The Best of Palm Beach County

Diana Smith, Suzanne Boyd, Lois Gackenheimer, Angela PrestiaDiana Smith, Suzanne Boyd, Lois Gackenheimer and Angela Prestia.

PALM BEACH, FL – Furthering a profession founded on compassion and excellence, eight area nurses were honored by the Palm Healthcare Foundation during the 2012 Distinction Awards.

Angela Prestia, chief nursing officer for Good Samaritan Medical Center and a 2012 Nursing Distinction Award nominee; and Diana Smith, patient care administrator for VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, were chairmen of the event. Lois Gackenheimer was honorary chair.

Adrienne Fransas, Anna Kiger

Adrienne Fransas, Anna Kiger

Eight winners in different categories were recognized for their contributions and efforts serving patients and their community throughout Palm Beach County.

More than 450 people attended the program, held at The Breakers, honoring registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse educators, nursing assistants, nursing students and leaders of the nursing community.

A committee of 30 selected the eight honorees from over 100 nominations submitted by healthcare professionals and patients/families. Winners were chosen on the basis of dedication to excellence in an area of expertise beyond the scope of their jobs, commitment to the profession of nursing and a sense of community.

Suzanne Boyd, co-anchor at WPEC 12, was Mistress of Ceremonies. Presenting the awards were Diana Smith; Anna Kiger, vice president for Patient Care Services & Chief Nursing Officer of Tenet Healthcare Corporation; Jackie Lopez-Devine, chief clinical officer from Hospice of Palm Beach County; and Suzanne Pepper, from The Palm Beach Post.

“This event is about honoring and celebrating heroes,” said John Lacy, Palm Healthcare Foundation Board Chair. “Each of our Nursing Distinction Award winners has a story about being a champion to a patient, a family or a co-worker that rises far above the call of duty.”

John Lacy, Patricia Liehr, Mark Cook

John Lacy, Patricia Liehr, Mark Cook

The winners announced during the program May 4, 2012, were:

Nurse of the Year and Registered Nurse of the Year – Patricia Liehr, of the Florida Atlantic University Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing.

Leadership Award – Karin Hudson, of Jupiter Medical Center.

Nursing Student of the Year – Ana Salguero, of Palm Beach Atlantic University and Good Samaritan Medical Center.

Certified Nursing Assistant of the Year – Evette Montague, of VITAS Innovative Hospice Care.

Licensed Practical Nurse of the Year – Adrienne Fransas, of Veterans Affairs Medical.

Extra Mile award – Martha Eversfield, of St. Mary’s Medical Center. The award was sponsored by the Florida Atlantic University Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing.

The Hands and Heart Award, recognizing a nurse who exemplifies compassion and caring in his or her practice of nursing and sponsored by Christine E. Lynn – Charmaine Lawton, of Good Samaritan Medical Center and Hospice of Palm Beach County.

Educator of the Year Award – Helaine Sherman, of Delray Medical Center.

The Nurse of the Year won a $1000 grand prize and a spa weekend at The Breakers in Palm Beach. Each category winner will receive a professional portrait in addition to her award.

Presenting sponsors for the 2012 Nursing Distinction Awards were Tenet and VITAS Innovative Hospice Care. Media sponsors were The palm Beach Post and Sunny 104.3 FM. The pre-event sponsor was Hospice of Palm Beach County.

Palm Healthcare Foundation, Inc. chartered in 2001, funds solutions to improve health in Palm Beach County. Since 2001, the foundation has distributed $45 million to more than 95 non-profit organizations in Palm Beach County operating over 130 programs. For more information, visit or call (561) 837-2278.

Photos by Bill Carley Photography.


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