Mercy Health — Lourdes Hospital’s Rhonda Kay Draper, RN., was one of the two finalists for the 2019 Press Ganey Nurse of the Year Award.

The Press Ganey Nurse of the Year Award recognizes the contributions of outstanding direct care nurses who go above and beyond in their roles and who demonstrate care innovation, transformation and collaboration that supports an exceptional patient experience.

"With more than three million nurses nationwide, it speaks volumes that Rhonda was a finalist for the Nurse of the Year honor," said Janet Simerly, RN, chief nursing officer of Mercy Health — Lourdes Hospital. "We couldn’t be more proud, just as she couldn’t be more deserving. Rhonda is an exceptional nurse who is not only loved by patients, but who is admired by her coworkers. She’s been a mentor to many of our nurses and is always willing to share her knowledge and skills. She’s a credit to the nursing profession and Lourdes is honored to have such a talented and dedicated professional caring for our patients."

Draper joined Mercy Health — Lourdes Hospital in 1997 as an obstetrics nurse. She works at the Mercy Health — Lourdes Birthing Center. During her decades at Mercy Health — Lourdes Hospital, Draper has served as a charge nurse, preceptor and has been a Neonatal Resuscitation Program instructor for the past 15 years. Draper earned her nursing degree from Shawnee Community College in Ullin, Illinois. She was Lourdes Hospital’s first DAISY Award recipient; the DAISY Award is an international program that rewards and celebrates the extraordinary clinical skill and compassionate care given by nurses. Through the years Draper has received more than a dozen Daisy nominations.

“As a charge nurse, Rhonda is a strong role model in the department,” said Michelle Gerler Rich MBA, BSN, RN, director of Women’s Services for Mercy Health — Lourdes Hospital. “As a preceptor, Rhonda shows all her new nurses the value of being attentive to their patients and their families, making a solid connection and building a relationship with them. As a labor nurse, she exemplifies being able to use her heart and soul to make each birth experience even more special and unforgettable. She has helped to move maternal-child care at Lourdes Hospital forward as we have focused on maternal and neonatal care, improving both safety and quality during the last 22 years.”

Draper was among those honored last week at Press Ganey’s 2019 National Client Conference in Orlando, Florida. Bon Secours Mercy Health had both Nurse of the Year finalists. In addition to Draper, the health system was represented by finalist Deborah Alder, BSN, RN, CPN, nurse director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, Va. This year’s Nurse of the Year Award was presented to Lindsay Norris, Oncology Clinical Nurse Coordinator at University of Kansas Health System.