Mennonite Nurses Alumni Organization names 2014 award recipients
The Mennonite Nurses Alumni Organization held the Awards and Reunion Banquet on April 26 at the Alumni Center.
The following awards were presented:
Ditinguished Alumni Award: Deborah (Finkenbinder) Stenger ’73, B.S.N. ’01, M.S.N. ’06
Early Career Achievement Award: Jaymie (Schmidt) Green, B.S.N. ’06
Service Award: John Lawrence
Spirit of Nursing Award: Susan (Koth) Schwingle, B.S.N. ’87
Distinguished Alumni Award
Deborah (Finkenbinder) Stenger received her diploma in 1973, her B.S.N. (RN/B.S.N. program) in 2001, and her M.S.N. in 2006—all from Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN). She also received a clinical nurse leader certificate in 2008. Stenger was a part of the first transcultural group to travel to Berlin, Germany.
Stenger’s 40-year career demonstrates a nurse leader who has progressively taken on various responsibilities at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center: critical care nurse, charge nurse, supervisor, manager, and patient coordination and resources specialist. In 2004 Stenger received the Nursing Leadership Award from BroMenn. Her love for lifelong learning extended into transitioning into education, and she has devoted her time and energy to teaching and presenting at her alma mater since 2006.
Stenger has been celebrated not only by employers but also by her students for her exceptional clinical instruction. In addition, Stenger offers her time and talents to her church, both as a teacher and through committee and leadership positions. The support she gives back to her alma mater includes her involvement in various committees, attending alumni events, and her financial support with nearly 30 years of consistent giving to MCN.
Early Career Achievement Award
Jaymie (Schmidt) Green graduated summa cum laude from MCN with her B.S.N. in 2006. She also has certifications for advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS), certified med/surg registered (CMSRN), and basic life support (BLS).
Green works at Carle Foundation Hospital. In April 2013 she was promoted to a supervisory position and currently supervises two surgical floors. She has also been a preceptor on her floor and a key contributor on Carle’s magnet team since 2007. She was a part of a team of three that created a premier magnet event at Carle. The event was a success, and the trio applied to present their program at the National Magnet Conference in 2011. More than 6,000 nurses were in attendance at the conference, and the team presented at one of the concurrent sessions attended by 900 people.
While attending nursing school, Green always saw herself involved in leadership at the bedside as a charge nurse and as a champion for the bigger picture. Now as a supervisor, she has an opportunity to encourage other bedside leaders to become more involved in the profession. Green is a member of the leadership council at Carle Foundation Hospital, received an award as a “Nurse Exemplar,” and is a member of the DVT, do no harm team.
John Lawrence became acquainted with the college through Heritage Enterprises when his wife, Winifred, was being cared for in its Alzheimer’s disease unit. His family was impressed with the attentiveness and care provided to the patients, and soon discovered the extraordinary involvement of the student nurses from MCN.
In 2008 the Lawrence family created a memorial scholarship in memory of Winifred Lawrence. The Winifred G. Lawrence Endowed Memorial Scholarship is given to an outstanding student leader. Lawrence is passionate about mentoring and supporting students, and he stays connected to his scholarship recipients. He has shared his scholarship story through a video, which has been used in publications and is also on the MCN website.
Lawrence volunteers at graduation, attends the Student Nurses Association candlelighting ceremony, college receptions, Homecoming, and faculty presentations. He also volunteered to participate in another video project as a “patient” in the Nursing Simulation Lab, which aired several times in the Chicago area as a 30-second commercial spot. With a passion for education and an understanding for business, Lawrence was appointed to the Dean’s Strategy and Planning Council when it was formed in 2010 and is still a member.
Spirit of Nursing Award
Susan (Koth) Schwingle received her B.S.N. from MCN in 1987 and currently works for McLean County Unit 5 schools. She is the school nurse at Parkside Junior High and Carlock Elementary. She continued her education at Illinois State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, completing the school nurse certification program. Schwingle holds both national and Illinois certification in school nursing.
Mary Dyck, associate professor at MCN, experienced the difference this nurse-advocate made in the day-to-day life of her daughter. Schwingle identified the special health needs of the student early, advised the family how to proactively address the student’s needs, and found swift solutions when interventions were required.
“As a nurse, I was impressed with her ability to facilitate one student’s needs in a large junior high,” said Dyck. “The promptness and attention to my concerns, and her ability to lead and work within the system to make interventions work, were exemplary. These skills show her dedication to nursing and outstanding professionalism.”
Chronic illness is widespread among children. According to the University of Michigan, about 15–18 percent of children in the United States live with a chronic health condition. School-aged children, with the support of family and schools, have to manage these conditions as a part of their daily lives. Schwingle provides compassionate care of the children and her individualization of care to meet the unique needs of children with chronic illness issues. She not only cares for each student and their particular needs within the school, but also is educated about the many programs outside of the school district and takes the extra step to ensure that students receive the access and benefits of programs available that can not only improve their health but also keep them in school.