Special Promotional Section
Oakland University | School of Nursing
Honoring exemplary nurses and nursing care since 1988.
For 26 years, the Oakland University School of Nursing has been proud to honor Michigan’s top nurses. As an institution devoted to furthering the field of nursing, it is a privilege to bring together talented, committed nurses; community leaders; and health care professionals from across the state who are dedicated to helping us all achieve health and well-being.
The Nightingale Awards for Nursing Excellence®, the only event of its kind in Michigan, serves to provide scholarships for nursing students and funding for faculty research projects, and ensures that the School of Nursing has the most authentic and advanced technology for educating future health care professionals — thereby improving the lives and safety of the patients and families with whom nurses work.
Over the past quarter-century, hundreds of hard-working, heroic, and honorable nurses from around Michigan, Ohio, and Canada have been lauded at the Nightingale Awards for Nursing Excellence®. Nurses are nominated by their supervisors, colleagues, physicians, other health care providers, patients, and other nurse supporters. Eight winners and eight runners-up from seven categories are highlighted at the Nightingale Awards banquet and celebration. Winners receive a solid bronze statue of Florence Nightingale and a check for $1,000. Runners-up receive a plaque and a pin. In addition, there are three finalists in the People’s Choice category. These individuals were nominated by former patients, and the winner is announced during the event.
Nursing Administration Winner
Sister Mary Ellen Howard
St. Frances Cabrini Clinic of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church
Nominated by Anne Marie Bradley
Described as “a nurse leader for the 21st century,” Sr. Mary Ellen Howard has devoted her life to God and to service. Sr. Mary Ellen serves as the executive director of the Cabrini Clinic, which serves more than 4,500 working, uninsured patients each year who may otherwise not receive medical care. Not one to shy away from difficult issues, Sr. Mary Ellen is an outspoken advocate for policy changes, including the Affordable Care Act. Through her involvement in her parish of St. Charles Borromeo and the Religious Sisters of Mercy community, Sr. Mary Ellen provides an example of leadership and compassion to those who interact with her.
Nursing Administration Runner Up
Oakwood Healthcare System
Nominated by Barbara R. Medvec
Mohamad Rustom started a state-of-the-art, systemwide clinical language access program that operates 24/7 and serves four acute care hospitals, 38 ambulatory sites, and more than 9,000 employees and 1,200 physicians. It is cost-effective, highly efficient, and built as a patient-centered model from scientific evidence to eliminate communication barriers. This system offers full-time interpreters, state-qualified American Sign Language interpreters, and on-site document translators. It has reduced medical errors and increased patient safety and satisfaction. Rustom was also involved in a clinical study analyzing the length of stay between two different groups of Limited English Proficiency patients, investigating the positive and negative impacts interpreters have in a clinical setting.
Advanced Nurse Winner
DMC Hutzel Women’s Hospital
Nominated by Faye Mckinnon
During her eight years as a clinical nurse specialist for perinatal services at the Detroit Medical Center’s Hutzel Women’s Hospital, Dr. Marci Simon-Burrell has undertaken numerous initiatives to promote patient well-being and support nurses in their roles as caregivers. Dr. Simon-Burrell teaches a Parent and Family Discharge class and implemented an initiative to help the hospital increase its rate of breastfeeding by promoting skin-to-skin contact. New nurses at Hutzel Women’s Hospital are immediately introduced to Dr. Simon-Burrell’s professionalism and effectiveness through the orientation she provides and coordinates for new employees. Her efforts were also integral to Hutzel Women’s Hospital becoming recognized as a Center for Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology.
Advanced Nurse Runner Up
Nominated by Marlene H. Mullin
As a nurse practitioner in the trauma department, Susanna Sirianni has developed many initiatives that have resulted in patient improvements and cost savings. The “Improving Sepsis Care Through an Interprofessional Approach” project resulted in a decrease in patient mortality and length of tay, and improved the time required for antibiotics to be distributed to patients. Sirianni improved the hospital’s ICU culture, which resulted in n increase in patient activity and assisted in eliminating unnecessary phlebotomy and diagnostic imaging in ICU patients — saving approximately $1 million in blood transfusion administration costs. She also created a method to monitor daily patient outcomes, and provides continuing education for the Rapid Response Team.
Nursing in the Community Winner
St. John Providence Hospital
Nominated by Nancy McMenemy
The community in which Karen Straetmans lives and works has undoubtedly felt the enormous impact of her presence. Straetmans has been instrumental in the effort to transform what is currently a mobile medical unit into a permanent medical clinic that will serve an estimated 8,000 Detroiters annually through a partnership with St. John Providence Health System and Grace Community Church. In addition, she has helped numerous women and children overcome seemingly insurmountable odds through her work as a mediation advocate for adults and families struggling with addiction. As an advocate for exercise and nutrition, Straetmans has facilitated programs such as the Walk to Jerusalem, and implemented a children’s nutrition day and nutrition education programs in her community.
Nursing in the Community Runner Up
Henry Ford e-Home Care
Nominated by Mary Hagen/Fran Gosen
Jesse Cruz is the telehealth coordinator for Henry Ford e-Home Care. He is a major in the United States Air Force and a proud member of the USAF Reserve Unit, and he served in Operation Desert Storm. The number of high-risk patients admitted to home health services has increased by 135 percent, while overall hospital admission rates decreased more than 1 percent over the same period. For high-risk patients receiving telehealth services, the drop in 30-day readmissions is 4 percent for those experiencing the same diagnoses, thanks to Cruz and his team. Cruz helped create pathways for home health patients, and developed comprehensive booklets and easy-to-use tracking logs for patients to use in their homes.
Distinguished Alumni Award Winner
Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe
Nominated by Rick Swaine
Anne Stewart is the interim chief nursing officer at Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe. This “practicing” administrator has been juggling her responsibilities as the director of nursing and interim chief nursing officer, never missing a beat. Stewart takes a hands-on approach to leadership and meets with every nurse, at every level, to listen to their concerns. She is recognized by those who work with her as someone who is even-keeled, fair, detail-oriented, approachable, and one of the hospital’s greatest assets. Sharing her expertise, she was responsible for the hospital receiving the World Health Organization’s “Baby Friendly” designation — the only hospital in Michigan to have been recognized with this honor.
Distinguished Alumni Award Runner Up
Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe
Nominated by Cathleen Solecki
Suzanne Gardner is the director of quality and patient safety at Beaumont Hospital in Grosse Pointe. She is certified as a Six Sigma Black Belt and is a Kaizen leader in her division, and is an expert in Joint Commission standards interpretation and expectations. Because of her enthusiasm and expertise in creating and carrying out strategic business and operation plans, the hospital was recognized by the Joint Commission as a top performer for Key Quality Measures (2011-2013). She also helped Beaumont Grosse Pointe achieve advanced primary stroke certification by the Joint Commission. By carrying out the practices of quality and safety initiatives, her department implemented environmentally friendly standards, resulting in cost savings and resource conservation.
Staff Nurse Winner
Beaumont Health System, Breast Care Centers
Nominated by Heather Lowry
Lisa D’Andrea has transitioned from her pediatric oncology, management and maternal child health background to her current nursing position at the Beaumont Breast Care Center. She recently organized the implementation of a new system from tracking newly diagnosed breast cancer patients by creating a tool that tracks their treatments. With this information, the breast cancer team is able to deliver care more efficiently and can provide patients with a seamless transition into the cancer survivorship phase. D’Andrea also took ownership of an ongoing project studying early detection of lymphedema in post-surgical breast cancer patients. D’Andrea continuously goes above and beyond in her nurse navigation role, which is evident in how she has touched each of her patients with her kind heart, nursing expertise, and her passion for providing exceptional nursing care.
Staff Nurse Winner
Beaumont Health System, Royal Oak
Nominated by Kimberly Kennedy
As a staff nurse in the PreOp/PACU units at Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak, Anne Page is responsible for the pre-operative preparation and post-operative recovery care of patients undergoing surgery. Page is passionate and meticulous in the care she provides, and is always seeking ways to improve quality, safety, and patient care experiences. She has obtained a double certification in her specialty and is knowledgeable in all areas of the per-anesthesia field. Page has developed a Downtime Plan for all per-anesthesia units, formed the North Tower Quality Committee, and is responsible for coordinating and scheduling on-call and Saturday shifts for more than 100 nurses. Her commitment to exceptional care is evident in her dedication to her patients, as well as her accomplishments and expertise in her field, which has led her to become a valuable leader to her colleagues.
Staff Nurse Runner Up
Providence Hospital and Medical Center
Nominated by Denise McLean and Ana Arnold
Timothy Deuby consistently demonstrates his professional leadership skills in his position as the formal lead preceptor role for the ICU at Providence Hospital and Medical Center. As the co-chairperson for the ICU/NS ICU unit practice council, Deuby developed a newsletter to provide a form of communication between the ICU and NS ICU staff. Also, as a member of the West Region Nursing Quality Council, he is involved in evaluating nursing care across the West Region, identifying trends, and providing solutions to ensure the highest quality of care. Deuby has an ability to connect with each of his patients and their family members during any highly-stressed personal crisis, and he can identify a family’s most important concerns and anticipate how to best meet their psychosocial and spiritual needs.
Staff Nurse Runner Up
Harper University Hospital
Nominated by Maria Teresa Palleschi
Molly Duane works in the medical intensive care unit (MICU), where she stays well-informed regarding current trends, technologies, and evidence-based practices in multiple aspects of critical care. She is the chair for the Harper and Hutzel Hospital Professional Nurse Council (PNC) and Critical Care PNC, and is an active participant in a staff-driven wound care group called Pressure Ulcer Ambassadors. After attending the American Association of Critical Care Nurses National Teaching Institute, Duane inspired the hospital to develop an ongoing pre- and post-sleep quality study in critically ill patients. Duane’s evidence-based practice platform allows her to perform and succeed at a level that exemplifies the exceptional and innovative leader she is.
Education and Research Winner
Karmanos Cancer Center
Nominated by JoAnn Maklebust
Morris Magnan is a clinical nurse specialist at Karmanos Cancer Center. More than that, he is a master researcher, educator, and practitioner. He is an expert in health care worker fatigue, and was selected to be the U.S. representative on an international committee working to develop guidelines for pressure ulcer prevention. Magnan spends hours keeping up with the latest research findings while simultaneously collaborating with nurses, academics, and administrators across disciplines to conduct his own studies. He has published more than 100 manuscripts. Magnan has provided the necessary support through an established foundation at Karmanos to transform the education and research process; as a result, nurses are independently beginning projects of their own.
Education and Research Runner Up
Melchora “Toy” Bartley
St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Commission on Nursing Certification
Nominated by Kristen Oltersdorf
Melchora “Toy” Bartley’s intelligence and education as a certified clinical nurse leader has led to several hospital improvements. She aided in reducing the septic shock mortality rate from 34 percent to 13 percent, and helped reduce the central line bloodstream infection level. Her success with the ventilator-associated pneumonia initiative, utilizing an endotracheal tube with a polyurethane cuff and subglottal secretion drainage, improved clinical costs. She patched up the level of care in the MICU and developed a nurse report for the team. Her leadership skills were responsible for initiating a Monthly Appreciation Day, in which her team recognizes a colleague with kind messages. Patient care is Bartley’s top priority, and she makes sure patients receive the best attention possible.
People’s Choice Nominee
Chateau Home Care
Nominated by: Dora Dingwall, Scott Dingwall, Linda Krumm, Bethany Judd, Cassandra Johnson, Cynthia Ray, Penny VanDette, Owen Pearlman, and Robin Bissonette
Caryn Knappen specializes in the care of acute patients with brain and spinal cord injuries. Her current patient, Scott, endured a lengthy and highly critical hospitalization in 2011; Knappen was by his side throughout the entire time, often leaving her family in the middle of the night to be with her patient and his family. In Scott’s words, “Caryn is always there when I am in the hospital. It can be very scary, but I’m not scared when I know she is there.” Knappen’s nursing has allowed her patient to achieve many milestones — such as enrolling at Oakland University and becoming a service dog trainer — as well as enabling a much-cherished vacation to Florida. Her organization, professionalism, and thoroughness in the face of the most challenging and complex situations is an example to her fellow nurses and across many other professions.
People’s Choice Nominee
Older Persons’ Commission (Crittenton Wellness Center)
Nominated by Julie Syers, Barb Holser, Sue Lauckner, Bob Thomas, Larry and Andrea Sagowitz, and Ken Peacock
As an outstanding nurse at the Older Persons’ Commission, Cindy McKenna is in charge of the Crittenton Wellness Center. She is responsible for community education that assists numerous senior citizens who are dealing with a variety of health issues. McKenna is uniquely suited to her role in providing daily services to an untold number of senior citizens; her empathic and compassionate demeanor is demonstrated to each patient who enters the Wellness Center. McKenna is able to handle life-threatening emergency situations with leadership and professionalism, ensuring appropriate care is given. The Crittenton Wellness Center is a place of warmth and comfort as a direct result of the effort and determination of McKenna, who makes the senior citizens feel emotionally and physically better.
People’s Choice Nominee
Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital
Nominated by Daisy Diaz
Tamara Niemiec goes above and beyond in her role as a med surg nurse at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. Niemiec is the type of nurse that embraces grace and compassion, strength, and attentiveness for each of her patients. Her peers, physicians, and patients consistently say how dependable, courteous, and effective Niemiec is in her nursing role. Her pleasant demeanor and compassion balance with her medical knowledge, strong work ethic, and exceptional maturity, which is demonstrated in her outstanding performance when delivering nursing care to a variety of patients dealing with different medical issues. Niemiec embodies a great sense of ease when she devotes her attention to ensuring the needs of each of her patients are met, and by creating a memorable bond with them.