The Nightingale Award for Excellence in Nursing Practice honors staff-level registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs) actively employed in Wisconsin who spend a majority of their time in direct patient care and who have made a difference in the lives of patients and families.
The six were chosen from 33 total nominations. Each Nightingale Award winner received a piece of artwork and a $1,000 award, which was funded through private donations.
The award winners are as follows:
- Louann Biddick, MSN, RN
Louann Biddick has practiced as a nurse with Agnesian HealthCare for 33 years. Currently working as an APNP with Agnesian Work and Wellness and Samaritan Health Clinic, Louann heals her patients by providing medical, spiritual and mental care. Louann is a nurse mentor and adjunct instructor at two colleges. She teaches nursing and provides guidance to nursing students to fulfill their calling into the nursing profession. Her accomplishments include: development of the first paramedic training program in Fond du Lac County, development of the Travelers Health Clinic and advancement of the Work and Wellness Program. She is actively involved in her community leading various educational inservices at the Rotary club, senior center, YMCA and young women in science camp (GEMS). She is active in mentoring new nurses through the nurse residency program and pain management program. She also volunteers her time and services with the free clinic in Beaver Dam, parish nursing and the Solution Center homeless shelter in Fond du Lac.
- Mark Coenen, BSN, RN
Mark Coenen goes wherever the emergency takes him. With 27 years of critical care and emergency experience, Mark currently serves as a ThedaStar flight nurse. Mark said: “I always knew I wanted to be a nurse” and he chose the noble profession of nursing because it “is a solid career where you genuinely get to make a difference.” Mark has a strong commitment to being a preceptor for students in the ThedaStar ride-along program. During the past 10 years, Mark has presented at the Oshkosh Student Nurses’ Association meetings, where he teaches patient assessment skills. Mark sheds his positive light on nursing—for students, staff and patients.
- Kevin Meighan, BSN, RN
In his five years with the Waushara County Health Department, Kevin exemplifies the highest qualities in public health nursing. Using his leadership skills, he brings together community coalitions, government agencies, healthcare providers, hospitals, businesses, universities, the recovery community and students to educate and combat the heroin and prescription drug epidemic in Wisconsin. Kevin serves on the board of the North Woods Coalition, a 46 member coalition of the northern counties and 11 tribal nations dealing with the devastating issues surrounding drug abuse. Kevin is also a member of the Wisconsin ad hoc Heroin Drug Task Force, which is developing a report on the heroin epidemic in Wisconsin. He has also been instrumental in bringing the recovery community forward to assist in the battle and has recently been working with “Rise Together,” a group of recovering heroin/drug addicts who share their stories with youth groups throughout Northeast Wisconsin.
- Elizabeth “Holly” Runquist, RN
In her 40 years of nursing, Elizabeth “Holly” Runquist has worked 17 of those years as a Home Health Nurse with Ministry Home Care in Sturgeon Bay. She works collaboratively with physicians, wound care specialists, dieticians, social workers and therapists to determine the correct plan of treatment for the home care patients she cares for. Holly is a long-standing member of the Parish Nurse Network and volunteers numerous hours to keep the elderly, disabled and homebound members of the church network safe and in their homes. Holly coordinates the Victim Impact Panel for Door and Kewaunee Counties where speakers talk to drunk drivers about their experiences as victims of drunk drivers.
- Rebecca Schettle, BSN, RN
Both educated and experienced in the skills of modern nursing and the human condition, and mature beyond her age, Rebecca Schettle advances the nursing profession. A registered nurse at Mercy Medical Center in intensive care, Rebecca is trained as a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) nurse, is certified as the only adult cardiac medicine nurse in the Affinity system and serves on the Standards of Care Council—all while pursuing her MSN as an advanced practice nurse practitioner. But the thing that truly sets Rebecca apart from other nurses is her absolute focus on patient care and comfort—on the art of nursing. She understands the importance of touch to a patient or to a family member and has a particular ability to inspire trust in her patients. Rebecca’s care is a symphony of the art and the science of nursing.
- Patty Walgenbach, BSN, RN
Patrice “Patty” Walgenbach joined Waupun Memorial Hospital in 2002. She has worked primarily in the emergency department but also in med/surgical, OB, infusion clinic and the ICU. One of her most outstanding gifts in nursing is her 32 years of dedicated service to the United States of America. She is responsible for initiatives in the military that include: health promotion for 1,200 airmen, orientation of nursing staff, officer in charge of immunizations and most recently, chief nurse of the Air National Guard 115th Medical Group. Deployed January through July 2014, Patty is responsible for transporting the most critically ill soldiers from places like Afghanistan, Germany and Africa back to the United States.