Franciscan St. Margaret Health Nurses Honored with Cortona Awards by Coworkers and Physicians

By: Franciscan Health Last Updated: June 3, 2014

It is said there is no higher form of career praise than that expressed by one’s coworkers.

Four registered nurses, two each at Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Hammond and its sister campus in Dyer, echoed that sentiment on June 2 when they received St. Margaret of Cortona Physicians Choice, and Nurses’ Choice, awards.

The annual awards are presented in honor of American Nursing Association’s National Nurses Week.

Tom Gryzbek, hospital president, congratulated and thanked each recipient as he presented the awards, telling them, “We are very proud of you. There is nothing more flattering, no greater honor, than to be recognized by your peers, and by our physicians, for what you do for our patients. We all look up to you.”

Geri Smith, of Griffith, who has spent the last 27of her 39-year career at Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Hammond as a wound care nurse, received the Nurses’ Choice Award, while Carla Greenya, of Schererville, an Emergency Department nurse who has spent a 40-year career at the hospital, received the Physicians’ Choice Award.

Smith said she was surprised to receive the award, adding, “it really belongs to my patients, who have taught me more than I could have learned otherwise.”

“I got into nursing in the ‘70s because back then, ostomy patients weren’t being properly trained about how to care for their colostomies when they got home. My philosophy is to treat people the way I would want to be treated.”

Greenya said she was shocked and surprised to learn she had been selected for the honor, adding, “There is nothing more flattering than to have those who work beside you be so appreciative and look up to you. To be noticed by the physicians is a wonderful thing.”

Laurel Pritchard, of Lowell, practice manager and endoscopy charge nurse at Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer, received the Physicians Choice Award there. She has spent the last four of her six years at the hospital in the endoscopy unit and has spent 30 years in the business.

Pritchard likewise said she was shocked and surprised to learn of the recognition, adding, “I’m just doing my job, which I love doing.”

She said her philosophy is “to treat everyone like a relative.”

John Kniaz, D.O., hospital endoscopy unit medical director, said Pritchard “plays a great role in her job and does a great job in it -- as do all the endoscopy nurses.”

Julie Adamczyk-McCrea, of St. John, who has spent 15 of her 25 career years in the hospital’s Emergency Department and received the Nurses’ Choice Award, said she was surprised to hear she had been chosen.

Her philosophy, she said, “is to always do my best.”

“You give your best for everyone else, because you care for them as if you were caring for your family. I have been a critical care nurse for a long time and as such, have been part of a great team, which helps make my job much easier,” she added.

About the award
St. Margaret of Cortona joined the Third Order of St. Francis in the 1200s and chose to live in poverty, following the saint’s example. She founded a hospital for the homeless and impoverished in the city of Cortona, Italy and pledged her life to serving God through the hospital. She was canonized on May 16, 1728.

Photo 1:
Carla Greenya, center, of Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Hammond, receives her St. Margaret of Cortona Physicians’ Choice award from Tom Gryzbek, hospital president; and Marla Hoyer-Lareau, hospital vice president of patient services and chief nursing officer.

Photo 2:
Laurel Pritchard, of Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer, is shown after receiving her St. Margaret of Cortona Physicians’ Choice Award with John Kniaz, D.O.

Photo 3:
Julie Adamczyk-McCrea, of Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer, receives her St. Margaret of Cortona Nurses’ Choice Award from Marla Hoyer-Lareau, hospital vice president of patient services and chief nursing officer; and Tom Gryzbek, hospital president

Photo 4:
Geri Smith, center, of Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Hammond, receives her St. Margaret of Cortona Nurses’ Choice Award from Marla Hoyer-Lareau, hospital vice president of patient services and chief nursing officer; and Tom Gryzbek, hospital president.