Verhaalen recognized as 2021 Nurse of the Year at Aurora Medical Center

Gretchen Verhaalen, of Salem Lakes, was selected as a 2021 Nurse of the Year for her exemplary performance as a nurse at Aurora Medical Center – Burlington (Submitted/The Report).

Salem Lakes resident Gretchen Verhaalen, a nurse at Aurora Medical Center – Burlington, was selected as a 2021 Nurse of the Year for her exemplary demonstration of Advocate Aurora Health’s core nursing values and unwavering delivery of exceptional nursing care.

“These 30 honorees from throughout our organization are being celebrated for their commitment to the delivery of exceptional, high quality, safe, nursing care, representing the work our 22,000 nurses do every day to help our patients live well,” said Mary Beth Kingston, chief nursing officer of Advocate Aurora Health.

As a nurse at Aurora Medical Center – Burlington, Verhaalen’s skills are on full display in the pre/postoperative and IV therapy areas, as she collaborates with interprofessional team members to ensure the highest level of care for patients of all ages, according to a news release.

Her peers share that she has a gift of establishing rapport with patients, family members and co-workers.

“Always seeking to improve care through innovation and best practice, Verhaalen found ways to safely care for and discharge total joint replacement surgery patients without an overnight hospital stay. She developed protocols for the new same-day discharge processes with patient safety and comfort at the forefront,” a press release states.

More than 700 nominations for this premier award were received on behalf of nurses from a variety of specialties across the patient care continuum.

These frontline nurses represent diversity in their backgrounds and experiences including veteran nurses with decades of experience, as well as others new to the profession yet already making an impact on their patients, colleagues and communities.

Advocate Aurora Health employs more than 22,000 nurses across the system’s 27 acute care facilities and more than 500 sites of care.