Lakeland University Blog

Recent Lakeland grad named Nurse of the Year

Recent Lakeland grad named Nurse of the Year


Recent Lakeland grad named Nurse of the Year

Recent Lakeland graduate Desarae Rohde, an emergency department nurse at HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital, Sheboygan, Wis., has been selected as 2020 Nurse of the Year for Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) hospitals in Eastern Wisconsin.

HSHS hospitals in Eastern Wisconsin include: HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary's Hospital Medical Center in Green Bay; HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan; and HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls. Each year, one nurse is chosen as Nurse of the Year. Nurses nominate a colleague from their unit, and those nominations are then reviewed by nursing leadership and the hospitals' Professional Nurse Practice Council.

"Desarae is a role model in our department who demonstrates passion, quality and excellence in nursing by continually striving to learn and become a leader," said Cassandra Limberg, nursing manager, HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital Emergency Department. "Not only is she a great nurse to work with, but she truly takes pride in being a nurse here."

Rohde received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from Lakeland this past May. A graduate of Sheboygan Falls High School, Rohde started at HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital in 2011 as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in the surgical department. She graduated from Lakeshore Technical College as a Registered Nurse (RN) in 2017.

"All of us at Lakeland congratulate Desarae on receiving this prestigious award," said Kerry Hamm, director of Lakeland's nursing program. "Her dedication to serving patients and families, her HSHS colleagues and our community is an inspiration for all nurses. We are blessed and thankful that she is a member of the Lakeland family, and we have enjoyed watching her grow personally and professionally."

While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many difficulties, it has allowed Rohde to do what she loves most as a nurse – help people through difficult times.

"To slow the spread of COVID-19, we could not allow patients to have family members with them inside the emergency department for a period of time, which meant we all had to be more than just our patients' medical care providers, but their family members too," Rohde said. "This time has really reinforced for me, and many others, how important it is to be present and communicate with your patients."

Rohde is also celebrated for becoming one of the first to offer to assist with administering COVID-19 vaccinations to the community at the Prevea Community COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at UW-Green Bay, Sheboygan Campus. Her caring for the community extends to her colleagues as well, as this past year she also organized a department-wide weight loss challenge in which her emergency department colleagues lost more than 150 pounds. And, during the holiday season, she led a toy drive at the hospital for children in need.

"Desarae is energetic and motivational when it comes to connecting the HSHS mission to the Sheboygan community," said Loren Lortscher, director of clinical services at HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital. "She also demonstrates a high level of technical skill and provides extreme care and compassion when she is with patients and their family members."

Desarae lives in Sheboygan Falls with her husband, Nathan, and their three children.

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