Nurses Week Award Recipients

Nurses Week Award Recipients

Each year during Nurses Week we recognize Spectrum Health Grand Rapids Nurses who have exemplified components of the Professional Practice Model. Their presence, professional behaviors, inquiry, shared leadership and ownership of outcomes has been identified by their peers and supported by their leadership. We congratulate the 2016 Nurses Week Award Recipients

  • Jack Family Award for Nursing Excellence: Nancy Ludema BSN, RN, PCCN


    “Nancy has a presence that is inspiring. She is impressively in tune with her own moral compass and uses this to steer her nursing care. She delivers patient care on both a physical and spiritual level. Nancy truly understands what it means to care for the whole person and this makes her a phenomenal nurse. Nancy gives her whole self to her patients; they innately pick up on this and respond in a positive way. Her presence is calming, her care is nurturing and her expertise is hard to beat.”

  • Kara Coker Excellence in Quality and Safety Award: Sheri Boersma BSN, RN, CPN


    “Sheri is very passionate about nursing and doing the best for our patients. Sheri has initiated several PDSA’s (plan, do, study, act) on our unit and has done much work to roll out the changes – one of them focused on staff and nursing students and communication. She is our quality and safety officer and works really hard to ensure patient safety. As the chair of our shared leadership committee, Shari consistently shares her positive energy in engaging and growing the committee.”

  • Martie McGrail Leadership Award: Alesia Derks MA, BSN, RN-BC, NE-BC


    “Alesia is very concerned of the welfare, not only about the organization as a whole, but in each of her team members. Alesia instills a sense of trust in her team members that we can come to her for any issue. She possesses a simple but tremendously impactful approach to balancing fine details with a broad based mission by enabling and interweaving individual contributions in the greater group discussion. Alesia sets a high bar for continuous self-assessment and improvement. Her persistent commitment to learning and implementation of work strategies demonstrates tremendous attitude and aptitude towards not only her own will to improve, but also sets a healthy tone for group improvement amongst the team.”

  • Cheryl Hoogstrate Nursing Excellence Award: Michele Koeller BSN, RN, CPON



    “Michele is a wise and trusted confidante. She advocates for patients and co-workers. Michele is an exceptional nurse. She treats the whole person – she wants them to be physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy when they leave her care. A cancer diagnosis is frightening and Michele’s expertise helps patients and families weather the storm. Michele loves being a nurse and that joy is displayed in the care she provides. Colleagues gravitate toward her and her positivity.”

  • Steketee Family Award for Nursing Leadership: Audra Nelson-Arnett MSN, RN, CNML


    “Audra is a role model for all when it comes to professional behaviors. She never waivers in her responsibility or accountability for both herself and others. One of Audra’s greatest strengths is the professionalism and growth she inspires in others. Audra consistently keeps the patient and the front line staff member as the root of her purpose when driving outcomes.”

  • Sandra Roelof Lifetime Achievement Award in Nursing: Denise Busman MSN, RN


    “Denise has a true passion for safety and quality to ensure safe patient care. She works countless hours reviewing potential and actual safety events and process improvement opportunities, her clinical knowledge and expertise reflects her dedication to excellence and years of experience. She truly strives for, and pushes for, clinical excellence. Her professionalism in making difficult decisions and having crucial conversations is second to none. She is highly responsive to questions and provides evidenced based feedback. She is eager to share her knowledge and helps the team learn. Denise is a role model for professional nursing behaviors, in fact, whenever I consider what success would look like for my profession, I think of Denise. She has been an invaluable mentor. She is always supportive, accepting, and enthusiastic. Her positive attitude is infectious and I always appreciate how she is able to guide my professional development and growth while also appreciating my unique perspective and experience. She inspires me to be better, to advocate for more, and to question if what I am doing really represents best practice. If I can someday contribute half of what Denise has contributed to the profession of nursing, I will consider myself a success.”

  • Nurses Choice Award for Outstanding Physician: Dr. Ulrich Duffner


    Uli is the ultimate patient advocate, and it is clear to families that he cares for them. He has learned two famous tricks for his patients that he does in their rooms to make them laugh and feel more comfortable. He also supports patients and families at their lowest times. He works tirelessly at the state level to add to the list of tested diseases on the newborn screening tool.   Uli is a team player. Even when he is not the doctor in charge of patients, he is always willing to sit with families to talk to them, return pages to nurses, or cover service for his partner. He will spend hours looking through new research on therapies for the benefit of one patient. He has a great sense of humor, which makes him fun to work with. Uli works very closely with the nurses who care for his patients. He is very approachable.”


Rookie of the Year Awards

New this year, sponsored by the Medical staff of Spectrum Health, the Rookie of the Year award is awarded to five Spectrum Health Grand Rapids nurses with less than one year overall experience as a nurse who have exemplified components of the Nursing Professional Practice Model.

  • Mitchell DeVries ADN, RN


    “Mitch always shows professionalism when on the job. He holds others accountable to their actions even outside of the charge role. He is calm and collected even under stressful situations. This has been noted several times by the Hospital Supervisor team. The hospital supervisors recommended Mitch for this award based on his potential leadership skills, the care he provides to his patients, and his growth in knowledge in such a short period of time.”

  • Lynsey Pelak BSN, RN


    “Lynsey is an exceptional nurse who has connected with both her coworkers and her patients. Lynsey approaches all of her patients with optimism and a smile – and works with her patients and families to involve them in the plan of care. She is intuitive with her coworkers and takes the opportunity to assist staff members when they are having a difficult time. Her positive attitude has been a God send to the unit. She has meshed well with all staff and is a treasure of a nurse to have.”

  • Paige McKee BSN, RN


    “Paige has shown a great ability in her 1st year on our floor to really connect with patients and their families. She is able to focus not only on all of the busy aspects of bedside care but she also effortlessly is able to have caring conversations with patients and their families. Patients and families are extremely satisfied with the care that Paige provides. Paige asks great thought provoking questions. She has quickly built relationships with other disciplines despite working the evening shift. I can only wait and anticipate what great care she is going to continue to give our patients in the future.”

  • Rachel Sonego BSN, RN


    “Rachel’s confidence, integrity, compassion, and humility are infectious. She is excellent at engaging with her patient’s family and communicating with the entire Pediatric Critical Care Unit. Rachel strives for perfection. She has appropriately high expectations set for herself and expects that to be replicated by those surrounding her. She has a way of silently encouraging others to meet equally high expectations. As a new graduate she immediately impressed me with her willingness and eagerness to learn and drive for perfection on all aspects of care. Rachel truly is an outstanding novice nurse who was not only able to successfully complete a very intense difficult orientation in pediatric critical care but also is excelling in every way on our unit.”

  • Jessica Hopkins BSN, RN


    “Jessica, from the beginning of her journey as a RN on 4 G, has demonstrated excellence in patient focused care. She listens intensely, cares whole-heartedly, and problem solves realistically with her patients. Jessica exemplifies professional behaviors on a daily basis. Additionally, Jessica is always asking questions, finding opportunities to learn and even answers the questions of newer nurses on the unit. Jessica is trustworthy and reliable because she is always present with her patients.”