ThedaCare Nurse Earns Outstanding Nurse of the Year Recognition

August 3, 2020

Dedicated to Patient and Families Navigating a Hospice Journey

A ThedaCare Registered Nurse was recently named “Outstanding Nurse of the Year” by Fox Valley Family Medicine Residency and Mosaic Family Health.

Louise (Lou) Sharpless is currently the ThedaCare At Home Hospice liaison at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton. She received the recognition in June.

“I was completely surprised and humbled to say the least about this recognition,” she said. “In my mind, recognition for being able to live my passion every day is not needed. I am rewarded daily by hearing the stories of all the amazing things people have done during their lifetimes.”

Sharpless explained more about her role at ThedaCare.

“I meet with patients and families to present ThedaCare Hospice as an option to consider in their illness journey,” she said. “I discuss the hospice philosophy, services and more. This is a difficult time for families. It’s important that we validate the journey they have been on while seeking aggressive treatment for their illness, and reinforce that choosing to stop treatment is not about “giving up”. It is about focusing on those moments that make them happy and give them quality of life with the people they love.”

Sharpless was nominated by Family Medicine resident physicians from Fox Valley Family Medicine Residency and Mosaic Family Health who do various rotations at local hospitals. In June, seven residents completed their three-year Family Medicine Residency Program and voted for a physician and nurse from each health system they feel has been outstanding in their education. 

“I have been privileged to have several of the residents follow me throughout the course of a day, or several days to observe my work,” she said. “I love the opportunity to be able to discuss each situation with the residents, and explain the process in guiding patients and families with their choices. The residents are an amazing group of young people. ThedaCare is fortunate to be part of the formulation of their future practices.”

Along with Sharpless who was chosen as Outstanding Nurse of the Year, Dr. Benjamin Duffy, a Physician Lead and Hospitalist at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton, was chosen at Outstanding Teacher of the Year from ThedaCare.

Sharpless explained more about taking part in the program, helping residents find their place in health care, just as she did.

“I don’t believe I chose hospice as my career path – I believe that a hospice passion is a choice that has just occurred naturally,” she said. “The philosophy, team mindedness, support of families and celebration of a life well lived resounds in my heart. I thrive on being that advocate, helping families determine the best plans for their loved one.”