health care workers smiling




Champions of Care

2023 #MoHospitals Champions of Care

In celebration of National Nurses Week (May 6-12) and National Hospital Week (May 7-13), the Missouri Hospital Association is honoring Champions of Care in the categories of nursing, nursing teams, health care workers and health care teams. 

In its inaugural year, more than 90 individuals and teams were nominated by their peers for going above and beyond to care for the communities they serve every day. Winners were selected by a majority vote from MHA staff.

Champions of Care winners, as well as all who were nominated, are featured below in stories submitted by their peers.

Winner: Nurse Champion

Katy Cox, RN, Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital

Katy has been a registered nurse at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital for eight years. Katy lives the organization’s mission by finding creative ways to care for medically complex kids beyond the bedside. She provides expert care while making each day special and fun for her patients. In the winter months, Katy can often be found bringing her patients outside to enjoy the snow. She organized a unitwide snowball fight during a snowstorm to help bring some normalcy to the patients while they were in the hospital. She incorporates music, dancing and joking around into her daily routine and gives her patients fun nicknames.

Katy goes above and beyond each shift and encourages all staff to make their patient’s day by being more than a nurse but also their friend. Katy extends her skills by participating in medical mission trips and being a camp nurse during the summer. Katy’s excellent nursing skills and passion for pediatrics make her a champion of care.


Winner: Nursing Team Champions

Perinatal Bereavement Committee, Progress West Hospital

When a pregnancy ends in loss, it is devastating and requires a unique approach. Last year, the Women’s Service Department formed the Perinatal Bereavement Committee to better support families experiencing perinatal loss. By combining skill sets, we have been able to accomplish so much more than as individuals. We have been able to fulfill our goals of finding ways to maximize interactions with the baby while creating memories and validating the parental role.

The care and compassion exhibited by this 15-person team is second to none. These nurses have donated their personal time and supplies to provide each mother with a stuffed bear that is customized to weigh the exact same as her baby at delivery. This ensures that no mother leaves with empty arms. Our most recent project involves working to create a memorial garden for families to visit to honor the life of their child. I am excited for what else this team will do.


Perinatal Bereavement Committee Members

Kayla Behnen, Heather Decker, Renee Deremiah, Cindy Earlewine, Maggie Freise, Sydney Gielow, Kayla Hollingshead, Jenni Koskela, Brooke Kostecki, Janie Mullinnax, Cori Regot, Daniele Reuther & Hannah Ridenour

Winner: Health Care Champion

Mendy Wibbenmeyer, Director of Quality and Risk, Excelsior Springs Hospital

Mendy is an incredible human with a GIANT heart. She gives more than 100% to everything that she does, keeping us all engaged, compliant and inspired to always do and give our best. Last year, Mendy was diagnosed with breast cancer, which was quite a shock at her young age. In this process, Mendy has had to go through extensive surgery, along with chemotherapy and radiation. I honestly don’t know how she’s done it, but through it all, she has remained full of strength and courage, and has CONTINUED to lead, support and guide our hospital without missing a beat! Even on the days that she was too weak or too sick to physically be onsite, she worked diligently to develop and implement coverage plans, ensuring that everyone who stepped in during her moments of absence was completely prepared and set up for success. Her drive and dedication to the patients we serve and the hospital heroes that deliver those services are astonishing! She inspires us all to greatness!


Winner: Health Care Team Champions

Night Shift Council, North Kansas City Hospital

NKCH’s Shared Governance has a Night Shift Council that is worthy of recognition. The NSC is dedicated to ensuring continuous quality patient care through empowerment, teamwork and education. The NSC has three primary goals: advocate for a healthy work environment, promote interdisciplinary communication and education, and increase satisfaction and retention. The NSC provides a voice and community to those who have a scarcity of resources and often aren’t at the proverbial table.

Work the NSC has done includes meaningful recognition efforts across disciplines, providing input about night shift workflows to ensure practice changes align with resources, team building activities hosted at times amendable to night shift workers, and multiple events to provide supplies to those that serve vulnerable populations of the community, such as the homeless and victims of domestic violence. Succinctly, the NSC is the disenfranchised caring about the marginalized to ensure that everyone (staff, patients and the community) is seen and cared for.


Night Shift Council Members

Cookie Martin, BSN, RN, (Chair); Jeanette Vernon, BSN, RN, RNC-LRN (Past Chair); Abbi Pope, BSN, RN; Cassie Burton, BSN, RN; Carla Sims, BSN, RN; Tonya Speer, BSN, RN, ENPC; Missy Thomassy, BSN, RN, CMSRN; Christina Thomas, RN, CCRN, TNCC; Michelle Johnson-Lunn, BSN, RN; & Maureen Reese, BSN, RN

All Champions of Care Nominations

Back to Top