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Nurse director’s support of staff behind leadership award
Photo caption: Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer Lary Davis presents the Distinguished Leader award to Medical Surgical Department Nurse Director Candice Washilewski.

La Grange – Nursing is something that Candice Washilewski has wanted to do since she was in sixth grade.

“I’ve always wanted to help people,” Washilewski said. “I love the interaction with patients, the ability to make a difference in a patient’s day. I feel like, in some way, I’ve contributed to their comfort.”

Her ability to interact with patients, as well as her colleagues and staff, has earned Washilewski Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital’s Distinguished Leader award for Interpersonal Relationships. The Dyer, Ind., resident received the honor at a recent leadership institute held by Adventist Midwest Health.

“It’s an honor to work with such a wonderful group of people,” she said. “We collaborate together so smoothly.”

A nurse since 1993, Washilewski is well deserving of the award, said Mary Murphy, the hospital’s chief nursing officer.

“She has a fantastic demeanor,” Murphy said. “She is incredibly upbeat, always happy, always smiling, always working to be collaborative.”

Working as a nurse director in Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital’s Medical Surgical Department, Washilewski goes out of her way to see how each of her employees is doing, and actively becomes engaged on the unit floor, answering patient call lights and assisting patients, said Kim Krenn, a registered nurse at the hospital.

“It’s just nice to know that someone has my back, too, and she’s concerned about how I’m doing and how the patients are doing,” Krenn said. “It’s nice to feel that support. It helps me take care of my patients better.”

Washilewski joined the staff at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital in 2007, starting as the manager of its Gastrointestinal Department. Working with Murphy, she was inspired to continue down the nursing leadership path, and has since become nurse director in medical/surgical and medical/oncology.

Her work with the organization has extended beyond the hospital’s doors. Washilewski was a participant in Adventist Midwest Health’s 2010 mission trip to Costa Rica.

“Words cannot describe the feeling of going to another country and helping those that don’t have the ability to readily see a physician or to access health care,” she said. “The patients we saw were very appreciative.”

Since her return from that trip, Washilewski has had much influence on other nurses who have taken up the annual mission trip over the past three years, said John Rapp, vice president of ministries and mission with Adventist Midwest Health.

“Candice’s commitment to our mission, beyond everything else that she does clinically, makes our mission go forward,” Rapp said. “It really is something that makes our company stand out.”

For more on Washilewski, check out her award video.

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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, christopher.lafortune@ahss.org; (630) 856-2354.