April 23, 2012
Ashley Pitlyk

Five SLU Nurses Honored at St. Louis Magazine's 2012 Excellence in Nursing Awards

Annual event recognizes the most outstanding nurses in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- Three Saint Louis University School of Nursing faculty members and two SLUCare neurology and psychiatry nurses were honored for making a difference in the lives of their patients and colleagues at St. Louis Magazine's third annual Excellence in Nursing Awards ceremony. The publication announced 18 winners from among 71 outstanding finalists at its award reception on Thursday, April 19.

Eve Holzemer, DNP, SLUCare women's health nurse practitioner and adjunct instructor at SLU's School of Nursing, was the winner in the neurology/psychology/behavioral health category. Her colleague, Janet Severine, NP, was also a finalist in the same category.
In addition, three of the seven nurses recognized for excellence in education were from Saint Louis University School of Nursing. Dorcas McLaughlin, Ph.D., Lee Smith, D.N.Sc., and Joanne Thanavaro, DNP, were all named finalists in the category.   

Roughly 300 nurses were nominated by members of the community for recognition by St. Louis Magazine. The 71 finalists and 18 winners were chosen by a selection committee made up of four judges from outside St. Louis. The winners will be profiled in the May issue of St. Louis Magazine.

Eve Holzemer, DNP
Eve Holzemer, DNP
Eve Holzemer, DNP
Holzemer sees patients, conducts research, manages the neurology and psychology research nursing staff and teaches as an adjunct instructor at SLU's School of Nursing. She's been a nurse for more than 30 years, and is one of the first three students to receive the doctor of nursing practice degree, the highest degree in the field, at SLU.

With more than 18 years of experience in critical care, Holzemer consistently offers innovative ideas that give her patients the greatest chance for survival.  In fact, early in her career, Holzemer helped a 24-year old new mother who had suffered a severe stroke two weeks after giving birth beat the odds even when the medical team did not believe she would survive.

"When nothing seemed to help the mother's condition, Eve proposed having her husband tape record the baby crying and making noises, and play the recording for the mother," her nomination letter noted.

"Eve also fought to allow the baby to visit her mother, which, at the time, was in violation of visiting hours. About a week later, things began to stabilize, and the mother recovered. We don't know if the baby's cry had an impact on her mother's recovery, but Eve was an early advocate for including families in their loved one's recovery process."

Janet Severine, NP
Janet Severine
Janet Severine, NP
Severine is an accomplished nurse clinician and educator with more than 30 years of experience in the field and a passion for neurology. She currently serves as a nurse practitioner for the Souer Stroke Institute at Saint Louis University School of Medicine where she provides care to acute stroke patients. Severine is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Another area of Severine's expertise includes thermometry, and she has published work on the proper use of thermometers. Severine is also completing her Doctorate in Nursing Practice.

In her personal life, Severine trains for and runs in marathons to honor one of her three sons, Ben, whom she lost to brain cancer at the age of 22. Severine began a scholarship fund and, each year, donates money raised from her runs to a senior baseball player in memory of her son's love of the sport.

Dorcas McLaughlin, Ph.D.
Dorcas McLaughlin
Dorcas McLaughlin, Ph.D.
McLaughlin coordinates SLU's accelerated psychiatric/mental health nursing course. She also teaches courses in communication in health care and family violence. In 1999, she developed an Action Methods Classroom where she used creative teaching-learning strategies based on psychodrama theory to prepare students for nursing practice.

McLaughlin's research interests include the study of posttraumatic stress disorder, intimate partner violence, and action methods. One of her most recent action method research endeavors involved examining the use of therapeutic letters to promote student reflection.

In addition to her commitment to teaching, McLaughlin maintains a private practice as a psychotherapist and psychodramatist. She is also an advisory board member of Woman's Place, a drop-in center for women who have experienced domestic violence.

Lee Smith, D.N.Sc.
Lee Smith
Lee Smith, DN.Sc.
Smith teaches public health nursing at the undergraduate level, family nursing at the master's level and research methods to doctoral students. Prior to becoming an educator, Smith spent 16 years as a public health nurse serving primarily maternal-child populations. The clinical wisdom she gained as a public health nurse has shaped her approach to teaching, where she emphasizes the importance of the public health nursing maxim "begin with people as they are and the situation as it is."

Smith's nursing practice has also guided her research interests. Her research is devoted to understanding the lives and parenting practices of teenage mothers and their families and to articulating the nature and development of public health nursing expertise. Her innovative work has landed her prestigious grants from several notable organizations including the American Nurses' Foundation and the National Center for Nursing Research.

Joanne Thanavaro, DNP
Joanne Thanavaro
Joanne Thanavaro, DNP
Thanavaro is the coordinator of the School of Nursing's adult nurse practitioner program and teaches a number of advanced nursing courses at SLU. With extensive experience working in the intensive care setting as a staff nurse, head nurse, and clinical nurse specialist in hospitals in Philadelphia and St. Louis, Thanavaro provides practical applications to the classroom to prepare her students for real-life medical situations. She currently maintains a clinical practice two days per week in a private internal medicine practice, where she frequently precepts students during her practice.

Thanavaro's primary areas of research include women and heart disease, cardiovascular risk factor reduction, acute coronary syndromes and evidence based practice. A leading expert in her field, Thanavaro has authored several book chapters and articles related to cardiovascular disease. She has also lectured locally and nationally on a variety of cardiovascular topics.

Founded in 1928, Saint Louis University School of Nursing has achieved a national reputation for its innovative and pioneering programs. Offering bachelor's, master's, and doctoral nursing programs, its faculty members are nationally recognized for their teaching, research and clinical expertise.

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