Oakwood’s Chief Nursing Officer wins Nightingale Award

Oakwood’s Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Barbara Medvec, was one of two Oakwood nurses to be honored with a Nightingale Award for Nursing Administration in 2012. Kari Szczechowski, a staff nurse in the Intermediate Care Unit at the Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center, earned the award in the Staff Practice Nurse category.

“It’s a very nice honor,” said Medvec. “It’s always nice to be honored within your profession.”

“I’m humbled,” Szczechowski added. “I knew I was nominated but I never thought I’d be selected. This kind of recognition is something nurses aren’t used to.”

Medvec has been a nurse since 1977 and has worked with the Oakwood Healthcare System since 2001. She said a series of family tragedies that occurred while she was growing up on a farm in Michigan made her decide to go into nursing. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science in nursing from the University of Michigan and her Master’s of Science in Nursing and Business Administration from Madonna University. She started her career as a staff nurse in the Oncology Department at the University of Michigan and, prior to coming to Oakwood, served as Chief Operating Officer and Administrator of Patient Care Services for Promedia Health System in Ohio.

“The great thing about nursing is that you get to touch every area of health care,” she said. “You can be involved directly in patient care; you can be an teacher, administrator or a researcher. Nursing provides so many different options to make a difference for our patient, their families and the communities we serve. That’s what I love about it.”

The Nightingale Award is named after Florence Nightingale (May 12, 1820 to Aug. 13, 1910), who came to prominence for her pioneering work in nursing during the Crimean War. She was dubbed “The Lady with the Lamp” after her habit of making rounds at night. Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment, in 1860, of her nursing school in London. International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday.

“The thing that’s important is that it lets us convey the message of nursing to the public,” Medvec said. “Nurses care for others in their most vulnerable moments and as nurses, we cushion the sorrow, celebrate your joys and assure excellent outcomes for our patients every day, while we call it ‘just doing our jobs.”

CUTLINES: Barb Medvec (top) and Kari Szczechowski were honored with Nightingale Awards in 2012.