This article was first seen in The Beat February 2019 (Volume 2, Issue 3), Concordia University Ann Arbor School of Nursing Newsletter.

The nursing team created graduate awards based on the four value words on our cornerstone wall, which is found just inside the simulation center. These values of service, excellence, compassion, and integrity, are preeminent in our program. An additional award, The Nightingale Award, was created as a tribute to Florence Nightingale who viewed nursing as her calling from God. It is meant to highlight a graduate who exemplifies this type of character.

Compassion Award

Maria Lulgjuraj

Maria exemplifies the definition of compassion in nursing. In the world of nursing, compassionate care isn’t simply about relieving suffering but “entering into a patient’s experience and enabling them to retain their independence and dignity.”

Maria’s immersion preceptor reported that she was looking to see if Maria had what it took to deliver compassionate care to a group of indigent mothers and children. At the end of the rotation, she reported that “Maria has it”. She shared how Maria was able to achieve what Dietrich Bonhoeffer described as “regarding people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer”. Maria grew to love the mothers and children she cared for. She was able to enter into their experiences and care for them in a way to retain independence and dignity. She understood that these mothers o􀅌en did not have the advantage of stable homes and a good education. She understood that she was there for a period of time to extend grace and compassion.


Integrity Award

Turome “Tea” Chandler

Integrity is defined as soundness of moral character, and adherence to ethical principles. For Concordia nursing, integrity means doing the right thing even when it goes unnoticed, and is an attribute of the very best nurses.

We expect Concordia nurses to display aspects of integrity: not to grandstand, and to be decent, fair and honest. Turome is attentive and attuned to those in our Concordia family: he has initiated service projects and events even when it wasn’t convenient for him. Each day during his clinical work in Kenya, he was good-natured in spite of the heat, sand, insects, homesickness, and being the only man amongst 8 women. Most of all, he can be counted on to say what he means and mean what he says. Turome’s integrity drives him to be at his very best. Tea can be trusted to unfailingly bring care and cheer with integrity to patients, families, and providers; the word “Integrity” fits him to a “T”.


Excellence Award

Desiree Reyes

Excellence is defined as the demonstration of actions and character that show merit or greatness and that are above the expected level. “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for human beings”, Colossians 3:23-24.

Desi demonstrates advanced problem solving skills in theory and clinical practicum courses, as well as commitment to success in complex situations. Her excellence in behavior and communication also is reflected in her Christian faith and character.

Desi has frequently demonstrated excellence through hard work, perseverance, dedication to patients and to peers. Her simulation instructors describe her as always prepared and never looking to take any shortcuts. She also invests in helping other students reach for excellence by serving as a tutor. This student demonstrates excellence not only in her nursing courses here in the U.S., but also abroad during a summer clinical experience. Her clinical instructors describe her using words like team player, flexible, cheerful, passionate, and dedicated regardless of the circumstances.


Service Award

Shalena Blocker

Service is defined simply as that act of doing something for someone else without the expectation of being rewarded. I Peter 4:10 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in various forms”.

The very nature and art of the nursing profession implies caring for and meeting the needs of others. Nurses meet people in the midst of some of the toughest challenges of their lives. An average nurse will provide care for the patient based solely on the provider orders given. A service-oriented nurse will seek ways to serve the patient and individualize care based on knowing the patient’s story; taking into account the challenges and desires of that patient. Concordia nurses are service-oriented nurses.
The Nurse Excellence Program is a program designed to reward students for their service both on and off campus. Each semester, students are rewarded for their hours of service. Shalena has achieved the platinum level (highest) award all 6 semesters of the Concordia Nursing School program. She has volunteered a total of 142.75 hours. She is a woman who has a heart for service to others.


Florence Nightingale Award

Samantha Southwell

Florence Nightingale is an iconic figure who is responsible for the philosophy and underpinnings of modern day nursing. Prior to her, nursing was looked down upon as unimportant and was a low status job. Through her efforts, nursing was reborn into the trusted profession we know today. The name of Florence Nightingale is often associated with nursing excellence, compassion, quality, and the ability to care for others no matter what the conditions. Florence Nightingale viewed nursing as her calling from God and gave her life and passion to the care of others. It is in her name that we give this award to a student who displays these same qualities.

It was clear from the beginning of the program that Sam possessed these characteristics. She is always prepared for class, on time and ready to learn. Her eagerness to learn was only dwarfed by her compassion and genuine care for her patients in clinical. She even carried that same compassion forward to simulation where she would often comfort the manikin as if it were human. You never heard her complain about anything, no matter the circumstance. She shows excellent leadership qualities and was a valuable team member to those she worked with. Not only is she caring and compassionate, but she exemplifies excellence in the clinical setting as well. While caring for a patient in the clinical setting as a student, she was able to piece together a problem with a patient that was missed by the regular staff. Utilizing the patient’s physical assessment data along with lab results she was able to determine that the patient was suffering from digoxin toxicity, a potentially fatal condition. Because of their recognition of this condition, the staff was alerted and appropriate interventions were able to be taken on the patient’s behalf.

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