Third-Annual University of Louisville School of Nursing Florence Nightingale Awards

Six nurses in Kentucky and Southern Indiana who have improved the lives of patients, their community and the profession have been chosen as recipients of the 3rd annual University of Louisville School of Nursing Florence Nightingale Awards.

The winners, as well as six honorable mentions and nearly 80 other nominees, will be recognized at the Nightingale Awards dinner on Nov. 3 at the Mellwood Arts Center.

“We are very proud to honor six extremely talented and devoted registered nurses from Kentucky and Southern Indiana who have diligently and compassionately served patients across the lifespan,” said Marcia J. Hern, EdD, CNS, RN, UofL School of Nursing dean. “Any one of us would want such a nurse to be there for us, our family and our friends in times of need.”

The six honorees are:

Hilary Deskins, BSN, RN, is manager of Cancer Prevention Services at KentuckyOne Health. Deskins oversees KentuckyOne Health’s lung cancer screening program, one of the largest in the nation, as well as the colon cancer screening program. She developed and initiated patient educational strategies for cancer screenings and works with community organizations to promote screening. Deskins also has made impacts nationally. In October 2015, she advocated the importance of lung cancer screening to members of the U.S. Congress. Deskins and KentuckyOne Health were recognized by national advocacy group Lung Cancer Alliance as leaders in early detection and treatment of the disease.

Anthony Frazier, BSN, RN, worked as a chef for several years before deciding at the age of 45 to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. He most recently worked as a patient care manager at Amedysis Hospice in Jeffersonville, Indiana, caring for end-of-life patients. He actively volunteers at the Wayside Christian Mission, serving Louisville’s homeless population by working with men in the workforce development program. Frazier has battled a rare soft-tissue cancer in his leg and eventually had to have the leg amputated. He then had severe heart failure and is awaiting a heart transplant. Frazier’s health challenges, however, have not deterred his social work.

Mimi McKay, EdD, MSN, PMHNP-BC, is an associate professor at Indiana University Southeast School of Nursing, who previously served as dean of the school, and has been a psychiatric nurse practitioner for the past 26 years. In addition to educating nursing students, McKay works as an advanced practice nurse at Boys & Girls Haven, a nonprofit organization that serves abandoned, abused and neglected children. Her work with abused and sexually assaulted women and children through the partnership she started with the Center for Women and Families and IU Southeast has had lasting impacts for victims and nursing students.

Emily Neal, BSN, RN, SANE, is a forensic nurse specialist at the University of Louisville Kosair Charities Division of Pediatric Forensic Medicine. Neal evaluates children who are suspected victims of abuse and neglect and ensures that perpetrators of abuse are prosecuted via legal testimony. In doing so, victims are removed from abusive or neglectful situations and their abusers are put to justice. Neal teaches parents about stress coping techniques that prevent abuse and educates medical and nursing students on identifying even minute abuse indicators. She is an appointed member of the Kentucky Children’s Justice Act Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional and interdisciplinary committee that develops policy and education aimed at improving outcomes for children.

Deborah Reed, PhD, MSPH, RN, FAAOHN, FAAN, University of Kentucky College of Nursing Distinguished Service Professor and Good Samaritan Endowed Chair, has raised awareness about on-the-job health risks that farmers face. Reed created the Farm Theater Dinner intervention to inspire farmers to think about occupational health, safety and disease prevention on the farm. Her research has shown that health lectures and pamphlets have little impact on farmers, who don’t have time in their demanding work schedules to attend educational meetings. The dinners provide a farmer-centered approach for families to share stories and find solutions for health and safety. Reed founded the UK College of Nursing Occupational Health Nurse PhD Program.

Laura Ware, RN, ADN, works at the Crestview Center in Shelbyville where she treats short and long-term care patients and educates and counsels families about making critical treatment decisions. When a person enters a residential nursing facility, it can be a lonely and frightening experience for the patient and the family. Often in these cases, patients have lost a spouse or partner, careers have ended and they have lost their independence. Ware comforts these patients when they are scared and lonely, reassuring them with a calm demeanor and excellent care.  

Honorable Mentions:

Stephanie Cline, RN, pediatric palliative nurse at Children’s Hospital.

Rebecca Gesler, EdD, MSN, RN, Spalding University School of Nursing associate professor.

Alyce Goodman-Abraham, APRN, WHNP, nurse practitioner at the Pelvic Pain Regional Specialty Center at Jewish Hospital Medical Center East.

Susan Sherman, RN, MAT, CHPN, community director of the Hosparus Inpatient Care Center.

Jaime Walker, MSN, RN, MLDE, CDE, CPN, diabetes educator at Children’s Hospital.

Marlot Wigginton, RN, retired nurse from Norton Healthcare critical care.

Each of the six winners will receive a cash award and commemorative plaque at the University of Louisville School of Nursing Florence Nightingale Awards on Nov. 3 at the Mellwood Arts Center, 1860 Mellwood Ave. The reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the dinner and program at 6:45 p.m. More information about individual tickets and table sponsorships is available online