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Nursing Excellence award winners are from left, Erin Murphy, Carly Krueger, Amy Schroeder and Michelle Lembcke.

Four top Wisconsin nurses and two exceptional nurse leaders were awarded for their outstanding service by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Nursing and its Board of Visitors during the annual Nightingale Awards recognition dinner April 25 at Culver Family Welcome Center.

Nominees for the 2024 Nightingale Awards pose for a photo.

For 30 years, UW Oshkosh has hosted the event to honor individuals who embody the spirit of Florence Nightingale and demonstrate excellence in nursing practice, as well as nurse leaders who work in mid-management or supervisory roles.

Nursing Excellence Award

Carly Krueger, registered nurse at Aurora Medical Center Oshkosh; Michelle Lembcke, registered nurse at ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca; Erin Murphy, registered nurse at Aurora BayCare Medical Center; and Amy Schroeder, registered nurse at SSM St. Agnes Hospital, Fond du Lac; were four recipients among the 15 nominees.

Krueger, an emergency room nurse, has mentored and supported new graduates and ER novices and devised a support system and pioneered the role of her department’s first resource nurse. “Carly’s insight and dedication reshaped her department, turning a once daunting space into a haven of support for nurses and patients alive,” her nomination said.

Lembcke, a clinical nurse, is credited with infusing the work environment with much-needed positivity and energy. “She quickly anticipates and fulfills the diverse needs of her patients, displaying unwavering dedication,” the nomination said. “She particularly excels in providing exception care to patients who may be perceived as challenging by others.”

Murphy, perianesthesia RN, is credited as a “shining example” of the future of nursing, a dedicated professional whose impact resonates far beyond the hospital walls. “Erin’s flexibility, adaptability and resilience in overcoming challenges make her an exemplary nurse.” She is known to pick up meals in the cafeteria for patients or ensure her co-workers have meals ready after a long shift without a chance to eat.

Schroeder, a charge nurse, is described as going “above and beyond” in every aspect of her care. “…she seamlessly serves as a mentor, teammate, resource, preceptor and charge nurse. Not only does Amy demonstrate leadership within our unit, but system leadership recognizes her as a strong advocate for her colleagues . . .” Patients and their families have expressed their gratitude, recounting instances where her quick response and genuine concern made a significant impact.

UWO alumna Kimberly Goodacre, left, and Anne Vogrinc, were recipients of Nurse Leader awards.

Nurse Leader Award

Two of 12 nominees, Kimberly Goodacre of ThedaCare Regional Medical Center, Neenah and Appleton; and Anne Vogrinc of Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s, Milwaukee, were recipients of the Nurse Leader Award.

Goodacre, a 2005 UWO alumna, is RN clinical manager of the family birth care units. “In moments of unexpected outcomes, she stands by her team, offering individual support and ensuring their emotional well-being is prioritized. Kim’s approachable personality, active listening and commitment to crucial conversations maker her a beacon for nurses and physicians alike,” her nomination said, pointing out her open-door policy and consistent availability “set her apart.” Goodacre is credited for extending her expertise to nurse supervisors in smaller ThedaCare hospitals, advocating for uniform standards in obstetrical care.

Kimberly Goodacre, center, is congratulated by friends.

Vogrinc, nurse manager, is known for her commitment to her team—meeting with staff, keeping her office door open and engaging through emails, bulletin boards and monthly meetings. “Her unwavering presence on the unit speaks volumes, reassuring her team that she’s always there to lend a helping hand—and she is always ready to jump in. Anne’s positive demeanor and perpetual smile, even in the face of stress, create a calming atmosphere for her staff. Her professionalism remains steadfast, even when discipline is necessary, fostering low turnover and a cohesive, well-bonded teams.”

The UWO College of Nursing and its Board of Visitors instituted the Nightingale Awards for Excellence in Nursing Practice in 1993. In 2018, the Nightingale Award for Nurse Leaders was introduced to recognize nurses in mid-level management roles as well. Award recipients receive a scholarship and original commemorative award symbolizing the spirit of Florence Nightingale.

Learn more:

UW Oshkosh College of Nursing