Congrats to Nursing Excellence Award Recipients 2018!

May 10, 2018 8:49 pm

At Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, we recognize nurses for their outstanding practice each year through the Nursing Excellence Awards.

In 2018, 62 nursing colleagues have been nominated for these prestigious awards that recognize exceptional leadership. Each nomination was reviewed by the Nursing Work Environmental Council (WEC). Finalists for the awards were selected for exemplifying the behaviors associated with our five nursing values:

  • spirituality,
  • advocacy,
  • knowledge,
  • compassionate care and
  • collaboration.

In addition, finalists were chosen to receive the Vision Award for demonstration of unwavering support and evidence of outstanding contributions across all our values.

From left to right: Susan Pouch, Kenda Klotz, Julia Winter, Liberty Jacques, Jeana Smits, Sarah Rasmus, Bridget Graham, Kelly Theaker, Becky Brauer and Lauren Timmons. (Not pictured: Eric Sorenson.)










 Congratulations to the nurses who have received the following awards:

Sarah Rasmus – Vision and Scholarship
Jeana Smits – Vision
Lauren Timmons – Spirituality and Scholarship
Becky Brauer – Advocacy and Scholarship
Julia Winter – Advocacy
Kelly Theaker – Knowledge and Scholarship
Liberty Jacques – Knowledge
Eric Sorensen – Compassionate Care and Scholarship
Kenda Klotz – Compassionate Care
Susan Pouch – Collaboration and Scholarship
Bridget Graham – Collaboration



Award and Scholarship Recipient: Vision Award
Sarah Rasmus, RN, Emergency Department (an excerpt from her nomination form is below)

Overall, Sarah is not only a compassionate, knowledgeable and skilled registered nurse, but she is also a caring and calming colleague whom our Emergency Department respects and depends on. She fully encompasses what the Vision Award entails.

Sarah has been a registered nurse at Saint Mary’s since 1998. Even though 20 years at any job might be enough to make an average individual bored, jaded, or a little cranky, this is not the case with Sarah. Sarah shows up to her job in the Emergency Department each shift with a smile on her face and compassion in her heart. She is a colleague people want to be around. I personally enjoy working weekends because I know Sarah is going to be there, creating a positive work environment and making my job easier.
She embodies all five pillars of nursing.

For her spirituality, although Sarah is strong in her faith and values, she never talks down to others who may be struggling with their own.
For knowledge, I believe that Sarah is one of the most knowledgeable nurses I know. She is a mentor to newer staff as well as experienced staff. Sarah is our pediatric guru.

Sarah always advocates for the good of our patients. Day in and day out, we are called to help many patients experiencing mental health emergencies. Sarah treats these patients with upmost respect: Offering calming measures and distractions, advocating for necessary medications, and just being there both physically and emotionally.

For compassionate care, Sarah is the ultimate calming presence. She walks into a treatment area and instantly puts others at ease. Sarah is the type of nurse who will hold a hand and take the time to understand each individual and their unique situation.
She collaborates side-by-side with nurses, PCAs, respiratory staff, physicians and more. Providers often ask for her by name for her skills and for medical advice, particularly with pediatric patients. She gives complete and thorough reports, always involving the patients and their family members.

Award recipient: Vision Award:
Jeana Smits, RN, Manager Clinical Services, Hauenstein 2 (excerpts from two nominations are below)

Nomination # 1

“Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is taking care of those in your charge,” according to Simon Sinek. Advancing in this ever-changing environment, Jeana has led this unit to an amazing transformation. It is through her dedication and humility that she has carefully and methodically orchestrated what has been best practice for safety while empowering her staff simultaneously.

I am nominating her for this leadership award because Jeana has made a huge difference in our workplace. Spiritually she has taken our concerns and validates the need for balance in collaboration. Several of our co-workers lost a loved one this year, and I cannot say enough about the support she has given us. Her compassion for her staff and patients show on so many levels. Like many on our unit, I can praise Jeana for the hard work and dedication she shows our unit.
Nomination # 2

I would like to nominate my manager, Jeana Smits, for the Nursing Vision Award for her unceasing leadership in an ever-changing unit.

Spirituality: I don’t know what religious affiliation Jeana belongs to, but she shows her spirituality by her genuine love and affection for her staff and patients every day.

Advocacy: Jeana is an advocate for change when it includes better care for our patients and a safer unit for her staff. She perseveres through many obstacles to ensure the safety of all persons on the unit.

Knowledge: Jeana brings the knowledge of knowing exactly what it is like to walk in the staff nurse’s shoes because she continues to practice as a staff nurse on our unit. Compassionate Care: Jeana shows concern for her staff by ensuring they have adequate time off to be with their families when they need to be. This makes us better employees.

Collaboration: Jeana collaborates with the critical care service to bring quality care for the patients. I have witnessed Jeana collaborating with PCAs on other units to bring the best ideas for work flow back to our unit. Jeana has also done a few shifts as a PCA to make sure that the expectations were reasonable.


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