A Celebration of Nursing at UConn Health

Nurses Week 2014

Click image to view more photos celebrating UConn Health nurses.

UConn Health is honoring its nurses with a series of events to mark National Nurses Week.

The celebration includes a recognition ceremony, programs and workshops, poster presentations and webinars, meditation and Reiki therapy, and meals and goodies, including a “Care for the Caregiver Barbecue” and a chocolate chip cookie tasting.

Again this year, 10 UConn nurses will receive Nightingale Awards for Nursing Excellence, an honor named after Florence Nightingale recognizing contributions to nursing. Nightingale is widely credited as the founder of modern nursing. The annual Nightingale Awards celebration, of which UConn Health is an official sponsor, is Thursday at the Hartford Marriott Downtown.

“Nurses Week is an exciting time for us to acknowledge, celebrate, and thank the country’s No. 1 trusted profession – nursing,” says Angelique Richard, interim chief nursing officer. “We thank the UConn Health nurses for their commitment to excellence and for making a difference every day.”

Other offerings this week include the film “Nurses: If Florence Could See Us Now,” showing Thursday in Keller Auditorium, and drawings for vouchers toward conference attendance, professional organization membership dues, or certification within the winner’s practice specialty.

More details about Nurses Week at UConn Health are available at nursing.uchc.edu.

“Today more than ever nurses are active contributors and innovators in the health care system,” says Connie Weiskopf, director of nursing and patient care services for the Correctional Managed Health Care division of UConn Health. “Correctional nursing practice is a challenging nursing specialty practiced in a specialized environment in a spirit of compassion, concern, and professionalism. Taking time each year to recognize nurses during a special week allows us to publicly acknowledge and celebrate our nurses’ many contributions while bringing attention to the diversity of their practice. Most important, it allows us a time to say ‘thank you’ for the nursing care they deliver every day.”

UConn’s 2014 Nightingale class includes four nurses who work in correctional facilities. Following are all 10 honorees with excerpts from their nominations.

2014 UConn Health Nightingale Nurses


Sheila Baudin

Sheila Baudin

Sheila Baudin, licensed practical nurse, Correctional Managed Health Care Functional Unit 10

“Sheila’s primary responsibility is for Utilization Review Case Management for the five prisons within Functional Unit 10. … Sheila has made a unique contribution to correctional nursing through her role of utilization review case manager and infection diseases case manager. She demonstrates compassion and individualized care for some of the most medically compromised inmate-patients.”


Kathy Coleman

Kathy Coleman

Kathy Coleman, quality improvement administrator, Correctional Managed Health Care Juvenile Residential Services

“[Kathy] travels throughout the state visiting detention sites where juveniles are housed, ensuring that medical and mental health needs are addressed. … Kathy is the passionate advocate for the youth who run afoul of the law, but still needs to be recognized and treated as a youth with all the developmental issues associated with adolescence. … She champions the cause of juveniles and generates a heightened level of enthusiasm and the highest level of care for a very special area of nursing.”


Anne Costello-Heath

Anne Costello-Heath

Anne Costello-Heath, staff nurse, internal medicine

“Anne Costello is an excellent example of the great heroes in our nursing profession. While most of us are wrapping things up or have gone home, Anne is still sitting at her desk, going through the queue of abnormal labs, calling patients about their Coumadin doses, and talking with visiting nurses. Things like return calls to patients, or abnormal labs do not get overlooked because of her thoroughness and diligence. It is clinic nurses like Anne, that tie the community to the hospital and safe, competent care.”


Michelle DeLayo

Michelle DeLayo

Michelle DeLayo, acute care nurse practitioner, intensive care

“Due to Michelle’s efforts our central line-associated blood stream infection rate has dropped to zero over the past year (this is an amazing accomplishment!), and catheter-associated urinary tract infaction rates have also significantly decreased.” “As part of her daily activities, Michelle routinely combines collaborative bedside patient care with ongoing education of the ICU RN staff, managing unstable patients while answering nursing questions and teaching them both practical and theoretical nuances of critical care medicine. The ICU staff uniformly consider her to be one of their primary educational resources.”


Patricia Fink

Patricia Fink

Patricia Fink, correctional head nurse, York/Niantic Annex Correctional Institution

“Pat is an example of how all nurses should be. She is an example of a patient advocate with cultural sensitivity, a patient educator and an untiring caregiver for the incarcerated population. … At the Niantic Annex, Pat was asked to ‘create’ a health services unit, after closing down a well-established correctional facility, Gates. She opened this unit quickly and efficiently, demonstrated flexibility and a highly capable performance in assuring a smooth transition for all patient care.”


Marianne Fuchs

Marianne Fuchs

Marianne Fuchs, nurse clinician, New Haven Correctional Center

“Marianne Fuchs is an outstanding and caring nurse clinician who is devoted to the mental health patients she cares for at the New Haven Correctional Center. The psychiatrist on-site states that she single handedly ‘holds our Mental Health Clinic together.’ … A 17 year veteran of CMHC, she embodies outstanding nursing care in a correctional facility. You only have to read her notes to glean her superior work and patient follow-up.”


Elizabeth Laska

Elizabeth Laska

Elizabeth Laska, poison information specialist, Connecticut Poison Control Center

“It is very hard to appreciate the extent of the role of a RN poison specialist if you have not actually observed intake of an emergency call. The skill and depth of experiential knowledge needed to accurately assess a patient or gather information from a caller involves critical thinking, sensitivity, sharp listening skills and calming presence. … Elizabeth exemplifies these traits and sets the standard. She exhibits extensive knowledge depth of toxicology, maintains a reassuring nonjudgmental tone all while being present with a caller.”


Wendy Martinson

Wendy Martinson

Wendy Martinson, quality assurance specialist, Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety

In the four years I have known her, Wendy Martinson has improved the lives of hundreds of heart failure patients. … She spearheaded UConn Health’s initiative to help heart failure patients transition out of the hospital and back into their homes. … She brought together community doctors, visiting nurses, staff from skilled nursing facilities, and even an adult day care center and insurance company. … Today the Dream Team meets every month with about 40 to 50 members in attendance. … The team has received national recognition. The lives of countless heart failure patients are better because of this group.


Susan Walters

Susan Walters

Susan Walters, research facilitator, Clinical Research Center

“[Susan] is caring, competent and efficient delivering exceptional care to her study participants. … Susan has been involved as the UConn Health site study coordinator for landmark studies both in breast and prostate cancers here at UConn over a period of 10 years. As UConn Health has quietly forged a better and better name for itself in breast and prostate cancer research, she was the glue for Investigators of these projects; facilitating the studies which have led to new cutting edge care standards over her years in research.”


Diahann Wilcox

Diahann Wilcox

Diahann Wilcox, nurse practitioner, pulmonary medicine

“[Diahann’s] compassion for patients is immeasurable. She is extremely dedicated to her patients ensuring that they are living the best life that is possible, while managing their chronic disease. … Diahann is actively engaged in a hospital wide initiative to reduce readmissions and improve the quality of care for patients with COPD. … She tries to normalize her patients’ lives. She calls patients at home to “check” on them, makes house calls, and emails and talks to other members of the healthcare team to ensure everyone is aware of the plan to manage the disease process of her patients.”


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