Honoring nurses with the DAISY Award 

The DAISY Award | For extraordinary nursing faculty. Honoring nurses internationally in memory of J. Patrick Barnes.The DAISY Award is an international recognition program that celebrates extraordinary nurses and the skillful, compassionate care they provide patients and families every day. Children’s Minnesota is proud to be a DAISY Award partner and has celebrated almost 150 nurses since its establishment at Children’s Minnesota in 2008.  

The DAISY Award was created by the DAISY Foundation, formed in 1999 by Bonnie and Mark Barnes after losing their son, J. Patrick Barnes, to complications of the auto-immune disease ITP. The Barnes family was awestruck by the work nurses do every day for patients and families and they wanted to say “thank you” to nurses everywhere. The DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Award is now celebrated in over 5,000 healthcare facilities, in schools of nursing in all 50 states, and in 32 countries around the world! Over 177,000 nurses have received The DAISY Award and over 2.1 million nominations have been written.   

Recognizing the many roles nurses serve in the organization, the Professional Development Council expanded the DAISY Awards by adding three award opportunities in 2021, including DAISY Nurse Leader Award, DAISY Award for Nurses Advancing Health Equity and DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Students; these awards are in addition to the DASY Award for Extraordinary Nurses that has been presented in past years.    

The Children’s Minnesota Professional Development Council was honored to present DAISY Awards to the following recipients in 2021.

Go here to see pictures of the DAISY Award recipients.  

DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses  

Recognizes the extraordinary, compassionate care nurses provide patients and families every day at Children’s Minnesota. 

  • Nicole Anderson, BSN, RN, 7th floor Minneapolis 
  • Debbie Brenna-Minarik, BSN, RN, Infant Care Center Minneapolis   
  • Carolina Christensen, BSN, RN, PICU St. Paul   
  • Heidi Dussl, BSN, RN, CPN, PICU St. Paul 
  • Cheryl Hale, BSN, RN, Immunology Clinic Minneapolis   
  • Margo Kallio, BSN, RN, Infant Care Center Minneapolis   
  • Rui Raposo, RN, 7th floor Minneapolis   
  • Jamie Rinke, BSN, RN, 7th floor Minneapolis   
  • Amy Rikkola, RN, Special Care Nursery Minneapolis   
  • Austin Rondou, MSN, RN, CNL, CCRN, PICU Minneapolis   
  • Anna Substad, BSN, RN, NICU St. Paul   
  • Ruth Sharp, BSN, RN, IBCLC, NICU St. Paul 
  • Barb Winfield, RN, Infant Care Center Minneapolis   

DAISY Team Awards

Team Lucy, NICU St. Paul: 

  • Susan Grefe, BSN, RN  
  • Tanya Gruening, BSN, RN  
  • Andrea Lampland, MD 
  • Megan Nielsen, BSN, RN 
  • Jill Palmer, MSQ, LICSW   

Team Smile, St. Paul Surgery and PACU:  

  • Sarah Bystrzycki, BSN, RN   
  • Krista Krejce, BSN, RN  
  • Danielle Linell, BSN, RN, CPN   
  • Rachel Thunberg, BSN, RN   

DAISY Nurse Leader Award

Honors nurse leaders creating an environment where staff are valued and their expertise recognized, resulting in excellent outcomes for patients and families. 

  • Cathy Mellum, BSN, RN, Patient Care Manager, PICU Minneapolis  
  • Jodi Sand, MAN, RN, Patient Care Supervisor, Infant Apnea Program   

DAISY Award for Nurses Advancing Health Equity   

Recognizes individual nurses or nurse-led teams whose work advances health equity by mitigating health disparities that are caused by social determinants of health.  

  • Brittany Dahlen, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, CPN, Clinical Education Specialist, Center for Professional Development and Practice   

DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Students   

Recognizes and celebrates nursing students for the above-and-beyond care and compassion shown to patients and their families.  

  • Kayla Walsh, Minnesota State University   


Congratulations to our 2021 DAISY Award recipients and a special thank you to all Children’s Minnesota nurses for everything you do.


Children’s Minnesota nurse Adriene Thornton, BSN, MA, CIC, FAPIC, infection preventionist, was awarded the DAISY Award for Advancing Health Equity. Her work with the Twin Cities chapter of Black Nurses Rock was recognized for its focus on fostering support and mentorship to nurses to elevate their profession and improve their communities.

Gov. Tim Walz presented Thornton and Twin Cities Black Nurses Rock with the award on June 3, 2021. He wrote in a tweet about this honor, “As our state faced challenge after challenge over the last year, Black Nurses Rock stepped up, with innovation and compassion, at every turn. Whether it was testing, PPE, or vaccines, they got it to those who needed it.”

Nurses Week Awards 

The Nurses Week Awards at Children’s Minnesota recognize nurses who demonstrate excellence in the REACH Nursing Professional Model categories: Advanced Excellence, Partners in Care, Nursing Care Delivery, Shared Governance and The Children’s Way. Recipients are nominated by their peers and selected by the Professional Development Council.  

Nurses Week is an annual event devoted to highlighting the countless ways registered nurses work to improve health care each and every day. Nurses Week is traditionally celebrated in May to also honor the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. The 2021 Nurses Week Awards presentation was moved to the fall with the hope of celebrating in person.  

Advancing Excellence 

  • Rachel Owens, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, Cardiovascular ICU Minneapolis   
  • Denise Rucker, BSN, RN, VA-BC, Clinical Nurse, Sedation and Procedural Services Minneapolis  

Partners in Care 

  • Jamie Heil, BSN, RN, CCRN, Clinical Nurse, Cardiovascular ICU Minneapolis   
  • Mihoko Vue, BSN, RN, CPN, Clinical Nurse, 5th Floor St. Paul   

Nursing Care Delivery 

  • Zaheena Gharwal, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, Cardiovascular ICU Minneapolis 
  • Sahar Khan, BSN, RN, CPN, Clinical Nurse, 5th Floor St. Paul  

Shared Governance 

  • Heidi Poser, BSN, RN, Clinical Educator, Special Care Nursery Minneapolis   

The Children’s Way 

  • Kallie Ritchie, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, 5th Floor St. Paul   

Presentations and publications

Children’s Minnesota nurses are:

  • Researchers who contribute to the creation and promotion of evidence-based practices.
  • Educators who welcome and onboard new nurses, and who readily share their expertise with colleagues.
  • Lifelong learners who are continuously looking for ways to stay current on best practices, all in the name of patient-centered care.

Children’s Minnesota nurses led or participated in the presentations and publications listed below, showcasing the researcher, educator and learner roles they readily take on, in addition to providing remarkable care to patients and families.

Brittany Dahlen, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, CPN  

  • Calling in Bias: Simulation Based Intervention for Implicit Bias Mitigation Skill Development (with Rachel McGraw, MSN, RN and Samreen Vora, MD, MHAM, FACEP), International Pediatric Simulation Symposia, September, 2021, Virtual   
  • Equity and Inclusion Simulation: Innovation for Facilitator Development, International Pediatric Simulation Symposia (with Rachel McGraw, MSN, RN and Samreen Vora, MD, MHAM, FACEP), September, 2021, Virtual  
  • Get Vulnerable: Simulation to Address Systemic Racism (Samreen Vora, MD, MHAM, FACEP), Society for Simulation in Healthcare pediatrics affinity group, December, 2021, Virtual  
  • Operationalizing Simulation Based Mastery Learning (Samreen Vora, MD, MHAM, FACEP), CALSIM conference, April, 2021, Virtual  
  • Using Innovative Simulation Strategies for Dismantling Systemic Racism (Samreen Vora, MD, MHAM, FACEP), The Forum for Workplace Inclusion, August, 2021, Virtual  

Brittany Dahlen, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, CPN and Erica Cooper, MSN, RN, PED-BC, NPD-BC  

  • Did You Tell the Orientee? Strategies for Preceptor Feedback Skill Development, Association for Nurses in Professional Development (ANPD), August, 2021, Virtual  

Donna Eull, PhD, RN, CHPPN  

  •  The Children’s Comfort Promise: Reducing Pain with Needles, SPN National Conference, April, 2021, Virtual   
  • The Children’s Comfort Promise: Reducing Pain with Needles, AAP virtual pain Conference, June, 2021, Virtual   
  •  The Children’s Comfort Promise: Reducing Pain with Needle Procedures, Stillwater Pediatrics, September, 2021, Virtual   
  • Helping Kids Cope with Vaccinations: The Children’s Comfort Promise, Metro Health Consortium, November, 2021, Virtual   
  • The Comfort Promise: Utilizing Improvement Methodology to Bring Evidence to the Bedside, Pediatric Pain Master Class, December, 2021, Virtual  

MaryKay Farrell, RN, PED-BC  

  • How to Implement Nitrous Gas Analgesia, Anxiolysis and Mild sedation into Your Clinical Practice, Treatment and Prevention of Acute and Chronic Pain in Children Virtual Course, June, 2021, Oakland, CA  
  • I Had A Dream: Nitrous Oxide Analgesia and Sedation in Children, 12th Pediatric Pain Master Class, December, 2021, 2021, Oakland, CA

Heather Johnson, APRN  

  • Steps to Home and Recovery: Collaborative Evidence Based CNS Tumor Recovery Project, CREATE Childhood Cancer Rehabilitation Course, November, 2021, Virtual  
  • The Journey of Medulloblastoma, Metro MN APHON Conference, December, 2021, Virtual  

Song Khang, BSN, RN, CPN  

  • TeleBuddy: Help is Just One Call Away, 2021 ANCC National Magnet Conference, November, 2021, Atlanta, GA 

Linda Madsen, CNP  

  • Interoperability-Trusted Source, Children’s Hospital Association, Sept, 2021, Virtual  
  • Telehealth-Care Which Comes to the Patient, Pediatric Leadership Council, June, 2020, Virtual  

Ann Marie Nie, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, CWOCN, PhD Candidate  

  • Neonatal Skin Development and EOL Skin Changes in the Pediatric Population, Grand Rounds for the University of Chicago, July, 2021, virtual  
  • Neonatal Skin: Pressure Injury Prevention and Skin Care Products, Duke Healthcare System WOC Education, October, 2021, virtual   
  • Pediatric Pressure Injury Prevention, Duke Healthcare System WOC Education, October, 2021, virtual   
  • Skin Through the Flight of Life, NPIAP National Conference, March, 2021, virtual   
  • Special Situations: The Young, the Old and the Nutrition Challenged (with Mary Litchford, PhD, RDN, LDN), SAWC, May, 2021, Virtual  
  • The Fine Edge of Pediatric PI at end of Life, NPIAP National Conference, March, 2021, virtual  

Jennifer Rivera, DNP, APRN, ACCNS-N, RNC-NIC  

  • Implementation of a Sedation Scale and its Effect on Sedation Administration in the NICU, University of Minnesota 2021 Nursing Research Day, April, 2021, Virtual  

Mary Sachs, APRN, CNP  

  • Parent Satisfaction with Increased Respiratory Therapy Review Sessions at One Pediatric Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia Center, PCD on the Move Scientific Conference, August, 2021, Virtual  

Lindsay Schipper, MBA, DNP, RN, PED-BC, NPD-BC, NE-BC and Erica Cooper, MSN, RN, PED-BC, NPD-BC  

  • Art of Observation, PTAP Symposium, April, 2021, Virtual  
  • Transition to Practice Clinical Nurse Instructor, PTAP Symposium, April, 2021, Virtual    

Adriene Thornton, RN, MAOM, BSN, CIC, FAPIC  

  • Black Life Amplified: COVID-19 and the Black Community, Collaboration with the African American Leadership Forum, 2021, Virtual  
  • Equity and Taking Accountability for Health Disparities as a Domain of Quality (with Gabrielle Hester, MD, MS), CHA Quality Leadership Forum, October, 2021, Virtual  
  • Taking it to the Streets: Expanding IPC to the Community, Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (non-conference learning session), May, 2021, Virtual 

Brittany Dahlen, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, CPN  

  • Caregiver Simulation Program: Decreasing Anxiety with Interstage Care, Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society conference, September, 2021, Virtual  

Jennifer Rivera, DNP, APRN, ACCNS-N, RNC-NIC  

  • Implementation of a Sedation Scale and its Effect on Sedation Administration in the NICU, NACNS 2021 Annual Conference, March, 2021, Virtual  

Mary Sachs, APRN, CNP  

  • Depression and Anxiety Screening for Pediatric Patients Prescribed Elexacaftor/Tezacafro/Ivacaftor During the COVID-19 Pandemic., Cystic Fibrosis North American Meeting, November, 2021, Virtual

Heidi Shafland, MSN, APRN, ACCNS-P, CCRN-K and Jocelyn Berbee, MS, APRN, CPNP, PHN  

  • Caregiver Simulation Program: Decreasing Anxiety with Interstage Care, Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society conference, September, 2021, Virtual 

Ashley Gyura, DNP, CPNP-PC 

  • Bad Bugs and Contagious Kids, NAPNAP National Conference, March, 2021, Virtual workshop

Ann Marie Nie, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, CWOCN, PhD Candidate  

  • Challenges in Pediatric WOC, WOCN Society, April, 2021, Podcast  

Abulebda, K., Whitfill, T., Montgomery, E. E., Thomas, A., Dudas, R. A., Leung, J. S., Scherzer, D. J., Aebersold, M., Van Ittersum, W. L., Kant, S., Walls, T. A., Sessa, A. K., Janofsky, S., Fenster, D. B., Kessler, D. O., Chatfield, J., Okada, P., Arteaga, G. M., Berg, M. D., (Vora, S, Mathias, K.) et al. Improving Pediatric Acute Care through Simulation (ImPACTS) (2021). Improving Pediatric Readiness in General Emergency Departments: A Prospective Interventional Study. The Journal of pediatrics, 230, 230–237.e1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2020.10.040 

Blace, J & Nie, A. M. (2021). Chapter 55: Pediatric Palliative Wound Care. The unique anatomy and physiology of Neonatal skin. In Bruera, E., Higginson, I. J., von Gunten, C. F., & Morita, T. (Eds.), Textbook of Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care, 3rd Edition (pp. 531-537). CRC Press. https://doi.org/10.1201/9780429275524.  

Duffy, E. A., Herriage, T., Ranney, L., & Tena, N. (2021). Implementing and Evaluating a Standardized New Diagnosis Education Checklist: A Report From the Children’s Oncology Group. Journal of pediatric oncology nursing : official journal of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses, 38(5), 322–330. https://doi.org/10.1177/10434542211011059   

Eull, D., Zachrison, B., & Nickel, A. (2021). Feasibility trial of weighted blankets as an intervention for emergence delirium in postoperative pediatric patients, Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 62, 30-35, ISSN 0882-5963, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedn.2021.11.022.  

Friedrichsdorf, S., Healthcote, L., Sangster, M., Eull, D., & Borucki, A. (2021). Prevention and treatment of pain in children with serious illness. In Wolfe, J. Hinds, P. & Soukes, B. (Eds.), Interdisciplinary Pediatric Palliative Care, 2nd edition (pp308-336). Oxford  

Nie, A. M., & Schaffer, P. (2021).  Chapter 8: Pediatric Pressure Ulcers/Injuries. In Ciprandi, G. (Ed.), Neonatal and pediatric wound care (pp. 85-105). Minerva Medica.   

Padula, W. V., Cuddigan, J., Ruotsi, L., Black, J. M., Brienza, D., Capasso, V., Cox, J., Delmore, B., Holden-Mount, S., Munoz, N., Nie, A. M., Pittman, J., Sonenblum, S. E., Tescher, A., & National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel (NPIAP) (2021). Best-practices for preventing skin injury beneath personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic: A position paper from the National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel. Journal of clinical nursing, 10.1111/jocn.15682. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.15682 

Reed, R., Johnson, D., & Nie, A. M. (2021). Preterm infant skin structure is qualitatively and quantitatively different from term newborns. Pediatric and Developmental Pathology. 24:1-7  

Vora, S., Dahlen, B., Adler, M., Kessler, D. O., Jones, V. F., Kimble, S., & Calhoun, A. (2021). Recommendations and Guidelines for the Use of Simulation to Address Structural Racism and Implicit Bias. Simulation in healthcare: journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, 16(4), 275–284. https://doi.org/10.1097/SIH.0000000000000591 

Degrees and Certifications

To demonstrate a commitment to professional development, the Children’s Minnesota REACH: Nursing Professional Practice Model identifies ‘Advancing Excellence’ as a key component to providing remarkable patient care. Professional development of all kinds, whether that’s graduating from a degree program or obtaining a formal certification, demonstrates a nurse’s knowledge, skills and abilities by meeting rigorous national standards.

Congratulations to the following Children’s Minnesota nurses for their professional development accomplishments in 2021 and for inspiring others in their professional journey.

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing  

  • Shannon Diers
  • Jordan Everhart
  • Lydia Fulton
  • Mckenzie Garrett
  • Rosemary Griffiths
  • Colleen Johnsen
  • Malia Kimbrell
  • Lee Maher
  • Logan Mitton
  • Kelly Roelofs
  • Elizabeth Strassburg
  • Jillian Syvertsen
  • Kristin Wallace

Master’s Degree in Nursing

  • Anna Case
  • Tember Dickman
  • Christine Kozelka
  • Keisha Murphy
  • Kailee Petrosky
  • Kimberly  Swenson 

Doctor of Nursing Practice  (DNP)

  • Shayna Fleming
  • Lindsay Schipper
  • Nellie Swanson
  • Cecily Wegmann  

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)

  • Donna Eull  

Acute/Critical Care Knowledge Professional (CCRN-K)

  • Sara Wiplinger  

Acute/Critical Care Nursing (Neonatal CCRN)

  • Beth Baber
  • Jade Canery
  • Megan Flicek
  • Michelle Hall
  • Stacey Wanner

Acute/Critical Care Nursing (Pediatric CCRN)

  • Kayla Albrecht 
  • Cassandra Ballard
  • Chelsea Dick
  • Elizabeth Ditto
  • Emily Gustafson
  • Jennifer Krentz
  • Wendy Martin
  • Amanda Mattick
  • Meredith Miller
  • Margaret Rodrigues   

Ambulatory Care Nursing (AMB-BC)

  • Jacqueline Albert  

Certified Breastfeeding Counselor (CBC)

  • Vui Aipperspach   
  • Ragaa Al-Hasnawi   
  • Kristen Axmacher   
  • April Becker Diaz   
  • Kimberley Bedford   
  • Kimberly Carlson   
  • Julie Chandler   
  • Erin Goodson   
  • Mariah Gronseth   
  • Ashley Johnson   
  • Melanie Johnson   
  • Jade Kelzenberg   
  • Lily  Kiekhoefer  
  • Jenna Muhlenbruck  
  • Domonique Palmer   
  • Kamma Pekarek   
  • Kirsten Provart   
  • Katherine Reinhardt   
  • Thea Rogers   
  • Jocelyn Rudd   
  • Megan Skowronski   
  • Lindsay Svenby   
  • Bonita  Tersteeg  
  • Jennifer Thomas  
  • Jacqueline Waletzko   

Certified Diabetes Care Education Specialist (CDCES)

  • Emily Hassenstab
  • Carolyn Leach

Certified Hospice and Palliative Pediatric Nurse (CHPPN)

  • Sara Hasse
  • Matti Noess   

Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN)

  • Mary  Sicoli  
  • Colleen Wood   

Certified Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Nurse (CPHON)

  • Anastasia Brown   

Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)

  • Alyx Bystrom   

Certified Neuroscience Nurse (CNRN)

  • Kaitlyn Des Jardins   
  • Lisa Woodworth   

Certified Nurse Operating Room (CNOR)

  • Alyssa Nieson
  • Teresa Paulson

Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN)

  • Vui Aipperspach   
  • Melissa Buescher   
  • Bethany Burtman   
  • Erin Fakler   
  • Karen Finstad   
  • Shayla Fox   
  • Jayme Gibson   
  • Erin Goodson   
  • Emily Greenwell   
  • Melissa Hansing   
  • Wendy Jensen   
  • Debra Nelson   
  • Megan O’Brien   
  • Danielle Pamperin   
  • Maria Ruddle   
  • Clare Schwab   
  • Alicia Stephens   

Electronic Fetal Monitoring (C-EFM)

  • Vui  Aipperspach  

Holistic Nurse Baccalaureate Board Certified (HNB-BC)

  • Kayla Wagner   

International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)

  • Valerie Amelsberg   
  • Samantha Worley  

Low Risk Neonatal Nurse (RNC-LRN)

  • Beth Baber   
  • Jade Canery   
  • Julie Chandler   
  • Andrea Leroy   
  • Elizabeth Searcy   
  • Kayli Tulkki   

Neonatal Developmental Care Specialist (NDCS)

  • Vui Aipperspach   

Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse (RNC-NIC)

  • Jade Canery  
  • Megan Flicek   
  • Michelle Hall   
  • Ah Thao-Vang   
  • Stacey Wanner   

Neonatal Touch and Massage Certification (NTMC)

  • Selina Betcher   
  • Pamela Cantelon   
  • Abbie Dalbec   
  • Courtney DeSmidt   
  • Shannon Diers   
  • Pamela Erickson   
  • Lindsay Gergen   
  • Eden Habte   
  • Samantha Hoglund   
  • Rachelle Hufanda   
  • Anna Kuehn   
  • Mary Nguyencong   
  • Laura Noll   
  • Lisa Petrangelo  
  • Kelly Scofield   
  • Lindsay Svenby   
  • Mary Worm   

Nurse Executive, Board Certified (NE-BC)

  • Deborah Freeman   

Pediatric Nurse (PED-BC)

  • Vui  Aipperspach  
  • Tamra Drevecky   
  • Victoria Peter  

Primary Care Pediatric NP (CPNP-PC)

  • Melissa Hansing   
  • Cecily Wegmann   

Trauma Certified RN (TCRN)

  • Alyx Bystrom   

Vascular Access Board Certified (VA-BC)

  • Jackelyn Lutes   
  • Sydney Pederson   
  • Elisa Volk   

Medical Education Nurse Teaching Award 

The Medical Education Nurse Teaching Award recognizes a nurse on each campus who enhances the education of Children’s Minnesota’s medical resident and medical student teams. Recipients of the award are chosen based on resident nomination and are typically celebrated in the spring during Nurses Week.   

A woman with curly brown hair pulled back, wears dinosaur print scrubs. She's smiling and holding a sign that says Congratulations!

Award Recipient, Children’s Minnesota Minneapolis

Deb Young, MSN, RN, clinical nurse, 6th floor, was recognized for her ability to communicate clearly with the care team and educate learners regarding elements of complex care. Residents shared how Deb consistently goes above and beyond for her patients and prepares thoughtfully for the smooth transition of care. One resident said, “She taught me about tube feeds and tracheostomy care, and really helped with measurements for a complex patient so we could advance feeds.” 

A woman with long dark hair is wearing a black shirt and blue pants. She's smiling and holding up a sign that says Congratulations!

Award Recipient, Children’s Minnesota St. Paul

Xuan Sundstrom, BSN, RN, clinical nurse, 5th floor neuroscience, was recognized as a great advocate for patients, a wonderful teacher for residents and an all-around phenomenal colleague. Xuan brings a wealth of experience and an incredible gift for working with families during challenging times. Residents shared how Xuan handles difficult situations gracefully and “is amazing with all her patients and families.”  

Our thanks and congratulations to Deb, Xuan and our amazing teams for their commitment to educating the next generation of pediatricians!  

Nursing scholarship 

The Nursing Scholarship is generously sponsored by Children’s Minnesota Professional Staff and a neonatal grant, and is awarded through the Professional Development Council. Established in 2003, the donation has supported nursing professional development totaling more than $600,000 in the last 18 years.  

The Nursing Scholarship is available to all nurses and allied health professionals throughout the organization who are in pursuit of higher education and professional development opportunities, including conferences, courses, professional nursing certifications and research. In 2021, the Professional Development Council facilitated the scholarship review process and awarded scholarships totaling $38,629.89.  

  • 18 scholarships ($22,395) to support completion of nursing degrees through tuition reimbursement. 
  • 1 scholarship ($1,000) for virtual conference attendance to enhance knowledge and enrich nursing practice at the bedside. 
  • 4 scholarships ($3,229.07) for review seminars for new or renewed professional nursing certifications. 
  • Alaina Bean, BSN, RN, CPN, Clinical Nurse, Float Team Minneapolis
  • Sydney Bramer, Specialty Clinical Assistant, Hematology-Oncology Minneapolis
  • Tember Dickman, MSN, RN, IBCLC, Clinical Nurse, Infant Apnea Program
  • Shannon Diers, BSN, RN, CCRN, Clinical Nurse, NICU Minneapolis
  • Heidi D’Kae, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, NICU St. Paul
  • Rebecca (Reba) Gasman, BSN, RN, CPN, CCRN, Clinical Nurse, PICU Minneapolis
  • Carley Hansen, BSN, RN-BC, Clinical Nurse, Infant Apnea Program 
  • Melissa Hansing, MSN, RN, CPN, CNP, Clinical Nurse, Emergency Department Minneapolis
  • Kristina Ihlang, MSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, 6th floor Minneapolis
  • Jade Kelzenberg, BSN, RN, CBC, Clinical Nurse, Infant Care Center Minneapolis 
  • Cheryl Mosisa, DNP, RN, Clinical Nurse, NICU St. Paul 
  • Katie Mueller, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit
  • Austin Rondou, MSN, RN, CCRN, Clinical Nurse, PICU Minneapolis
  • Lindsay Schipper, DNP, MBA, RN, NPD-BC, NE-BC, PED-BC, Clinical Education Specialist, Center for Professional Development and Practice
  • Elizabeth Searcy, BSN, RN, RNC-LRN, CBC, Clinical Nurse, Special Care Nursery
  • Alicia Stephens, BSN, RN, CCRN, CPN, Clinical Nurse, Surgery Minneapolis  
  • Elizabeth Strassburg, RN, Clinical Nurse, Infant Care Center Minneapolis 
  • Jillian Syversten, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, Infant Care Center Minneapolis
  • Megan Van Hoorn, BSN, RN, CPN, CPHON, Clinical Nurse, Emergency Department St. Paul
  • Mary Worm, MSN, RN, CCRN, RNC-LRN, RNC-NIC, Clinical Nurse, NICU St. Paul 

In addition, 2021 scholarship opportunities were expanded to support 23 preceptors ($12,005.82) in completing their preceptor development program, a series of three courses taken over a six-month period. The three courses include innovative teaching strategies such as reflection, portfolios, journaling, small group discussion and simulation. 

  • Deborah Ackermann, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, Float Team Minneapolis
  • Fatuma Aden, BSN, RN, PHN, Clinical Nurse, Float Team Minneapolis
  • Vui Aipperspach, BSN, RN LRN, NIC, CCRN, N-NIC, ELBW, MNN, EFM, CPN, PED-BC, CBC, CPST, RNC-IAP, Developmental Care Clinical Nurse, NICU St. Paul
  • Jodi Bancks, BSN, RN, CBC, Clinical Nurse, ICC Minneapolis
  • Selina Betcher, BAN, RN, NTMC, Clinical Nurse, NICU Minneapolis
  • Marjorie Branum, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, NICU St. Paul
  • Melissa Buescher, MPH, MSN, RN, CPN, Clinical Nurse, PICU Minneapolis
  • David Burnham, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, PICU Minneapolis
  • Erin Fakler, BSN, RN, CPN, Clinical Nurse, 7th Floor Minneapolis
  • Ashley France, Clinical Nurse, NICU Minneapolis 
  • Ashley Graham, RN, Clinical Nurse, ICC Minneapolis
  • Eden Habte,  MSN, RN, CBC, Clinical Nurse, SCN Minneapolis
  • Breanna Hegseth, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, PICU Minneapolis
  • Jessica Krutsch, BSN, RN, CLC, Clinical Nurse, Float Team Minneapolis 
  • Madison Myrvik Carvell, BSN, RN, CPN, Clinical Nurse, Vascular Access St. Paul
  • Emily Petermeier, BSN, RN, CLC, RNC-LRN, Clinical Nurse, Float Team Minneapolis
  • Austin Rondou, MSN, RN, CCRN, Clinical Nurse, PICU Minneapolis   
  • Megan Skowronski, BSN, RN, LRN, CBC, Clinical Nurse, SCN Minneapolis
  • Lauren St. John, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, ICC Minneapolis
  • Kati Urich,  BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, Float Team Minneapolis
  • Grace Watson, BSN, RN, CBC, Clinical Nurse, NICU Mercy 
  • Susan Wethern-Kestner, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, NICU Minneapolis
  • Joan Windberg, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse, NICU Minneapolis 

Thank you to the Professional Staff for their generous contributions to nurses’ professional growth and development.  

Transition Out of Practice program: 2021 retirees share parting thoughts

The Transition Out of Practice program, developed by the Children’s Minnesota Professional Development Council, provides nurses leaving the profession a way to share their wisdom. Here’s what they said when asked to share their knowledge, thoughts and advice for current and future nurses.   

Wendi Christian, RN

“The amazing team that I work with, value and respect has been my motivation. The patients and families have touched my life and taught me so many life lessons. My advice for other nurses is to help others along this journey.”  

Lee Diedrick, MAN, RN, NPD-BC, C-NIC

“Nursing has been a perfect fit for me because it requires both heart and mind. The St. Paul NICU was the ideal place to enjoy the adrenaline rush and critical thinking required for the extremely ill neonate, but also spend months supporting mothers and fathers in loving and caring for their most precious infant from birth to discharge.  

The motivation for my work comes from my faith: to treat others as I would like to be treated. In the case of neonates, I do my part to send a premature or sick infant home to a confident family as healthy as possible. This mission of mine came full circle with the birth of my grandson at 26 weeks. All the time spent honing my skills and knowledge of preterm infants and family-centered care, plus teaching registered nurses and respiratory therapists, AND supporting other educators in their teaching of RNs and RTs, came to fruition with my now healthy and happy 2-year-old grandson.”   

Kathy Benner, RN

“What I value most about nursing is caring for vulnerable, frightened, very sick people and families. My advice to other nurses is to love your patients and families, pretend you’re in their situation and do for them what you would want done for you. This isn’t just a job or a means to an end, but a privilege.”  

Marie Aune, BSN, RN, PHN

“I’ve seen a multitude of changes in evidence-based practice such as children living longer and thriving with diagnoses such as cancer, cystic fibrosis and short bowel syndrome. And, of course, the migration of documentation from the paper chart and the need to decipher someone’s handwriting, to the electronic medical record. Every day at work will not always be rewarding. However, look into the eyes of your patients and their family members and find your inspiration to come back the next day.”   

Marianne Kenfield, BSN, RN

“Nursing has been a great career because it has allowed me to work part-time while raising a family, and has been a challenging and rewarding profession. Working in a large neonatal community like Children’s Minnesota has exposed me to a wide variety of patients and families. I always felt I was learning something new! I value that I have the skills and knowledge to care for my patients, which allows me to teach parents how to care for their babies. Seeing them go to a healthy home environment with parents who love them and know how to care for them is so rewarding.”

Thank you to all of our retiring nurses for their years of service, dedication to our community and deep compassion. There are not enough words to express the gratitude we feel.