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Published on May 19, 2014

KishHealth System Employees Honored for Nursing Excellence and Spirit Awards

May 19, 2014

DEKALB, Ill. –  KishHealth System presented its Nursing Excellence Awards and Spirit Award at the 12th annual Employee Recognition Banquet, May 12, at the Duke Ellington Ballroom, Northern Illinois University. Rebekah Earle received the Nursing Excellence Award in Outpatient Nursing, Ken O'Brien received the Nursing Excellence Award in Hospital Nursing, and Jennifer Lavoie received the Karen Sepaniak KishHealth System Spirit Award.

The Nursing Excellence Awards recognize a nurse working with hospitalized patients and a nurse working with outpatients. These nurses have been nominated because they are role models to their peers, adapt to demands, and work efficiently; they provide high quality care using critical thinking skills, seek new ideas and solutions; they creatively coordinate resources, promote teamwork, foster cooperation, and demonstrate ownership; they work effectively with others in a professional, considerate, and constructive manner and actively listen and respond respectfully; and they suggest alternatives to increase patient care effectiveness, efficiency, and safety, give feedback, and encourage others.

Rebekah EarleThe KishHealth System Nursing Excellence Award in Outpatient Nursing was presented to Rebekah Earle, from KishHealth System Cancer Center, Sandwich. Earle’s nominators said, “She has a Can-Do attitude and is always willing to do what it takes,” and, “She is an asset to the department and to the organization, representing the health system’s values well.” Earle has taken on many additional responsibilities in the last year. Recently, she has been instrumental in facilitating standardization in treatment protocols between the two KishHealth System Cancer Center locations, enhancing patient safety and quality of care. Because of Earle’s extensive oncology knowledge and organizational skills, she provides support to her peers and assures quality care is provided.

Ken O'BrienThe KishHealth System Nursing Excellence Award in Hospital Nursing was presented to Ken O'Brien from the Kishwaukee Hospital Med/Surg Unit. His nominators said, “He truly treats each individual patient and staff member with care and concern,” and, “He is an impassioned nurse who is helpful and dedicated.” O’Brien is one of a handful of chemotherapy certified inpatient RNs. He willingly comes in to assist patients on all different shifts, days, and times, routinely accommodating any patients to meet their needs. He is compassionate and understanding with both patients and families, especially to those newly diagnosed or at the end of life. As a charge RN, he is supportive and dedicated to assisting staff members to become the best they can be, by educating, guiding and making sure that excellent patient care is the topmost goal of the unit at any time. O’Brien controls and guides staff through urgent and emergent situations calmly and with great leadership.

The Karen Sepaniak KishHealth System Spirit Award was created to honor and celebrate a woman who knew how to do things only by going above and beyond. Karen worked at Valley West Hospital for nearly 40 years.  She passed away in July 2007, after a courageous battle with cancer. 

Jennifer LavoieThe Karen Sepaniak KishHealth System Spirit Award was presented to Jennifer Lavoie, RN auditor for KishHealth System Health Information Management. In a short time, Lavoie has had a dramatic and positive impact on not only the HIM Department, but especially on the hospital as a whole. She has a long list of achievements from this past year that demonstrate how successful and influential she has been.

Her willingness to begin large and sometimes daunting projects demonstrates Lavoie’s leadership, determination, courage, and a can-do attitude that is infectious to other staff members. Her wide array of experience, knowledge, and skill sets have allowed her to approach departments and areas in such a positive and helpful way. The areas she works with have great respect for her and often say she “is one of us and understands us.” When she reports the success of a project, Lavoie gives the credit to the clinical staff who worked on it to accomplish their goals. Lavoie is a unique and valuable employee who has impacted so many and in such positive ways.

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