical bills.

This touched Wagner-Connolly greatly and was a turning point that helped her keep fighting. “It made me see the good in the world,” she says. “When complete strangers reached out to help me, I became determined that I had to do something with my life to make an impact like they had for me.”

“The number of young adults who are diagnosed with cancer is very low, usually less than 5 percent, depending on the cancer.” – Margaret Block, M.D., medical oncologist with Nebraska Cancer Specialists

Determined to not let her surgery and chemotherapy treatment slow her down, Wagner-Connolly was able to continue her master’s studies, finishing on her target date. She also kept a challenging work schedule as a nurse at The Nebraska Medical Center.

Being able to maintain some control over other parts of her life was important to her mental well-being. There were days during her six-month chemotherapy regimen when she felt as if she couldn’t go on. “I just had to take it day by day,” she recalls. “I did a lot of reality checks.”

Having goals—such as seeing her children grow up, completing her master’s degree, and wanting to live to make a difference in the world—fueled her will to keep fighting.

“Amberly did an amazing job,” says Peggy Jarrell, LCSW, OSW-C, a licensed clinical social worker and a certified oncology social worker at Nebraska Methodist Hospital, who worked with her during her treatment. “Motherhood can be stressful enough…put cancer on top of that, and you have a lot to deal with. [She] was able to maintain her own and still stay active in the outside world.”

Jarrell says it’s very important for cancer patients to establish a good support network of people and friends who can help them through this period. She also recommends having a designated support person who can accompany them at appointments and act as their second set of ears. Many hospitals now provide nurse navigators to help patients “navigate” the health care system.

Stacy Patzloff, RN, BSN, a certified oncology nurse navigator at Alegent Creighton Health, says nurse navigators work closely with the patient and the cancer support team to make sure everything is coordinated. They’re there to attend appointments with them and to act as a support person who is available 24/7.

“Motherhood can be stressful enough…put cancer on top of that, and you have a lot to deal with.” – Peggy Jarrell, licensed clinical social worker and certified oncology social worker with Nebraska Methodist Hospital

Support is key, agrees Dr. Block, whether it’s family, friends, a support group, or seeking the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist. Exercise can also be a good thing and may help you get through chemotherapy with less fatigue, she notes.

Other tips that may help young patients get through treatment and recovery include:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from others.
  • Take time for yourself if you’re having a bad day.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Seek the nutrition advice of dietitians on staff at the hospital where you are receiving treatment.
  • Take care of your physical well-being. Programs like Alegent Creighton Health’s Image Recovery program provide cancer patients with wigs and helps them deal with hair, nail, and skin problems that are unique to cancer patients.

Today, Wagner-Connolly is very active in a number of projects to help other young victims of cancer. She started the group Survivors Raising Kids for young parents who need help with childcare during treatment and recovery. She is on the board of Camp Kesem for kids who have had a parent with cancer. She is also a nursing instructor at Clarkson College where she teaches public health and is pursuing a doctorate in global health.

“I know how lucky I am,” she says. “I want to make a difference in this world. No one should have to face cancer and certainly not a young mom.”

And for those who do, Wagner-Connolly is committed to easing that journey.