Structural Empowerment

Nursing's biggest night celebrates 2019 Exemplar nurses making an incredible impact
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It’s been an incredible year for Carle nursing, the 2019 Nurse Examplar Awards night was another opportunity to celebrate the excellence of Carle Nurses.

Nurse Exemplars and Friends of Nursing awards are provided to a select group of Carle staff annually. Each winner is nominated by a peer or provider for their outstanding level of excellence, quality, collaboration, safety, best practice and contribution to the nursing profession and/or their community.

While every year it has been custom to recognize several Exemplar Nurses and one Nurse Leader, starting this year an additional category of Legacy Nurse Exemplar will be honored. The new category aims to acknowledge a nurse who has contributed to nursing goals and served Carle patients for 30 years or more.

For one of this year’s Legacy honorees, she couldn’t see herself doing anything else.

“Nursing is one of the few professions that give the opportunity to be part of someone's most significant moments of their life, birth though death; for me it all comes down to the opportunity to bring comfort, healing and kindness to all my patients,” said Digestive Health Institute nurse Jan Klimas, RN. “Nursing is in my blood. My mother and her sisters are nurses, each of their daughters are nurses. My daughter, Carrie, is a nurse here at Carle now. My youngest daughter will be starting nursing school this fall and has been a Carle summer volunteer for four summers. I love nursing and promote it, sometimes unintentionally.”

It's because of the dedication of Klimas and others that our healthcare system is able to provide the type of care that our community has come to depend on. With secured designations like Magnet three times, Pathway to Excellence and Practice Transition Accreditation Program (PTAP), nurses feel empowered within the care team and are supported to extend their knowledgebase for better patient outcomes.

This is part of why Legacy Nurse honoree, Carol Rinehart, RN chose to stay with the organization through the decades of mostly ups but sometimes downs.

“It’s home and Carle is my family. I have the privilege of working alongside an amazing team,” said Rinehart. “Carle has provided for my professional growth, as well as my family. We don’t walk out on family, we stick together through the good times as well as the tough times.”

Nurse Exemplar Honorees 2019
Nurse Legacy Exemplars
Jan Klimas, BSN, Digestive Health
Carol Rinehart, RN, Emergency Department and Information Technology

Nurse Exemplar Leader
Avie Pagel, BSN, Nurse manager, Carle Rantoul and Ambulatory Float Pool

Nurse Exemplars
Lisa Dillon, RN, Chest Medicine Clinic
Michele Lawhead, RN, Cancer Center
Annabelle Elena G. Maylas, CCRN, Critical Care Unit
Allison Reifsteck, BSN, Digestive Health
Diane Kouzmanoff Williford, CGRN, Digestive Health

Friends of Nursing
Sara Buehnerkemper, PharmD, Pharmacy manager, Richland Memorial Hospital
Rick Shaffer, HCT, Digestive Health

Twenty Carle nurses were awarded CAPE nursing education scholarships to support their efforts toward advancing their nursing expertise with a BSN degree. All recipients already contribute to Carle patients and members and with added education, supported by the CAPE scholarship, hope to continue to support that mission.

To find out more about the amazing talents these Nurses and Friends of Nurses bring every day to the Carle healthcare system, read the recognition ceremony program. Visit Carle on Facebook and Twitter to individually recognize and congratulate this year’s winners. #Carle_Nurses