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Community Members and Colleagues Celebrate ‘Friends of Nursing’

A night of celebration for National Nurses Week included a reflection on the question, “Where did you learn the things you know?” at LVHN’s annual Friends of Nursing 2015 celebration. The event was held last night at SteelStacks in Bethlehem. Seven care teams and 34 individuals received awards at the event attended by more than 725 LVHN colleagues and community members.

For more than 25 years, the Friends of Nursing program has honored LVHN nursing colleagues for the exceptional care they provide our community. The program awards funding that colleagues may use for continuing education and professional development, as well as for nurse-led research that enhances patient care.

In addition to the Friends of Nursing awards program, Lehigh Valley Hospital–17th Street emergency department nurse Caitlin Alifirenka, RN, signed copies of a book she co-authored, “I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives.” The book tells the story of Alifirenka’s pen pal correspondence and friendship with Martin Ganda, then a student in Zimbabwe, who co-authored the book with her.

Over the course of several years, Alifirenka’s and Ganda’s friendship evolved from one focused on teen topics to one that provided an honest perspective about the circumstances that made Ganda’s promising life very difficult. As a result of their friendship and her family’s guidance and assistance, Ganda came to the United States for college, graduated from Villanova University with his undergraduate degree and Duke University with his MBA, and has established a foundation that helps educate children in Zimbabwe. Alifirenka credits her career in nursing to the lessons she learned in compassion and caring from her pen pal experience.

The following is a complete list of 2015 Friends of Nursing award recipients:

Darlene Hinkle – Fairgrounds Surgical CenterThe Florence Nightingale Exemplary Professional Practice Award

Kallan Dianna – Operating Room, LVH–Cedar CrestJoseph J. Prorok, MD Award for Excellence in Perioperative Nursing

Jessica Smith – Express Admissions Unit, LVH–MuhlenbergDr. and Mrs. Donald H. Gaylor Medical-Surgical Nursing Award

Lynn Morgan – Intensive Care Unit, LVH–MuhlenbergThe Medical Staff Administrative Partner Award

Jill Peoples – Neuroscience Intensive Care UnitAward for Excellence in Neuroscience Nursing

Susan Eckhart – Cancer Center, Multipurpose ServicesLVHN Department of Legal Services Award for Excellence in the Promotion of Patient Care

Steven Scott – Department of MedicineProfessional Excellence Council Physician Friends of Nursing Award

Jennifer Nagle – Burn CenterThe Robert Lurig Memorial Award for Excellence in Burn Care

Post-Anesthesia Care Unit and Preadmission Testing Staff – LVH–17th StreetThe Tewari Family Award for Professional Nursing Certification – Department Less Than 15 Staff Members

6CAward for Professional Nursing Certification – Department Greater than 15 Staff Members

Karen Saab – Hospice Inpatient UnitThe Fleming Nursing Caring Award

Andrew Kovach – AnesthesiaThe Fleming Nursing Caring Award

Intensive Care Unit – LVH–MuhlenbergThe Fleming Award to Recognize a Department that Promotes Family Presence 

4KThe Fleming Award to Recognize a Department that Demonstrates a Commitment to Structural Empowerment

Walter J. and June H. Okunski Burn Recovery CenterThe Fleming Award to Recognize New Knowledge, Innovations & Improvements

Patricia Karo – Division of EducationJeffrey J. Hitchings Award for Excellence in Education

Jessica Marie Kelley – Cedar Crest CollegeJohn M. Eisenberg, MD Award for Excellence as a Student Nurse

Dawn Emes – 6TAward for Excellence as a Nurse Preceptor

Diane Limoge – Inpatient Hospice UnitJosephine Ritz, RN Nursing Award for Excellence in Patient and Family Teaching

Mark Reifsnider – Cardiac Intensive Care UnitThe Medical Staff Technical Partner Award

Simone Tukeva – 4KThe Medical Staff Technical Partner Award

Stephanie Stezenko – Cardiac Intensive Care UnitLVPG Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine–1250 Cedar Crest Award for Excellence in Critical Care Nursing

Janine Gilboy – Cancer Support ServicesWilliam F. Ihrie, Jr. & Elizabeth A. Ihrie Digestive Sciences Award 

Karen Griffith – Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, LVH–17th StreetAllentown Anesthesia Associates Post-Anesthesia Care Nursing Award

Vicki Wertman – Labor & DeliveryAward for Excellence in the Delivery of Obstetrical/Gynecologic Nursing Care

Robert Allman – RespiratoryThe Medical Staff Award for Excellence in the Delivery of Respiratory Care

Ervina Gordon – Float PoolThe Medical Staff Patient Observation Assistant Award

Elizabeth McDonald – PediatricsM.G. Asnani, MD Award for Excellence in Pediatric Nursing

Jennifer Deutsch – Speech PathologyThe Bill and Nancy Mason Award for Excellence in the Delivery of Rehabilitation Services

Amber Barnes – Float PoolJoseph and Judith Kaminski Award for Excellence as a Float Nurse

Michelle Motsko – Case ManagementAward for Excellence as a Case Manager

Janette Tough – Multipurpose Area, Cancer Center, LVH–MuhlenbergCancer Center Leadership Council Excellence in Cancer Care Award

Theresa Sanders – Pharmacy, LVH–Cedar CrestAward for Excellence as a Pharmacist

Kim Vaupel – 7KDr. Peter and Ruth Keblish Award for Excellence in Orthopaedic Surgical Nursing

Angela George – CytologyKathy Mundt-Bulla Memorial Award for Excellence as a Laboratorian

Paulette Villafane – 7KThe Medical Staff Licensed Practical Nurse Award

Dean Romanchuk – Progressive Coronary Care UnitCommitment to Patient Safety Award

Justine Waldeck – Operating Room, LVH–Cedar CrestThe Medical Staff Award for Excellence in a Care Delivery Technician Role

Amy Werkheiser – Lehigh Valley Home CareAlma W. Holland Award for Excellence in Home Care Nursing

LVPG Pediatric Infectious DiseasesLehigh Valley Health Network Board of Trustees Patient Satisfaction Award for Ambulatory Services

Post-Operative Unit – LVHN–TilghmanSenior Management Council Patient Satisfaction Award for Inpatient Care