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Three alumni of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Nursing accepted 2008 Nightingale Awards for Nursing Practice May 8 in Reeve Memorial Union.

The award, sponsored by the College of Nursing and its Board of Visitors, recognizes the nursing profession and its most outstanding nurses. Now in its 16th year, the banquet was held during National Nurses’ Week and in honor of the May 12 birthday of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.

Susan Ashton ’85, is a public health nurse for the Winnebago County Health Department, where she works with older adults.

During her everyday routine, which encompasses case management, assessment, education and referral for her clients, Ashton discovered a need for a more environmentally sound method to dispose of expired and unneeded medications. After researching the topic and educating herself, she developed Operation Take Back Medications in partnership with Morton Pharmacy, Lake Winnebago Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group and the Winnebago County Solid Waste Facility.

The program was so successful that a collaborative program has now begun among Winnebago, Outagamie, Calumet and Waupaca counties.

Jonathan Kuehn
’99, is a registered nurse educator and pediatric nurse for Aspirus Hospital.

Also the Magnet coordinator, Kuehn worked tirelessly to help Aspirus earn Magnet designation in 2005. Magnet status is awarded to select hospitals by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center to hospitals that satisfy a set of criteria designed to measure the strength and quality of their nursing.

As a nurse educator, Kuehn provides orientation to all new nursing staff and coordinates continuing education opportunities. His passion, however, remains direct patient care, and he regularly schedules himself in the pediatric ward. His compassionate nursing, ability to communicate and optimistic attitude make him a favorite with patients and their parents.

Fran Nelson
’76 MSN, is a family nurse practitioner who founded the Nelson Family Clinic in Hilbert to serve the poor, elderly, disabled and uninsured patients in this small community.

Giving special attention to the physical and emotional well-being of her community, Nelson makes home visits to ensure that her patients are improving. Her community programs also include the Wisconsin Well-women program, Reproductive Health Care program and the Wisconsin Maternal Health Grant programs, which allow reproductive healthcare, contraceptives and confidential screenings for low income women.

Nelson also works with a mental health and memory clinic that offers early diagnosis and treatment of memory problems.

Nightingale recipients received a cash award of $1,000 and an original piece of artwork representing the spirit of Florence Nightingale. The commemorative art pieces, commissioned by Affinity Health Systems, were engraved with the winner’s name.

Six nurses in addition to UW Oshkosh alumni also received the award:

* Sherri McLaughlin, Mercy Medical Center
* Charlene Messenger, Wisconsin Resource Center
* Francis Meyer, Professional Home Care Providers
* Tracy Monte, Diabetic Clinic
* Vicky Parsons, Berlin Memorial Hospital
* Mary Tamblin, Ripon Medical Center

Pictured, left to right: Susan Ashton, Jonathan Kuehn and Fran Nelson.