Impactful nurses across Kentucky receive UofL Nightingale Awards

Impactful nurses across Kentucky receive UofL Nightingale Awards

The 2016 winners of the University of Louisville School of Nursing Florence Nightingale Awards (from left to right) Deborah Reed, Hilary Deskins, Emily Neal and Laura Ware. Winners not pictured: Anthony Frazier and Mimi McKay.

The critical and often unsung work of registered nurses was celebrated at the third-annual University of Louisville School of Nursing Florence Nightingale Awards on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016.

Six people from myriad facets within nursing were honored for impacting the lives of patients, improving health outcomes, elevating the profession and inspiring others to pursue nursing as a career.

Winners of the 2016 Nightingale Awards:

Hilary Deskins, B.S.N., R.N., 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 the Lung Cancer Alliance as leaders in early detection and treatment of the disease.

Anthony Frazier, B.S.N., R.N., 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, Ind., 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, Ed.D., M.S.N., P.M.H.N.P.-B.C., 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, B.S.N., R.N., S.A.N.E., 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, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., R.N., F.A.A.O.H.N., F.A.A.N., 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 Ph.D. Program.

Laura Ware, R.N., A.D.N., 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, R.N., pediatric palliative nurse at Children’s Hospital.

Rebecca Gesler, Ed.D., M.S.N., R.N., Spalding University School of Nursing associate professor.

Alyce Goodman-Abraham, A.P.R.N., W.H.N.P., nurse practitioner at the Pelvic Pain Regional Specialty Center at Jewish Hospital Medical Center East.

Susan Sherman, R.N., M.A.T., C.H.P.N., community director of the Hosparus Inpatient Care Center.

Jaime Walker, M.S.N., R.N., M.L.D.E., C.D.E., C.P.N., diabetes educator at Children’s Hospital.

Marlot Wigginton, R.N., retired nurse from Norton Healthcare critical care.


Click here to view photos from the Nightingale Awards dinner.

Nov. 4, 2016