Hinsdale – Science and the human body have always fascinated nurse Ana Ahlenius.
“I also loved working with people,” said Ahlenius, a registered nurse for 28 years, 20 of them at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital
. “When I was in college and I was trying to figure out what I could do with my love for the sciences, and how I could use this with working with people, I realized nursing would really address all of those things.”
Ahlenius is the hospital’s Nurse of the Year for 2013. A nurse in the Progressive Care Unit, the Lombard resident joined the staff originally to work in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit. She has certification in critical care and in neurological care.
While attending nursing school, Ahlenius said she took a rotation in rehabilitation, which involved a lot of work in neurology. She loved the work immediately.
“It was fascinating, it was very complex and it was really interesting,” Ahlenius said. “That’s when I developed my interest in neurology and neurosurgery.” Neurology
continues to change, with new information and new chances to learn coming about every day, Ahlenius said. That keeps the work fresh. But she also has a personal interest in the field.
“My brother had a stroke last year, and that kind of just brought everything home for me,” Ahlenius said.
At work, Ahlenius is a member of Adventist Hinsdale Hospital’s stroke committee and is part of the hospital’s skin care team, acting as a resource on her unit to make sure patients don’t develop wounds while at the hospital.
The hospital is glad to have the opportunity to honor Ahlenius for her hard work, said Chief Nursing Officer Shawn Tyrrell.
“Because of her neurological background, Ana is a tremendous resource to our hospital,” Tyrrell said. “Her colleagues appreciate her work a great deal, and she is always supportive of those around her.”
When she’s not working, she is involved in her church, Park View Community Church in Glen Ellyn. She is pleased to work for a hospital with a mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ
“Every day, what I would like to do through my work is let the Lord use me to be a blessing to someone,” Ahlenius said. “That’s pretty much what I pray on the way to work every morning.”
Ahlenius also makes homemade greeting cards, which she shares with staff, said Connie Blatner, Intensive Care Unit nurse manager.
“Staff can use them to express their sorrow after the passing of a patient from the unit,” Blatner said. “She has also invited staff to her home to create their own cards to use for birthdays or special occasions.”
While neurology holds a personal interest, Ahlenius said she most enjoys working with her patients and their families, helping them understand what has happened to them following a neurological event and helping them with what comes next.
“A stroke, an intracranial hemorrhage, an aneurysm, those are tremendously overwhelming for the family and the patient,” she said. “I want to help them work through that.”
Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.
Physicians on the medical staff of Adventist Midwest Health Hospitals are independent contractors, and are not agents of the hospitals. Media contact: Chris LaFortune, public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health, firstname.lastname@example.org; (630) 856-2354.