Eleven Quad-Cities nurses from a variety of fields were honored for their hard work and giving natures at the first Nurses: Heart of Health Care awards, sponsored by the Quad-City Times in collaboration with Genesis Health System and UnityPoint Health-Trinity.

With more than 100 nursing professionals nominated, a judging panel narrowed the field to 10 nurses and a Reader's Choice award recipient, Nicole Klemme. Allyson Cordoni was given the Career Impact Award for her work as a forensic nurse.

The honorees received their awards and flowers at a luncheon at the Hotel Blackhawk. 

"Over the last year, we've gotten to know our health partners and have talked about the profession of nursing, the recruitment, what it takes to be a nurse, and so this seemed like the natural next step," Quad-City Times publisher Debbie Anselm said at the luncheon. "And so we were thrilled to be doing this in collaboration with our partners." 

"You see what they tackle, hear from the patients that they work with, and you can't imagine where that strength comes from day after day," Anselm said. "If we could just stop for a moment and say thank you, and give back a little bit of what they're giving day in and day out, it's an honor to do it." 

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Quoting from Mark Twain, Kimberly Chant, UnityPoint Health-Trinity nursing professional practice coordinator, said appreciation gives validation.

"Appreciation is a free gift that you can choose to give anyone you encounter," she said. "Each time that you choose to say thank you for a job well done, you are making the world a better place. And it makes me smile, it makes all of us smile just to think about appreciation."

Theresa Main, president of Genesis Medical Center Silvis said she believed every day should be a day for recognizing nurses.

"Nurses seem to have a special genetic makeup, some dominant gene of service and healing, caring and compassion," she said, saying many nurses know at an early age they will pursue this calling. "They care more about others than they care about themselves."

For more information on the recipients, look for the special section, Nurses: The Heart of Health Care" in the Sunday edition of the Quad-City Times and online.

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