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The 17th-annual Nightingale Awards and Dinner was held May 6 in the Reeve Union Ballroom to sing the praises of direct-care registered nurses and licensed practical nurses in Wisconsin.

Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Nursing and Board of Visitors, the event was emceed by Mari Beth Hetherington, vice president of ThedaCare, and featured 26 nominees.

Each award recipient received $1,000 and a piece of commissioned art work representing the spirit of Florence Nightingale. The seven award winners are as follows:

Mary Fox Turner received her BSN from UW Oshkosh in 1975 and has 34 years of experience in the field. She is a nurse coordinator for the Winnebago County Health Department and has served as a lead board member in the Northeast Wisconsin Immunization Coalition since 2000. She is part of a regional pilot program to reduce disease transmission and help the faith community prepare for emergencies such as a flu pandemic.

Carla Weisshahn received her BSN from UW Oshkosh in 1984 and worked as a night-shift staff nurse in the emergency department at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah for 23 years. She achieved her certified emergency nurse certification and is a passionate supporter of nursing education. As a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), Weisshahn performed close to 400 exams. She had a keen sense of how to handle difficult and traumatizing situations. Weisshahn passed away Jan. 5 from a pulmonary embolism.

Patricia Hoogervorst is the clinical director for Valley VNA Senior Services and has 30 years of experience in the nursing field. For the past six years, she has worked with the assisted living facility where she is responsible for 60 residents while overseeing an additional 32 residents in the independent living facility. Hoogervorst built and oversaw the development of assisted living services and supervises the administration of care and holds regular meetings with residents and family members to discuss and revise plans of care.

Theresa Leppla is a pediatric clinical nurse specialist at St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac where she has served as the chair of the patient education committee from 1995 to 2006 and chair of the nurse practice committee from 1998 to 2006. Her work on various committees has been instrumental in introducing an educational system for patient use, teaching records and discharge instructions for all in-patient units. Leppla currently serves as the liaison for the pediatric respite program and oversees the pediatric out-patient transfusion patients. She received her BSN from Marian University in 1988 and her MSN from Marquette University 1995.

Leesa McShane is a RN in the emergency department at Berlin Memorial Hospital. She graduated with her BSN from Biola University in 1985 and then joined the Army Nurse Corps for eight years. She has experience in OB and as a school nurse and currently is pursuing a graduate degree at Concordia University to become a family nurse practitioner.

Tamara Moffat-Keenlance is the director of acute care at Ripon Medical Center. She started as the unit secretary and eventually graduated with her BSN less than four years later. She also holds certifications in advanced cardiac life support, Trauma Nursing Core Course and Pediatric Advanced Life Support. Moffat-Keenlance has a commitment to providing excellent patient care and is known for her humility and willingness to work where ever she is needed.

Karen Redeker is the only in-patient dialysis nurse with Agnesian Healthcare. The patients she encounters often are at their sickest point, and she uses her 20 years of experience to teach each patient the basics of dialysis, making them more comfortable with the process. Redeker often goes above the normal call of duty, working on her days off and caring for patients unconditionally. She is a role model for her fellow nurses and provides hope, healing and strength to all of her patients.