UWO Nightingale Awards celebrate excellence in nursing practice and leadership - UW Oshkosh Today
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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Nursing and the College of Nursing Board of Visitors recognized six Wisconsin nurses on April 18 at the annual Nightingale Awards ceremony held at the Oshkosh Convention Center.

For more than 25 years, UW Oshkosh has hosted this prestigious event to honor individuals who embody the spirit of Florence Nightingale and demonstrate excellence in nursing practice. Last year, the Board of Visitors introduced the inaugural Nurse Leader Award as a way to recognize nurses who work in mid-management, supervisory roles.

The awards consist of a cash prize and an original commemorative keepsake.

Lori Cardinal with Shane Carter, left, vice president of nursing, administration, AdvocateAuroraHealth; and R. Shelly Lancaster, right, pre-licensure director, College of Nursing.

The 2019 Nightingale Award for Excellence in Nursing Practice recipients include: Shane Garner, of Ripon Medical Center; Amanda Gillmeister, of Marshfield Medical Clinic; Julie Kolonick, of Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh; Jessica Rhines ’05, of the Wisconsin Resource Center; and Andrew Wolff ’14, of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin–Fox Valley.

Lori Cardinal, of St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac, received the 2019 Nightingale Nurse Leader Award.

With 10 years of nursing experience, nurse anesthetist Shane Garner stays current on best practices not only in anesthesia care but also in surgical patient care and postoperative pain management. Garner is a valuable asset to Ripon Medical Center and shares his clinical expertise through educational presentations for colleagues, nursing staff, patients, students and community members.

Amanda Gillmeister goes above and beyond her role as a nurse at Marshfield Medical Center through her advocacy for organ donation. She created a foundation webpage to promote giving, organized community events to raise awareness for organ donation and secured grant funds to provide commemorative keepsakes for families. Gillmeister’s contributions have helped the medical center’s organ donation consent rate increase from 49 percent to 69 percent in the last year.

Julie Kolonick is a board-certified wound nurse at Aurora Medical Center and has been in the nursing field for 26 years. Aurora nurses and providers value and respect Kolonick’s clinical expertise, seeking her consult frequently. She developed and leads Aurora’s Pressure Injury Prevention Committee and also is an avid skin and wound care instructor for the nursing staff in the hospital and clinic.

2019 Nightingale Award recipients

Jessica Rhines, alumna of UW Oshkosh, demonstrates significant degrees of compassion and commitment as a certified correctional health professional and infection control specialist with the Wisconsin Resource Center. She is a member of the Board of Professional Nursing Practice, the Continuous Quality Improvement Committee and the Department of Corrections Infection Prevention Committee. She also is a CPR AED and First Aid instructor.

As he pursues an advanced practice nursing degree at UW Oshkosh, alumnus Andrew Wolff works as a pediatric staff nurse at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin–Fox Valley. He has embraced the culture at Children’s Hospital and is an exemplary ambassador for the organization’s mission. For Wolff, nursing practice extends beyond the hospital through involvement in service and mission trips using his clinical skills to help communities in need.

Lori Cardinal is the epitome of a nurse leader serving as director of hospital nursing resources and interim director of the women and infants department at St. Agnes Hospital. With 36 years of nursing experience, she demonstrates a resilient, can-do approach to challenges. Cardinal is an example of “when the going gets tough—the tough get going.” She is active in the Nursing Leadership Council, Policy and Procedure Committee, Nurse Practice Committee, Safe Lift Committee, Code Heart Committee, Emergency Department Trauma Committee, ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) Committee and the systemwide Donate Life Committee as chair.

Shane Carter, BSN ’02, MSN ’10, Nightingale Awards master of ceremonies

Since the inception of the UW Oshkosh Nightingale Awards in 1993, 142 Nightingale Award recipients and two Nurse Leader Award recipients have been recognized as outstanding, Wisconsin-based nurses. All past Nightingale nominees and winners are considered part of a close circle of nursing friends and a tight network of high-achieving healthcare professionals.

“Everyone’s life is touched by a nurse,” the master of ceremonies said. “Today, nurses do things that Florence Nightingale might never have imagined, but the legacy of Nightingale binds all nurses with a common thread: dedication and commitment to the patient above all things.”

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