Careers at UW Health

2023 UW Health Nursing Excellence Awards

2023 UW Health Nursing Excellence Awards

Each year, we look forward to honoring our Nurse Excellence Award recipients. These awards are extra special because the nominations come from fellow UW Health employees who are so impressed by their colleagues, they want the rest of the world to know just how amazing they are, and how much they contribute to remarkable health care.

Congratulations to our 2023 honorees and nominees.

Meet our 2023 Nursing Excellence Award recipients

Specialty Care: Molly Gard, BSN, RN, Pediatric Specialties, Deming Way Clinic
Molly Gard, BSN, RN
Pediatric Specialties
Deming Way Clinic
Award: Specialty Care
Primary Care: Nancy Graham, RN, Pediatrics, Union Corners Clinic
Nancy Graham, RN
Union Corners Clinic
Award: Primary Care
Surgical and Procedural Services: Amy Kamps, MSN, RN, Operating Room, University Hospital
Amy Kamps, MSN, RN
Operating Room
University Hospital
Award: Surgical and Procedural Services
Intensive Care Units: Kate Kriva, BSN, RN, Cardiovascular/Cardiothoracic ICU, University Hospital
Kate Kriva, BSN, RN
Cardiovascular/Cardiothoracic ICU
University Hospital
Award: Intensive Care Units
Leadership and Advanced Practice: Maureen Lucey, BSN, RN, Employee Health Supervisor, Employee Health Services
Maureen Lucey, BSN, RN
Employee Health Supervisor
Employee Health Services
Award: Leadership and Advanced Practice
General Medicine and IMC: Christine Peot, BSN, RN, Progressive Care Unit, University Hospital
Christine Peot, BSN, RN
Progressive Care Unit
University Hospital
Award: General Medicine and IMC
Preceptor/Mentor: Jennifer Quinn, BSN, RN, Med Flight, University Hospital
Jennifer Quinn, BSN, RN
Med Flight
University Hospital
Award: Preceptor/Mentor
Pediatrics: Brian Roszak, BSN, RN, Medical/Surgical Unit, American Family Children’s Hospital
Brian Roszak, BSN, RN
Medical/Surgical Unit
American Family Children’s Hospital
Award: Pediatrics
Support Staff: Clinical: Heather Schoenfeld, CCLS, Child Life Specialist, American Family Children’s Hospital
Heather Schoenfeld, CCLS
Child Life
American Family Children’s Hospital
Award: Support Staff: Clinical
Rising Star: Liz Sklenar, BSN, RN, Medical/Surgical Floor, East Madison Hospital
Liz Sklenar, BSN, RN
Medical/Surgical Floor
East Madison Hospital
Award: Rising Star
Support Staff, Non-clinical: Alicia Marie Sokol, Administrative Operations Assistant, Employee Health Services
Alicia Marie Sokol
Administrative Operations Assistant
Employee Health Services
Award: Support Staff, Non-clinical
Emergency Services: Jennifer Stephenson, BSN, RN, Emergency Medicine, University Hospital
Jennifer Stephenson, BSN, RN
Emergency Medicine
University Hospital
Award: Emergency Services
Patient and Care Coordination: Dawn Weyh, MSN, RN, Transitional Care, University and East Madison Hospitals
Dawn Weyh, MSN, RN
Transitional Care
University Hospital and
East Madison Hospital
Award: Patient and Care Coordination

Nurse Excellence Award nominees

UW Health recognizes all nominees for their valued contributions to patient care:

Diane Aide
Julie Andrews
Jennifer Ayers
Whitney Beaton
Annie Berousek
Passang Bhuti
Karl Bietz
Renee Bobb
Kelly Braatz
Jessica Branson
MaryKay Brekke
Leah Bren
Andrea Briese
Joseph Brown
Brooke Camp
Foday Ceesay
Robin Christianson
Kamilee Conaway
Anna Cotiangco
Shay Daniels-Coleman
Courtney Davis
Jessica Dellemann
Lindsey Derksen
Emmanuel Digon-Apuhin
Dakota Dohlman
Tenzin Dolma
Mitch Dunlap
Dan Edgette
Janice Ferguson
Brandon Florence
Rhonda Fochs
Kayla Foster
Robert Foster
Holly Francis
Molly Gard
Halee Gates
Robert Gerrietts
Christi Goettsche
Marie Goke
Maureen Wild Gordon
Nancy Graham
Megan Grassl
Sara Graverson
Alexa Grefe
Andrea Groher
Tanner Gruber
Naomi Massey Haas
Katrina Hall
Shannon Hattenhauer
Jamie Hayden
Nicole Heiden
Caitlin Hellenbrand
Kassandra Hermanson
Jennifer Hildner
Jenny Hobson
Noreen Hogan
Jessica Holguin
Meghan Holum
Amanda Howard
Trevor Johnson
Tiffany Jones
Gloria Justo
Amy Kamps
Jody Kessenich
Choua Khuy
Sadie King
Stephanie Kleinschmidt
Karlie Klossner
Megan Knepfel
Cassandra Koczan
Amanda Kopp
Kate Kriva
Jessica Lawler
Veronica Lawrence
Julie Lechelt
Hayley Lindsey
Lucy Lomeli
Maureen Lucey
Hannah Madej
Lachanna Magli
Sarah Mamerow
Maria Martinez
Joanna Mathews
Susan Maveus
Penney McGinnis
Emily McGuigan
Janelle McMannes
Thomas McNeal
Dulce Mellender
Emily Menting
Jessica Miller
Amy Mliner
Sahra Mohamud
Nick Murphy
Heidi O’Brien
Grace Odegaard
Mitch Oelke
Kelly O’Malley
Mara Pailing
Melissa Paul
Sarah Peck
Amy Pedersen
Rachael Pelkofer
Christine Peot
Michael Peperkorn
Nastassja Petermann
Megan Pharo
Brittany Pittz
Zorina Poast
Jennifer Pogoy
Emily Preuss
Juliana Price
Maria Pulver
Jennifer Quinn
Laura Ramirez
LC Rice
Dave Rodriguez
Patricia Rohrer
Brian Roszak
Jo Ruegsegger
Haley Runchey
Kim Schaefer
Heather Schoenfeld
Christopher Schroeder
Rebecca Schutte
Katrina Shaughnessy
Michael Sivam
Liz Sklenar
Alicia Marie Sokol
Jennifer Stephenson
Maria Strommen
Katie Sullenbrand
Dominica Swartz
Kelsey Taylor
Caroline Templeton
Hannah Tishler
Evelyn Tomaino
Thupten Tsering
Haley Vandehei
Shelly VanDenbergh
Ana Villagomez-Moreno
Teresa Wagner
Amanda Weber
Meredith Weitz
Sara Westra
Dawn Weyh
Henry Zheng

Celebrating the humanity of our nurses

Nurses Week 2023: May 6-12

Celebrating the humanity of our nurses

National Nurses Week always serves as a special time to honor our remarkable RNs for the compassionate care and clinical expertise they provide to UW Health patients and families all year long.

This year, we’re celebrating our nurses in a unique way — highlighting what brings them joy outside of work — to see and appreciate them beyond their scrubs and masks.

A few of the nurses you’ll see in our tribute video include:

Christine Abong, Inpatient Dialysis, University Hospital, who leans on her furry family member Digi after a long day at work. She says their family dogs have taught her family unconditional love, responsibility, and a sense of empathy.
Nichole Lloyd, Pre/Post Anesthesia Care Unit, East Madison Hospital, whose self-care involves practicing various styles of yoga, including aerial yoga, which she says serves as a great way to foster mental calmness, reduces stress, and stay healthy.
Michael Braden, Pain Management Clinic, 1102 S Park St, who thinks spending time outdoors with his adorable children is one of the best ways to decompress.
Lisa Gretebeck, Endocrine Surgery, East Madison Hospital, who enjoys swimming alongside some cool creatures like this whale shark, as her personal sweet escape.
Becky Dillis, Transplant Clinic, University Hospital, whose expert equestrian skills and being “one” with her majestic pal, clearly bring her joy — and most likely an adrenaline rush.

We hope you enjoy our tribute video that celebrates the humanity and inner awesomeness of our nurses.

2023 UW Health Nursing Excellence Awards

2022 UW Health Nursing Excellence Award Recipients

During National Nurses Week May 6-12, UW Health honors our 2022 Nurse Excellence Award recipients for embodying all that it takes to provide remarkable healthcare. These awards are extra special because the nominations come from fellow UW Health employees who want the rest of the world to know the amazing colleagues they work alongside.

Congratulations to all honorees and nominees.

Meet Our 2022 Nursing Excellence Award Recipients

Emergency Medicine: Jacinda Krueger, RN, University Hospital
Jacinda Krueger, RN
Award: Emergency Medicine
University Hospital
General and Intermediate Care: Alyssa Weise, BSN, RN, University Hospital
Alyssa Weise, BSN, RN
General and Intermediate Care
University Hospital
Intensive Care Unit: Alexa Callahan, BSN, RN, University Hospital
Alexa Callahan, BSN, RN
Award: Intensive Care Unit
University Hospital
Leadership and Advanced Practice: Lori Williams, DNP, RN, American Family Children’s Hospital
Lori Williams, DNP, RN
Award: Leadership and Advanced Practice
American Family Children’s Hospital
Patient and Care Coordination: Tyler Houston, BSN, RN, Access Center
Tyler Houston, BSN, RN
Award: Patient and Care Coordination
Access Center
Pediatrics: Luray Hovey, BSN, RN, American Family Children's Hospital
Luray Hovey, BSN, RN
Award: Pediatrics
American Family Children’s Hospital
Preceptor Mentor: Mark Ravis, RN, University Hospital
Mark Ravis, RN
Award: Preceptor/Mentor
University Hospital
Primary Care Clinics: Kimberley Williamson, MSN, RN, 1102 S Park St Clinic
Kimberley Williamson, MSN, RN
Award: Primary Care Clinics
1102 S Park St Clinic
Rising Star: Kalyn Sonday, BSN, RN, East Madison Hospital
Kalyn Sonday, BSN, RN
Award: Rising Star
East Madison Hospital
Specialty Clinics: Stephanie Blazek Davis, BSN, RN, Transformations Clinic
Stephanie Blazek Davis, BSN, RN
Award: Specialty Clinics
Transformations Clinic
Support Staff Clinical: Kristin McArdle, MSW, Social Worker, American Family Children’s Hospital
Kristin McArdle, MSW, Social Worker
Award: Support Staff Clinical
American Family Children’s Hospital
Support Staff Non-Clinical: Norberto Cruz, Senior Environmental Services Technician, University Hospital
Norberto Cruz, Senior Environmental Services Technician
Award: Support Staff Non-Clinical
University Hospital
Surgical Procedural Services: Amber Luch, BSN, RN, University Hospital
Amber Luch, BSN, RN
Award: Surgical Procedural Services
University Hospital

Nurse Excellence Award Nominees

UW Health recognizes all nominees — more than 150 — for their valued contributions to patient care:

Darcy Acker
Kjerstine Adler
Susan Antonie
Shannan Archibald
Ann Arnold
Katherine Bacians
Lisa Bahr
Whitney Beaton
Jennifer Beiswenger
Jenny Benson
Meghan Biddick
Angela Bindl
Kristin Blackwood
Stephanie Blazek Davis
Brea Bonafield
Dianna Bower
Joseph Brown
Alexa Callahan
Ellen Campbell
Abigail Castillo
Paulette Christy
Kamilee Conaway
Norberto Cruz
Mary Curwick
Michael Dagenais
Amber Dalziel
Luis Diaz-Barajas
Ashley Drake
Buba Drammeh
Elise Duff
Anna Duncan
Cruz Duplicate
Keri Ferguson
Janice Ferguson
Jordan Foster
Breanne Fourtner
Elizabeth Gerndt-Spaith
Andrea Geurin
Heather Gilbert
Rachel Guelker
Sally Gulden
Jennifer Hackenmiller
Jennifer Hankwitz
Hillary Hanna
Rebecca Harrison
Kayla Hazeltine
Rebecca Hellenbrand
Allison Henke
Sheila Henry
Erin Heredia
Jenny Hobson
Meghan Holum
Elliotte Houghton
Tyler Houston
Luray Hovey
Kassandra Huffman
Mariah Jacobson
Marie Jensen
Bonnie Johnson
Megan Keesey
Michael Keller
Tamara Kempken Mehring
Brianne Kiefert
McKenzie Klipp
Jennifer Kortyna
Jacinda Krueger
Desiri Kruse
Jenna Larsen
Diane Larson
Sheila Lehmann
Hayley Lindsey
Heidi Link
Amber Luch
Lachanna Magli
Janean Marr
Kristin McArdle
Melanie McCauley
Linda McKnight
Kimberly McPhee
Wanda Meeteer
Alicia Meier
Jayci Miles
Katie Miller
Karen Miller
Kayla Mills
Jennifer Moore
Holly Mucci
Margaret Murray
Tiffany Nelsen
Madeline Norman
Heidi O’Brien
Catherine O’Connell
Cassandra Ortmann
Maria Delores Pagas
Isabella Penniston
Brittany Pittz
Amy Plaza-Baji
Steven Polenska
Paula Pope
Jack Propson
Janielle Raven
Mark Ravis
Caitlin Redeker
Sheri Reichardt
Rachel Ripley
Peter Ripp
Briane’ Roberts
Ashley Robinson
Valerie Rust
Crystale Sanchez
Jamie Schave
Robert Scheel
Jordyn Schemenauer
Erin Schmidt
Judy Schmude
Brittany Schneeberg
Amber Schreiner
Alyssa Schroeder
Molly Schuman
Lyvia Schwantes
Kelsie Schwoerer
Caitlyn Scianna
Sarah Shank
Leah Shelerud
Jenna Shinstine
Erik Sikora
Tori Sonday
Kalyn Sonday
Meagan Spreeman
Anna Stawicki
Whitney Sterling
Maria Strommen
Susan Tipple
Brenda Trotta
Anna Uselman
Laura Van Fossen
Abbie Vance
Rebekah Vermillion
Ana Villagomez-Moreno
Chad Vinger
Emily Wakefield
Jami Waterworth
Amanda Weber
Alyssa Weise
Zachary Wells
Christa Westenberger
Melissa Whitby
Jolene Wieczorek
Steven Wiese
Emily Wilhelmson
Lori Williams
Kimberley Williamson
Maikao Xiong
Courtney Younkle
Tatiana Zaidi
Darnell Ziegler
Nicole Zimmerman
Kayla Zubke

Conducting Nursing Student Projects at UW Health

  • All nursing students who would like to complete an academic (student) project at UW Health for academic credit must follow the steps listed below.
  • This process applies to all nursing students. These steps must be followed regardless of what school is attended or UW Health employment status.
  • The steps outlined here are requirements for UW Health, there may be additional requirements from the academic institution.

What are the steps to complete before starting my school project?

Step 1.    Student notifies Clinical Placement Coordinator

  • The nursing student needs to start this process by notifying their Clinical Placement Coordinator to let them know the desire to complete the student project at UW Health.
  • Note: The Clinical Placement Coordinator must ensure that an Affiliation Agreement is in place between the academic institution and UW Health. If an Affiliation Agreement is not in place, it may take 3 to 6 months for that to be completed. Therefore, it is recommended that the student ask about this detail.

Step 2.    Student identifies UW Health sponsor

  • The nursing student must establish support for their project by identifying a UW Health employee who will serve as a sponsor. 
  • Review the sponsor role to be sure that you select someone who meets their needs
  • If no sponsor is known, let your Clinical Placement Coordinator know, they will help with that process.

Note for UW Health employees about sponsor selection and project planning (per UW Health legal):

  • The UW Health sponsor cannot be the employee’s paid supervisor or manager.
  • The student work cannot take place at the same location where the student is a paid employee.
  • The student cannot complete student field work during work hours; the student work must be completed on unpaid time.)

Step 3.    Student requests sponsor signature

  • After the student and the sponsor discuss the student’s project and an agreement is made, the student must provide the sponsor the UW Health Sponsor Role and Agreement form to review in detail and sign.
  • Important: This form must be signed before you move onto Step 4

Step 4.    Complete the Nursing Student’s Academic Project Submission Form

Step 5.    Notify the Clinical Placement Coordinator that Steps 1 to 4 are completed

  • Once Steps 1 thru 4 are complete, the student must notify the Clinical Placement Coordinator that they have been completed.
  • When Steps 1-4 are complete, the student should also ask the Clinical Placement Coordinator to enter a rotation request be placed in My Clinical Exchange.

Step 6.    Upload documents on My Clinical Exchange

  • Once your project rotation has been entered and approved, the student will receive an email prompting them to upload documents to My Clinical Exchange.
  • Upload the required documentation to be compliant with the student requirements
  • Remember that this step must be completed for all nursing students, regardless of what school is attended and whether or not they are employed by UW Health.
  • Students will know they are compliant in My Clinical Exchange when they see the green thumbs up in the system.
  • Steps 1- 6 must be complete at least 4 weeks before the planned start of the student project.

Step 7.    Obtain appropriate UW Health access

  • UW Health will notify the student via email when approvals are in place.
    • Students should follow the directions received in the email to get a UW Health student ID badge.
    • If additional access has been requested (such as Health Link), follow the directions and verify appropriate access.
  • When the student receives the email notification prompting the student ID and other appropriate access, this is the final step of this process and indicates that the student on-boarding process is complete.  With ongoing support for the project by the UW Health sponsor, the student may begin their project work.

How soon should I start this process?

  • It is recommended to start the process at least 8 to 12 weeks before students are to begin their project.
  • Steps 1 thru 6 will take up to 4 weeks to complete and must be completed 4 weeks before the first day of project work. For example, if the project is to start at the end of January, Steps 1-6 must be completed by the end of December; the student should start the process in October or November.
  • Step 7 must be complete before the student can begin their project.

Are you a Nurse Practitioner (NP) student looking to do a clinical rotation at UW Health? Find more information on this webpage.

I have questions, who should I reach out to?

Questions should be directed to the student’s Clinical Placement Coordinator; they will reach out to UW Health key stakeholder as needed.  Student should remain in close communication with their school’s Clinical Placement Coordinator.

2021 UW Health Nursing Excellence Award Winners

During National Nurses Week, May 6-12, 2021, we embrace this opportunity to pay special thanks and recognition to all UW Health nurses — not only for banding together throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with unwavering dedication and commitment — but for always putting patients and families first. They have been on the frontlines bravely facing whatever has come their way, and we continue to be grateful.

Nurses Week also gives us another distinct opportunity to celebrate a few exceptional nurses and support staff who exemplify compassion, skill and an outstanding commitment to patient care and the professional practice of nursing.

Watch below: Hear from our Nurse Excellence Award recipients

Support Staff, Clinical: Kelsey Anderson, Nursing Assistant, Inpatient Psychiatry
Support Staff, Clinical: Kelsey Anderson, Nursing Assistant, Inpatient Psychiatry
Support Staff, Non-Clinical: Cheryl Mattingly, Clinical Operations Assistant, Trauma and Life Support Center
Support Staff, Non-Clinical: Cheryl Mattingly, Clinical Operations Assistant, Trauma and Life Support Center
Emily Bowie, BSN, RN, General Internal Medicine, University Hospital
Rising Star: Emily Bowie, BSN, RN, General Internal Medicine, University Hospital
Clinical Nurse, Primary Care Clinics: Bonnie Hann, BSN, RN, Oregon Clinic
Clinical Nurse, Primary Care Clinics: Bonnie Hann, BSN, RN, Oregon Clinic
Clinical Nurse, Specialty Clinics: Linda Carter, BSN, RN, Neurology Clinic, 20 S. Park
Clinical Nurse, Specialty Clinics: Linda Carter, BSN, RN, Neurology Clinic, 20 S. Park
Clinical Nurse, Pediatrics: Nicole Wayman, BSN, RN, American Family Children’s Hospital
Clinical Nurse, Pediatrics: Nicole Wayman, BSN, RN, American Family Children’s Hospital
Clinical Nurse, General Care and IMC: Brandon Stiefel, BSN, RN, Inpatient Psychiatry
Clinical Nurse, General Care and IMC: Brandon Stiefel, BSN, RN, Inpatient Psychiatry
Clinical Nurse, ICU: Daniele Payne, BSN, RN, Trauma and Life Support Center
Clinical Nurse, ICU: Daniele Payne, BSN, RN, Trauma and Life Support Center
Clinical Nurse, Emergency Services: Raymond Kline, BSN, RN, University Hospital
Clinical Nurse, Emergency Services: Raymond Kline, BSN, RN, University Hospital
Clinical Nurse, Surgical Procedural Services: Terrance Wilde, BSN, RN, Operating Room-Cardiothoracic
Clinical Nurse, Surgical Procedural Services: Terrance Wilde, BSN, RN, Operating Room-Cardiothoracic
Preceptor/Mentor: Laura Kramer, BSN, RN, Progressive Care Unit, University Hospital
Preceptor/Mentor: Laura Kramer, BSN, RN, Progressive Care Unit, University Hospital
Clinical Nurse, CTL Lead RNs: Nicole Hansen, BSN, RN, Thoracic Surgery Unit
Clinical Nurse, CTL Lead RNs: Nicole Hansen, BSN, RN, Thoracic Surgery Unit
Leadership & Advanced Practice: Elizabeth Laessig-Stary, MSN, RN-Gyn, Urology, Plastics-University Hospital
Leadership & Advanced Practice: Elizabeth Laessig-Stary, MSN, RN-Gyn, Urology, Plastics-University Hospital

Meet the UW Health 2021 Nurse Excellence Award Recipients

Nurses Week also gives us a distinct opportunity to celebrate a few exceptional nurses and support staff who exemplify compassion, skill and an outstanding commitment to patient care and the professional practice of nursing. Meet our Nurse Excellence Award recipients.

Nurse Excellence Award Nominees

UW Health recognizes all nominees for their valued contributions to patient care:

LeAnn Alf
Jaclyn Allen
Kelsey Anderson
Lauren Batcher
Natasha Beaver
Melissa Beltran
Allie Berger
Emily Bowie
Emily Brandl
Jessica Branson
Heidi Brown
Alexa Callahan
Ashley Campbell
Linda Carter
Kristi Coy
Vanessa De La Rosa
Marnie Destree
Emmanuel Digon-Apuhin
Emily Fell
Sara Fink
Samantha Fralish
Andrea Geurin
Samantha Griesser
Bonnie Hann
Nicole Hansen
Jennifer Heinle
Christina Held
Hailey Hicks
Susan Hopkins
Katherine Hoverson
Kari Hromatko
Mandi Jackson
Katherine Jelinek
Rebecca Johnson
Madison Kimes
Betsy Kite
Raymond Kline
Stephanie Klock
Connor Knellwolf
Laura Kramer
Marie Kurschner
Tracy Kussmaul
Elizabeth Laessig-Stary
Anna Landry
Mary Leisemann
Wittnee Linscheid
Mary Lowe
Eric Mains
Naomi Massey Haas
Cheryl Mattingly
Courtney Maurer
Natalie McCarragher
Diana McGlynn
Corrin McMannes
Jenna Meier Payne
Karen Miller
Laurel Mitmoen
Amanda Mlsna
Margaret Murray
Kelly O’Connor
Josh Palmer
Daniele Payne
Brooke Peterson
Margaret Phillips Reeve
Russ Picard
Sarah Quinn
Shelly Reyzek
Sherri Ruhland
Sara Schoen
Ryan Schultz
Casey Shoptaw
Windy Smith
BethAnn Soliman-Abdalla
Tori Sonday
Lindsey Speier
Megan Stehling
Barbara Stevens
Brandon Stiefel
Rachel Taylor
Tsering Tseten
Heidi Turnquist
Linda Untz Rabold
Jessica Virnich
Martha Vollrath-Mathiason
Andrew Walbrun
Karly Walker
Joan Watson
Nicole Wayman
Megan Webber
Amanda Weber
Amy White
Terrance Wilde
Emily Wilhelmson
Amanda Wilke
Kirsten Worzala Dumke
Kelly Yaeger
Alexandra Zaugg
Amelia Zepnick
Kim Zinkel

Giving Back Comes Naturally to Care Team Leader

Emergency Department (ED) care team leader Sue Wolfe, BSN, RN, was a little overwhelmed by the public displays of support for her team at University Hospital shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in March 2020.

“People from the community were bringing us food and holding up signs of encouragement,” says Sue. “It was all very humbling since we were just doing our jobs. Still, it was incredibly kind for the public to show so much support at a time when it felt like everyone’s world was being turned upside down.”

Seeing news coverage of growing lines at local food banks, Sue instinctively knew she had to do something to give back.

“We clearly had our share of stress in the ED with COVID-19, but so many people outside our doors were losing their jobs and having trouble feeding their families,” Sue says. “That’s a whole different level of stress.”

It didn’t take long before Sue sent an email to her ED colleagues seeking donations to support Dane County food banks. To make it easy, she set up PayPal and Venmo accounts so physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other ED staff could start contributing with just a few clicks on their phone.

She was hoping to raise $500 within two weeks, but by Day 5, $3,000 had come in.

“It was blowing up in a way I couldn’t imagine,” Sue says.

Social media helped spread the word even further. By the time two weeks elapsed, Sue had raised $10,400 for the Dane County Food Pantry Network.

“It was exciting to see so many of my co-workers get behind something during such a tough time,” Sue says. “People just needed to feel good about something.”

A UW Health nurse since 1984 and ED care team leader for 11 years, Sue is widely regarded as a someone who reflexively looks out for the best interests of the ED as a whole.

“In the best sense, Sue is like a ‘Department Mom’ to so many of us,” says ED nurse manager Melanie Hankes, BSN, RN. “She’s approachable, dependable and caring, and helps us weather any storm we face while always putting patients first.”

Like many of her colleagues, Melanie was not surprised by Sue’s food bank fundraising last spring.

“It’s part of Sue’s DNA to go beyond the call and help others,” Melanie says. “From volunteering at a Wisconsin summer camp to teaching emergency room nurses in Ethiopia, Sue just appreciates how wonderful life is and wants to keep paying it forward.”

View the full nursing annual report, 2020: The year of the resilient, remarkable nurse:

Nurses Lead the ‘Wild Ride’ to Telehealth Rapid Adoption

UW Health nurses led the sea change that saw inpatient video telehealth visits go from zero in mid-March 2020 to about 80 a day by early April.

Kim Riese, BSN, MSHI, the RN Coordinator for telehealth, describes the growth as, “Like nothing I’ve ever experienced in 40 years in healthcare.”

“Telehealth has touched so many parts of UW,’’ she says. “Especially the nurses, they’ve just stepped up and done what they needed to do to care for their patients. It’s been a wild ride, but we’re still standing.”

Some of those nurses are visible to patients, holding an iPad for them and assisting in assessments during virtual inpatient rounds or taking a health history for a Vidyo-powered ambulatory visit.

Others, like Jason Laseman, BS, MA, RN-BC, and his colleagues at nursing informatics, are behind the scenes, providing the training, programming the iPads and creating the workflows.

Laseman recalled the wild week in March, when virtual rounds went from an idea to reality in four workdays. His group trained nurses on about 25 units at the three Madison hospitals. They started with having two iPads per unit but have since evolved so that all inpatient iPads have the capability, as well as a Webex app they can use to video chat with family and friends who can’t visit them in the hospital.

Laseman says the group is doing a patient satisfaction survey among parents of PICU patients at American Family Children’s Hospital, where complex cases could have 15 specialists joining by video.

“We want to know if they are effective and how comfortable patients’ families are with virtual rounds,’’ he says. “There isn’t a lot of data on this right now.”

UW Health Care Anywhere video visits with Urgent Care launched in late 2017, but really took off as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Last year, UW Health had approximately 2,800 video visits all year. The first six months of 2020, there were 6,800 visits.

“By the end of the year, I’m sure we will have more than tripled last year’s numbers of patients being cared for in this way,’’ says Riese, who spent the first weeks of the pandemic training more providers to deliver care via the Care Anywhere platform. UW Health increased both the numbers of APPs doing visits and the hours the calls were staffed by UW staff (rather than a service) from eight hours a day to 12 hours.

“Now everyone, across the planet, knows what telehealth is,’’ she says. “Patients really like it, although it does have some limitations for detailed patient diagnostics.”

In an inpatient setting, telehealth was used to preserve precious Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and to allow doctors to still be able to see patients even if they were quarantined at home.

“Nurses were the backbone of it, they were the ones in the room with the iPad, facilitating the meeting between patient and doctor,’’ Riese said.

The telehealth team provided educational materials to nurses and medical assistants on technology, so they could do “virtual rooming” with remote patients, going through all the questions they would normally ask in a clinic setting.

“The glue in all of that is the staff,’’ Riese says. “The nurses have to help patients with technology they may never have used before. Really those nurses were front line to make sure patients were able to have their visit with the doctor.”

Bill Yerges, MSN, RN, CPN, a coordinator with the pancreas/kidney transplant team, quickly became a Vidyo superuser, using video to educate patients post-surgery so they would be able to care for themselves at home. He says the transplant group continues to find new uses for video, from selection conferences to using video to interview potential organ recipients.

“It’s really served the transplant division well for moving patients forward to get transplants, and for making sure they get the necessary education so they can go home,” he says. “We follow patients for life.”

Another group that saw a big jump in use was UW Health’s eICU team, headed by nursing supervisor Lynn Jacobs, BSN, RN, CCRN and eICU medical director, Jeff Wells, MD.

Before COVID-19, the group was monitoring 93 ICU beds at University Hospital, The American Center, Swedish American Hospital and community hospitals in Freeport, Ill., Medford, Richland Center and Monroe. They’re now up to 126 beds, as mobile monitoring carts were innovatively added at several sites and a D6/5 wing was converted to a 10-bed COVID-19 ICU using spare eICU hardwired monitoring parts to create mobile carts.

“Usually we have six months of work before we go live with a new ICU, but D6/5 went live in three days,’’ she says. “Our nurses and nursing assistants have been through a massive amount of change very quickly in preparing to take care of patients with COVID-19 along with our typical intensive care patients and their professionalism over how they embraced this challenge during this pandemic should be applauded.”

In addition to extensive data collection and monitoring patients’ vital signs, best practice compliance, and preventing falls and extubations, the eICU staff mentors the new to ICU practice nurses at the remote locations, with check-ins at the beginning and end of every shift.  These novice nurses are encouraged to call the experienced eICU nurses during their shift with any questions as well.

“We provide a pretty detailed post-orientation mentoring,’’ Jacobs says. “It’s a scary time to be a new nurse in any ICU, but especially now during COVID-19. The eICU nurses are able to walk them through a wide variety of patient care issues and our sites think it’s important that we bring additional physician and nursing expertise in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The eICU monitoring equipment also tracks outcomes, and the vendor, Philips, is compiling COVID-19 outcome data from ICUs across the country, as well as locations in Japan and Great Britain. UW nurses and physicians will be co-authors on the study. The ability to track this data is made possible by the dedicated work of eICU nursing assistants.

View the full nursing annual report, 2020: The year of the resilient, remarkable nurse:

Nurses Lead Move to More Culturally Congruent Care

UW Health nurses Adrian Jones, Jessi Kendall and Tracey Abitz

UW Health’s Black/African American Employee Resource Group first met on a frosty morning in January 2020 at Wingra Clinic, shortly before the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racial inequity swept the world.

The idea was to create a support network at UW Health, where the nursing workforce is about 96 percent white. The group is open to any employee who identifies as Black or African American.

“The isolation aspect is huge, the stress of being Black in predominantly white spaces, and coping with the ignorance about what the experience of being Black is like,” says group co-chair Jessi Kendall, BSN, RN, who works with cancer patients on B6/6. “Being able to come together and speak about the challenges in a safe space is so helpful.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the monthly meetings have gone online, but the need to support each other has become even stronger, says co-chair Adrian Jones, a program manager for community health improvement.

“We are very intentional in the meetings about how we can work to support each other in the era of COVID-19, and the racial inequity pandemic, and how that is all interconnected,” Jones said. “We want to make sure everyone has resources they need. The reality of what is going on deeply impacts everyone in our organization.”

Jones participates and serves as an additional resource in the Today Not Tomorrow Pregnancy and Infant Support group led by UW Health newborn hospitalist, Dr. Jasmine Zapata. Jones is also a board member at the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health and Foundation for Black Women’s Health, where Kendall is a health ambassador.

Kendall, a Madison native, went back to nursing school as an adult, and says she’s experienced the impact she has on Black patients.

“When I walk into the room, I see their shoulders relax, and they say, ‘I can actually tell you what I’m feeling.’ This is what quality of care looks like to the patients, it’s not an extra,” Kendall says.

Part of improving care, she said, also involves having “frank conversations” with co-workers to improve care for Black patients. Kendall has been a Diversity and Cultural Congruence Resource Nurse, and has spoken to the Cultural Diversity Resource Group, which Tracey Abitz, DNP, RN, CTN-B, NEA-BC, and director of nursing, helped start about eight years ago.

Abitz says the work grew out of a need to care for patients in a culturally congruent manner. She worked with nursing councils to choose and implement the Purnell Model, to guide nursing practice. In addition, cultural humility elements were woven into nursing orientation, competencies, education and documentation in Health Link. At the state level, she founded the Wisconsin Chapter for Transcultural Nursing in 2013. The global work for the organization has been accelerated by the hiring of Shiva Bidar-Sielaff as UW Health’s first chief diversity officer.

“We know that bias exists and that it affects health outcomes,” Abitz says. “We’ve made some movement forward, but there’s still work that needs to be done. It’s a journey, and we need to actively engage and commit to lifelong learning, self-reflection, and partnership in order to eliminate disparities in health outcomes.”

View the full nursing annual report:

Grateful Patients and Families: Thanking Nurses and Unexpected Surprises

Patients and family members often say how thankful they are for the care they received at UW Health.

Their gratitude is sometimes focused on a nurse who left a memorable imprint on their hearts forever. So much so that they regularly express their appreciation by writing “thank you” letters in the form of DAISY Award nominations.

Because their heartfelt words speak volumes about the special way nurses touched their lives, we asked several grateful patients and family members to read these notes of appreciation to their nurses, on camera, as a special surprise for their nurse. What the readers didn’t know is that they would be the ones being surprised.

Sue and Amy

Louise, Maribeth and Katie

Jamie Hartwig and Luray Ford

Nathan Fox and Brandon Bendall

Maria Christina Jackson and Amber Vozka

Amber Noggle and Sam Griesser

Another way we recognize our remarkable nurses is to ask them to read “something” on camera, and they soon discover that it’s a “thank you” from a patient or family member.

Ann Arnold

Neelam Shrestha

Thank you to all UW Health nurses. You are remarkable.

Nursing research: How can we better support triage nurses?

Triage nurses on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic are charged with making complex decisions as patients call in with lists of symptoms and nurses work to ensure that patients receive timely and appropriate care, which may require being seen in person or monitored differently.

This balancing act is further influenced by the reality of working with a previously unknown virus, which results in often changing guidelines and resources to guide care, and the concern of overburdening hospitals and clinics – all the while recognizing the potential consequences related to the spread of the pandemic and individual patient outcomes.

Élise Arsenault Knudsen, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, is a co-investigator at UW Health for a multi-site study to better understand and model how nurses make triaging decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re interested in how nurses are making decisions and what resources are available to them in their work environment to guide their decision-making,’’ says Arsenault Knudsen.

She was invited to join the study by colleagues at the University of Iowa, including principal investigator Priyadarshini Pennathur, PhD, and co-investigators, Laura Cullen DNP, RN, FAAN, and Stephanie Edmonds, PhD, MPH, RN. The study team has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through a rapid response research grant to explore what resources nurses use for decision-making, understand the cognitive work of triage nurses, and how nurses’ perception of risk influences their decisions during a pandemic.

After attaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, the researchers plan to use transcripts of phone calls during the peaks of the COVID-19 pandemic and analyze non-clinical data from those calls. They also hope to use screen capture technology to show which resources nurses use, and likely toggle between, to guide their decision making. They will then interview between 40 and 60 triage nurses at UW Health and the University of Iowa to understand their cognitive process and their perceptions of risk.

“Our goal is that once we understand how decisions are being made, we can design tools to help facilitate decision making and better support our triage nurses,’’ she says.

Arsenault Knudsen is the clinical nurse specialist for research and evidence-based practice at UW Health. Her job is to support nurses across the healthcare system to do research and to use research evidence in their practice. Her program of research explores ways to support nurses to change their practice, while accounting for the dynamic context in which nurses work, to optimize patient outcomes.

She says during the COVID-19 pandemic, she has seen research the timelines for research accelerated, including at UW Health.

“Traditionally research studies take months and even years to get off the ground, but NSF funded us in a matter of weeks and the approval processes, including the IRB, are moving at lightning speed,’’ she says.

UW Health is a site for multiple clinical trials involving COVID-19 treatment, which means nurses are not only caring for these patients, but they are also supporting research protocols that will help us to learn more about how to treat them.

“It’s been fascinating to see how quickly studies are getting up and running, patients are being enrolled, and the teams are coming together to accelerate knowledge and treatment for patients here, and all around the world,’’ she says. “These nurses are doing amazing things.”