In honor of National Nurses Week, HSHS St. John’s Hospital hosted a Nursing Exemplar Awards Ceremony. Below is the list of winners from the ceremony.

Nurse Leader of the Year: Polly Hohenbery, ICU & CVICU

Educator of the Year: Margy Vance, Surgery

Charge Nurse of the Year: Leigh Hatalla, GI, Amy Heyen, 4th Floor Medical

Preceptor of the Year: Caitlin Sims, ICU, Taylor Jenkins, Women & Infants

Excellence in Nursing: Meghan Pillsbury, WCC Float Pool, Kathy Wurtzler, Cath Lab, Jamie Baer, Emergency, Ossie Cloe, Division Float Pool & Rhoneza Omana, CVCU

Rookie of the Year: Michelle Whaley, IMC

Partner in Nursing: Tim Neisler, Clinical Engineering, Sherry Woodkirk, 11th Floor General Medical

Chaudhary Infection Prevention Awards:  Heather Coffey, 4th Floor Medical, Deanna Steinkruger, 4th Floor Medical, Debra Alexander, Respiratory Therapy

“I am so proud of our Nursing Exemplar award winners who were recognized for their outstanding contributions to nursing at St. John’s,” said Allison Paul, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer at HSHS Illinois. “To be recognized by your peers in a particularly challenging year is a high honor and speaks volumes about the dedication, competence and care shown by our colleagues.”

The awards recognize the dedicated health professionals and nurses who serve patients each day with respect, care, competence and joy. They play an important role in providing excellent care to our communities. After the last year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to thank, recognize and celebrate that we have these health care professionals in our community.

“I was humbled to be selected for this award,” said Polly Hohenbery, BSN, RN, adult ICU nurse manager and Nurse Leader of the Year. “I am so thankful for my nursing team who inspire me daily and unwaveringly provided the best possible patient care in uncertain times.”

Please join us in thanking these dedicated health professionals whose skills, care, and commitment to excellence makes a difference in all our lives.

Be sure to check out St. John’s Facebook page for photos from the ceremony at

For more information about HSHS St. John’s Hospital, visit St. John’s website at To apply for a position at HSHS St. John’s, visit To start your career in nursing visit

Media Contact

Jennifer Snopko

Manager - Marketing and Communications
HSHS St. John's Hospital
Office: (217) 814-7857

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