Each year, the program recognizes 100 Iowa nurses who have displayed a concern for humanity, made meaningful contributions to the profession and actively participated in leadership or mentoring roles. The three join ten other St. Anthony nurses who have been named as recipients of this prestigious award in the past: Cheri Theulen, Katie Towers, Tammy Roetman, Darlene Rueter, Pat Hogan, Sandy Cayler, Deb Adams, Verna Tiefenthaler, Barb Toohey, and Marcia Schaefer.
“We are honored to have three of our nurses as part of the 100 nurses chosen statewide,” said Ed Smith, St. Anthony President and CEO. “It is a great testament to the quality of care we provide and the award highlights the tremendous contributions they have made through the nursing profession benefitting our friends and neighbors right here in west central Iowa.”
Kari Hammer, a native and high school graduate of Alexandria, SD, attended Southeast Technical Institute and graduated with a degree in Surgical Technology. She then attended Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, SD and obtained her nursing degree and a certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting from Kansas State University. Kari’s career path began as a surgical tech in 1994 and moved to surgery and emergency nursing roles after receiving her nursing degree. Kari has held her current position as St. Anthony Employee Health Nurse and Clinical Nurse Educator since June 2019.
“I am very humbled and honored to have received this award. I am so proud to be part of such a competent, amazing team at St. Anthony,” Kari said. “As the Employee Health Nurse, I truly care about every member of our team. When our staff is healthy, we can take the best care of our patients.”
Kari nomination states that she has made a significant contribution to the development of St. Anthony nursing practice through her dedicated employee health work. Her professionalism, empathy, communication skills, and work ethic have been a credit to the Employee Health Nursing function. Kari’s work world shifted dramatically when the pandemic hit. She was immediately engaged in employing a range of COVID-19 safety and recovery strategies. Her days were suddenly consumed with employee screening, staff education, N95 fit-testing, developing COVID-19 health worker safety policies, assembling PPE supplies, and employee testing and counseling.
Kari and her husband, Eric, have been married for 20 years and have three children ages 18, 15, and 13 and reside in Carroll.
Sara Roth’s nursing career began 15 years ago after graduating from Wall Lake View Auburn High School and then earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Chamberlain College of Nursing. She began as a nursing assistant and has advanced from Bedside Registered Nurse to Charge Nurse to her current role as Director of the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit, and Cardiac Rehab Services. She is also the St. Anthony Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.
When the first COVID-19 case hit Carroll County, Sara had to put her emergency preparedness training to work, becoming the Chief of the Emergency Operations Center for St. Anthony Regional Hospital all while maintaining her role as the Director of Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit. Sara stayed up to date on all of the current practices and treatments and spent countless long hours researching, developing policies, and training staff. She demonstrated incredible leadership during one of the most challenging times the nurses have ever experienced all while she was pregnant with her third child. Healthy baby Hank was born January 14th, 2021, with COVID-19 antibodies that he acquired after Sara received her first COVID-19 vaccine in late December.
“This is an incredible surprise and honor! You don’t always know the impact you have on others, but I have always hoped to leave a positive impression on patients, families, coworkers, and the community.” Sara said. “Receiving this recognition has reminded me why I do what I do, and has motivated me to further excel in the care I give my patients and the way I lead the nursing profession.”
Sara and her fiancé, Mitchell Gonnerman, have three boys ages 11, 8, along with baby Hank, and reside in Lake View.
Nicole (Nikki) Schwering was born and raised in Gilmore City and graduated from Twin River Valley High School in Bode. She received her nursing degree in 2009 from Iowa Central Community College then began working as an RN at St. Anthony Nursing Home in 2009 before moving to a staff nurse role at St. Anthony Home Care and Hospice a year later. Nikki became Director of St. Anthony Home Care, Hospice and Public Health Services in January, 2020, just as the pandemic began, and earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Capella University during the pandemic. Nikki and her husband, Dave have four children ages 9, 7, 4 and 3.
“I am honored to receive this award and was shocked when I received the letter about the nomination. This year has been one of the hardest in the nursing profession and I am thankful that someone thought that I would qualify for this award,” Nikki said. “It’s been with the support of the St. Anthony and all of my great coworkers that have gotten me to where I am today!”
Schwering’s nomination letter stated that she has maintained a steady, calm manner of prioritizing, managing, and communicating to adapt to an ever-changing pandemic. Nicole served as a resource to the media, the local community, businesses and school systems, providing guidance to promote health and safety of area residents. She collaborated with the St. Anthony Emergency Operations Center team and with the Carroll County Community Coalition for Emergency Management to ensure that public health direction was applied consistently.
This year’s 100 Great Iowa Nurses will be honored on Sunday, May 2, 2021, during National Nurses Week, at a virtual reception at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. This year marks the 16th annual celebration. Recipients from past years are invited to the event and this year’s recipients will have more than 1,000 family members, friends and colleagues to share in their recognition of outstanding achievement.
The 100 Great Iowa Nurses program promotes professional nursing in Iowa by financially supporting the continued education of future nurse leaders when our donations allow. The University of Iowa College of Nursing is responsible for the program and celebration, but relies on the support and expertise of several organizations and associations around the state to make 100 Great Iowa Nurses happen each year.
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