The nurses were recognized for their extraordinary level of patient care, compassion, professionalism, integrity and leadership in the nursing profession. The winning nurses each received a crystal award and a gift certificate to Scrubs and Beyond.
Among the nurses honored was Heidi Clark. She specializes in emergency medicine at Cox Monett Hospital. Heidi has been a registered nurse for 18 years practicing in Missouri. Eight of those years she has been at Cox Monett Hospital.
Heidi received the 2009 Nursing Award for Responsibility; 2010 Exemplary Nurse Award; and 2011 Nurse of Year at Cox Monett Hospital.
Heidi was described by the nominator as "a model nurse who we all want to be. She is a perfect role model and a nurse who we all want to take care of us if we were a patient. You can tell nursing is her desire, passion and calling. She is a nurse to help improve the lives of others."
More than 150 applications were submitted which were then narrowed down to 85 nominees representing 39 different health organizations. A selection committee of healthcare professionals reviewed the blinded nomination forms and determined the winners. Dr. Jan DeMasters, president of the St. Louis Campus of Chamberlain College of Nursing, chaired the committee.
The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of all babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The Nurse of the Year initiative supports this mission while recognizing exceptional nurses throughout the state, celebrating the profession, and creating awareness of the strides made in the growing field.
"We are so pleased to be able to recognize the outstanding contributions and commitment nurses provide to healthcare across the state of Missouri," said Mary Elizabeth Grimes, Director of the Missouri Chapter of March of Dimes. "Although this is the first award ceremony we have held, March of Dimes has recognized and appreciated the contribution of nurses for almost 75 years. Nurse of the Year is an opportunity for March of Dimes and the community to say thank you to these wonderful caregivers who make such a difference in our lives."