Outstanding Nurses

2014 Outstanding Nurses Award Winners

The complete list of this year's top Twin Cities nurses.

Photo by Adam Bettcher Photography
Before more than 200 friends, family, colleagues, and fellow finalists, 14 nurses in 13 categories were named “Outstanding Nurse” for 2014 at an evening reception sponsored by University of Minnesota Health.

Here are the winners, including inspirational words from their nominators.

Rising Star Award
This award goes to an outstanding nurse in the Twin Cities metro area with fewer than five years since board certification.
Sarah Beth Lovern, Cardiovascular Care Center, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Though still early in her career, this nurse has already taken a passion for nursing and a love for language on mission trips to Haiti, Spain, Nicaragua, and Russia. And that’s just last year. At work, writes her nominator, “A mother of a patient told her, ‘I can tell you have a gift for this.’ She really took that to heart.”

Outstanding Nurse Practitioner
Mary Anne Elder, family nurse practitioner, Allergy & Asthma Specialists, PA

This nurse is known locally and nationally, lecturing and publishing papers in her field. With patients, writes her nominator, “She consistently provides care to our most difficult ones.” In one example, she assisted a child with cerebral palsy and asthma with a treatment he could treatment he could physically manage. Her intervention has kept that patient’s asthma under control for 15 years.

Outstanding Nurse in Women's Health
Rita O’Reilly, Director of Nurse Midwife Services at Hennepin County Medical Center

This nurse has been providing prenatal to post-partum to well-woman care for nearly 30 years. She treats women with homelessness and disabling mental illness, and well-educated, working women too. The nominator of this year’s winner wrote: “She has such a calming, reassuring approach that all patients (and employees), feel completely heard and understood. I find her not only to be an inspiration to me as a Nurse Midwife, but the best boss I’ve ever had.”

Outstanding Nurse in Children's Health
Lani Hollenbeck, staff nurse in the infant care center for Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota.
So passionate is this nurse about the need for cultural awareness that she completed a doctorate in trans-cultural nursing leadership. This nurse travels to Guatemala and Mexico several times a year—recently treating 33 children in an orphanage for lice. At home, writes this nurse’s nominator, “She believes that it is our responsibility serve a family’s needs in a culturally sensitive way.”

Outstanding Nurse in a Clinic Setting
Deborah Frank, nurse clinician, Park Nicollet Headache Center

This nurse is dedicated to the chronic pain of the most disabled patients in the world according to the World Health Organization—those with debilitating headaches. She helped to create the only monthly headache patient education program in the region, serving up to 100 patients a session. Writes her nominator, “She brings empathy, reassurance, useful advice, reliable follow-through, and hope—it helps patients reduce their disability, often leading to a normalization of their life.”

Outstanding Nurse in a Hospital Setting
Mandy Seymour, director of nursing, pediatric emergency, University Children’s Hospital, University of Minnesota Health

This nurse has been instrumental in developing hospital emergency room operations, in an ED with an admittance rate greater than 20 percent. This has led to the emergency room of this hospital to be among the top 10 percent in the nation. And, writes the nominator, this nurse continually recruits talented nurses to care for this challenging patient population and setting. He writes, “She has instilled a culture of excellence with her steady leadership and her calm, problem-solving approach.”

Outstanding Nurse in Cancer Treatment
Margaret Bohman, registered nurse at Fairview Southdale Breast Center

We cannot imagine a more difficult job that calling someone to tell them they have cancer. As a former oncology nurse now working in a clinic setting, that is part of this nurse’s job. Yet from the first call to the last visit, this nurse works to make patients feel calm. Cancer is scary, and this nurse has confidence, knowledge, and kindness to keep breast cancer patients positive. Wrote her nominator, who was a patient, “She is my angel. When I left her office, I felt as if I could do anything.”

Outstanding Nurse Intensive Care
Amy Erlandson, pediatric intensive care nurse, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

“Always putting the patient first, even when it is emotionally taxing.” That is what this nurse’s nominator wrote. It rings true for all nurses, but in pediatric ICU, it has a special truth. This nurse often delivers the most devastating of news to parents. A mom to four kids, she went back to school while taking on additional responsibilities at work—including helicopter and ambulance pickups of babies. Writes her nominator, “She is a wealth of knowledge, not only in nursing expertise but in life skills.” 

Outstanding Nurse in Long-Term Care
Heather Raboin, Homecare Nurse with Accurate Home Care
Her passion developed while living with an older sister with cerebral palsy. Today, this Outstanding Nurse is the homecare nurse for a child with the same. The work of home health care nurses is often unsung, but this one is a champ. Writes the nurse’s nominator, who is both the child’s mother and a pediatric RN, “She understands the interplay of personal health, family interaction, community health, and growth and development. My son’s health has been turned around because of her, and he is a happier kid.”

Outstanding Nurse in Emergency Medicine
This year, we have tie in this category. Two nurses were named Outstanding Nurse in Emergency Medicine.

Kathy Curtis, Allina Health
The first was nominated by two friends and co-workers. For years she was the only sexual assault examiner in a rural emergency department—while raising seven children. She has been a charge nurse for more than 30 years. Writes a nominator, “Kathy has mastered the art of touching the human soul; emotionally, physically, and spiritually.”

Marie Koldborg, Children’s Hospital and Clinics
The second, nominated by her supervisor, leads emergency room outreach training throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. She has more than 40 years experience—20 in emergency room care. If there’s a committee, chances are this nurse has been on it—from the nursing practice structure committee to the committee to redesign the supply room. Writes her nominator, “This nurse has truly made a difference.”

Outstanding Nurse in Administrative Leadership
Linda Peterson, manager of case management at Hennepin County Medical Center

This year’s award winner was nominated multiple times be staff. True collaborator. Wonderful listener. Calm. Consistent. Knowledge. Poise. These are the words they used. Plus, these from one of nominator: “She allows for venting.” There is much focus on hospital case management because of the high cost of re-admittance. There is pressure, often, to keep costs down, and a strong, flexible, compassionate, leader is needed. Her nominators unanimously described a leadership style works: Service first, with the patient at the center of all decisions and actions.

Outstanding Nurse Educator
Rozina Bhimani, director of the Doctorate of Nursing Practice Program, St. Catherine University, and Certified Nurse Practitioner, North Point Wellness Center Clinic in North Minneapolis

This nurse is a teacher in a doctoral nursing program and a nurse in a clinic that cares for an underserved population. She integrates real-world experience with academic content. And she incorporates social justice issues, too, in every aspect of her teaching, advising, and practice—she identifies with those marginalized due to their ethnicity, and she has true compassion for the resulting loss of dignity. Wrote her nominator, “Students definitely sense that she is not just an educator. She is a nurse.”

Lifetime Achievement Award
This award goes to a nurse with more than 25 years since board certification.
Be Thi Ho, surgical nurse, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

Watch the video on Be, produced by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine