Two Franciscan St. Margaret Health physicians recently received St. Luke awards, which annually are presented on behalf of nurses from the Dyer and Hammond campuses to honor excellence in service to patients and staff.
Anthony Wilko, DO, Dyer campus Emergency Department medical director, who has spent his 20-year career there; and Onyebuchi Achufusi, MD, a Hammond campus hospitalist, who has served at both campuses for 10 of his 15 years in medicine, were presented with plaques, cakes and other keepsakes, during programs at their respective hospitals.
Also known as the doctor of the year honor, the St. Luke Award has been presented at Franciscan St. Margaret Health since 2008, “in recognition of extraordinary efforts in maintaining excellent rapport with nurses, providing educational mentoring and leadership and exhibiting a collaborative approach to patient care, which shows respect for the nursing profession and to the mission of the Sisters of St. Francis,” according Kathy O’Donnell, physician liaison.
Luke is the patron saint of physicians.
The awards were presented by Thomas Gryzbek, hospital president, during ceremonies packed with applauding nursing staff members and hospital officials at each campus. Gryzbek lauded the doctors’ contributions to the hospitals and their patients, adding he feels blessed to have them in the system.
Regarding Wilko, he said, “On behalf of the Sisters of St. Francis and our CEO, Gene Diamond, I can’t tell you how excited we are to give you this recognition – you are loved deeply. What goes on in the ED isn’t easy and you handle it with elegance and eloquence. You make us better because of your presence and make our organization so much better. You touch people’s lives, often when they are almost ready to meet the Creator, and you give them true compassion.”
Among their nominating comments, nurses said:
“Dr. Wilko is an excellent teacher and mentor. He always puts the needs of his patients first.”
“He understands the value of teamwork when caring for patients in urgent need.”
“He is a great role model to others -- a leader and mentor for our department.”
Dr. Wilko makes a special effort to educate staff and makes teamwork a priority.”
“He is always calm and a source of strength.”
Gryzbek also spoke highly of Achufusi.
“The things you do are very helpful, important and challenging, with all the pressure on your shoulders, and you handle it with such elegance. You inspire all of us to want to follow in your footsteps. You are admired and appreciated and I can’t think you enough for a job well done.”
Among nurses’ nominating comments were:
“Dr. Achufusi maintains excellent staff and patient rapport. His bedside manner is wonderful.”
“He teaches the team at every opportunity and genuinely loves to share his knowledge.”
“He always is willing to stop and take the time needed to be a friend, not just a physician. He treats staff as equals and empowers the team to always give and do more for our patients. “He is one of the most professional physicians on staff. He is always available and responsive to the needs of both staff and his patients.”
“Dr. Achufusi is the most caring, compassionate, positive and patient doctor I have ever worked with. He is very empathetic and understanding to the needs of his patients. It is a pleasure and an honor to work alongside Dr. Achufusi.”
Both physicians expressed surprise at their selection.
“I feel blessed to work in the ER and to take care of people the way I would take care of my family. It’s all about giving back. To have this award given by the nurses – to have their respect – is amazing and humbling,” Dr. Wilko said.
Added Dr. Achufusi, ”It is an honor to work at this hospital with all these great nurses and everyone else. It’s a wonderful place to work and I am very happy to be here.”