Nurses honored with awards

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  • Marquette's College of Nursing honored 13 area nurses at its Cameos of Caring awards ceremony Saturday.
  • Six of the nurses are Marquette alumni.
  • Proceeds from the event go toward the College of Nursing's Cameos of Caring Scholarship Fund.
  • The fund helps registered nurses at partnering agencies attain an additional degree and supports the college's Simulation and Technology Learning Resource Center.

Katie Muhle stays at the bedside of patients constantly, doing her best to nurse them through their worst of times.

Muhle, a 1991 College of Nursing graduate, works in the medical/surgical intensive care unit at the Milwaukee campus of Columbia St. Mary's.

Muhle was one of 13 area bedside nurses honored at the College of Nursing's first-ever Cameos of Caring awards ceremony, held Saturday in the Alumni Memorial Union ballrooms. Six of the honored nurses are Marquette alumni.

In addition to the patient and family, the physician also relies on the nurse to care for the patient and to notify the doctor if things go awry, Muhle said.

"It involves lots of pressure and a very stressful environment, but it's worth it," Muhle said. "The reward comes weeks later when a patient walks out of the unit."

Marquette is the fifth university to adopt the Cameos of Caring program, said Jennifer Miner, community relations coordinator in the College of Nursing.

Ellen Rudy brought the Cameos of Caring program to Marquette while she served as interim dean of the College of Nursing in the fall 2007 semester. She created the first Cameos of Caring program in 1999 as dean of the University of Pittsburgh's School of Nursing.

Rudy said she started the program after working as a staff nurse in a Pittsburgh hospital emergency room while on sabbatical from the University of Pittsburgh.

"It hit me how the whole place couldn't have run without nurses, but at the end of the day, no one said 'thank you' (to them)," Rudy said at Marquette's event Saturday. "We need to honor them because they're on the front line of patient care."

The Cameos of Caring program allows Marquette to partner with area hospitals, hospital systems and long-term care facilities, Miner said. The awardees were chosen by their respective health care facility.

By paying a sum of $3,500 or $4,500, each facility could become a partner with the program and sponsor a nurse for an award, Miner said.

Margaret Callahan, dean of the College of Nursing, said the college held the event in order to show appreciation for the nursing profession and to form partnerships with area health care facilities.

"The College of Nursing has adopted this program to recognize colleagues and partner hospitals from our community," Callahan said. "We hope this program will inform the community of the important role our nurses play in the health care system."

Proceeds from the gala go toward the college's Cameos of Caring Scholarship Fund. The fund offers scholarships to help registered nurses at partnering agencies earn an additional degree through the College of Nursing, Callahan said.

It also supports the college's Simulation and Technology Learning Resource Center. The center, located on the first floor of Emory Clark Hall, allows nursing students to prepare for patient care through standardized simulations, Callahan said. This includes administering medicine to mannequins with mock heartbeats and breathing capabilities.

Callahan said helping to facilitate continuing education of nurses is an important aspect of the Cameos of Caring program, especially given the current nursing shortage.

U.S. hospitals need about 116,000 registered nurses in order to fill open spots across the nation, according to a July 2007 report from the American Hospital Association. This equals a national RN vacancy rate of 8.1 percent.

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