Joyce Despe, RN, was named Loyola University Health Systems Fanchon Knight Nurse of the Year during its annual Nursing Excellence Award Ceremony on May 8. Despe is a nurse on a surgical services floor at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill.
“Joyce represents nursing at its best,” LUHS Nurse Manager Ann Edlbauer, RN, BSN, who nominated Despe for the award, said in a news release. “She is a positive influence on staff, and she has been instrumental in enhancing her patients experience while hospitalized.”
Despe has worked at Loyola for 11 years. During this time, she has cared for some of the hospitals sickest patients. Despes colleagues describe her as a natural leader with a calm and reassuring manner that is appreciated by patients, families and staff, according to the release. Her patients know her by name and describe her as their angel.
“Joyces clinical expertise, judgment and interpersonal skills combined with her caring nature make all those who come in contact with her blessed to cross her path,” LUHS Administrative Director Carol Schleffendorf, RN, MS, NE-BC, who also nominated Despe for the award, said in the release.
The Fanchon Knight Nurse of the Year Award was established by Knights family to support nursing practice and education. Knight passed away in December 2005 after working at Loyola for nearly 30 years in a variety of roles. At the time of her death, she was working with head and neck cancer patients in the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center.
Knight was a consummate role model for her peers. This attribute was apparent when she developed melanoma. During her final days, Knight asked her Cancer Center colleagues to come to her bedside so she could give them a list of her patients needs. This commitment to her patients defines the attributes of the Nurse of the Year, which is why the award was named in her honor.
Several other nurses were recognized at the ceremony for their clinical expertise, leadership, patient advocacy, innovations, mentoring or skills as advanced practitioners. The following is a complete list of award winners:
The following nurses also were recognized at the ceremony for their clinical expertise, leadership, patient advocacy, innovations, mentoring or skills as advanced practitioners:
• Peggy Downing, RN, MSN nurse leader
• Katie Holish, RN, MSN, CPN coach/mentor
• Victoria Kaczkos, RN, BSN, CCRN innovator
• Sarah Lee, RN, BSN, CCRN role model
• Barbara Majcher, RN, MSN, APN, ACNS advanced practice nurse
• Adrianna Moskalik, RN, BSN patient advocate
• Sarah Redeker, RN, BSN, OCN clinical expert
• Mary Vondriska, RN, BSN, CMSRN community contributor