College Alumnae and Faculty Honored During March of Dimes Annual Nursing Awards

Every fall, nurses in Nebraska and western Iowa are honored during the Nurse of the Year awards ceremony hosted by the March of Dimes, a national non-profit organization that works to improve the health of mothers and babies. The awards event celebrates nursing professionals nominated by their colleagues, managers, administrators and patients for demonstrating exceptional skills, leadership abilities and quality of care. During the Nov. 9 event, two Clarkson College community members earned recognition for their outstanding work.

Anisa Hoie, Nurse of the Year

The March of Dimes presented Clarkson College alumna Anisa Hoie (‘87) with the organization’s highest annual honor, Nurse of the Year. With nearly 35 years’ experience, Hoie characterizes what it means to provide compassionate care for her patients.

Hoie began her education at Nebraska Methodist College and graduated from Clarkson College with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing in 1987. She has worked at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, Neb. for the last 30 years caring for children with cancer in the Hematology and Oncology unit.

Hoie began her career at Children’s on a general surgical floor where she met children with cancer before they underwent surgery. When a position opened in the Hematology and Oncology unit, she decided to care for the children as they went through the treatment process. Hoie’s dedication has allowed her to watch patients grow up, walk alongside them during their journey and learn countless lessons from the children in her care.

“I’ve learned so much about life from the kids,” she said. “They taught me not to sweat the small stuff and how important it is to find the good in all things.”

Her willingness to learn from her patients is one of the many reasons why Hoie earned the Nurse of the Year Award. Recipients epitomize nursing excellence, and nominees must practice extraordinary care, participate in community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership skills. Through her work, Hoie encourages her fellow nurses and all health care professionals not to let fear prevent exceptional care.

“The biggest thing I tell other nurses is not to be afraid to give of themselves,” she said. “I think sometimes new nurses are afraid of that, but when you give of yourself, the reward is overwhelming.”

Hoie lives by this advice and says it has led to a fulfilling and rewarding career. “Nursing is not just a job for me,” she said. “It’s truly a passion. I’ve gained so much over the years and feel truly blessed to have worked in this area for so long.”

Kassie McKenny, Academic Excellence Award

Clarkson College faculty relentlessly pursue academic excellence and encourage their students to do the same. Nursing Instructor and alumna Kassie McKenny (’07) was recognized by the March of Dimes for her devotion to academia and was presented the Academic Excellence Award during the Nov. 9 awards ceremony.

Surrounded by some of the most gifted and accomplished nurses in the area, McKenny felt humbled when she won the award. “It was very unexpected,” she said. “Especially since I was in a room with so many incredible nurses.”

The Academic Excellence Award honors a nursing instructor who demonstrates distinction in education, conducting research or providing practice expertise to nursing students. Eligible nominees must work as an instructor in an academic setting for at least five years. Award winners must promote a positive nursing image, exhibit strong leadership skills and exemplify an extraordinary level of care and compassion.

These values have been apparent since McKenny’s earliest days as a nurse. She began her career at the Nebraska Medical Center and quickly realized that education was her true calling after interacting with new graduates and students on her assigned floor. McKenny joined the College in 2004 after a faculty member recommended she apply for an open teaching position. “It ended up being the perfect fit for me,” she said.

For McKenny, every day brings opportunities to interact with passionate nursing students. The Academic Excellence Award is a testament to her desire for educating future health care providers. “This award supports all the work that I do to educate tomorrow’s nurses,” she said. “It also inspires me to continue dedicating myself to modeling excellence as a nurse educator.”