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News: Centegra Honors Long-Time Nursing Pioneer

Centegra Health System recently presented Virginia T. Williams, of McHenry, with the Centegra Community Leader of the Year Award for 2005.

The Centegra Community Leader of the Year Award is given each year to an individual who has demonstrated service on a broad scale that has resulted in improvements and contributions in the realm of community service and overall community health. The award was developed to recognize the achievements of an individual leader living in our local community who demonstrates the attributes of servant leadership, especially in the area of community service.

Virginia T. Williams, who was the first independent nursing practitioner in the state of Illinois and only the second in the United States, and was honored for her pioneering attitude towards change in the nursing industry. She helped to revolutionize the approach to caring for the total patient including his physical, spiritual, emotional and educational needs.

“Ms. Williams was selected as this year’s award recipient because her revolutionary approach to healthcare was vital to the advancement of the field of nursing as well as to the enhancement of the care the residents of the McHenry County area received,” Michael S. Eesley, Centegra President and CEO said. “Patients in northeastern Illinois and nurses all around the country benefited greatly from her philosophy of care and her willingness to make a difference,” he added.

In her independent nursing practice, which she established in 1973, Ms. Williams was a partner with her patients as well as her patients’ physicians. She created a formidable team to fight against illness and she reinforced the bridge between doctor and patient to develop efficient and effective care in the patients’ homes. Ms. Williams believed that the patient is much more than the disease or injury and that the patient’s family needed to be included in the care plan.

“Ms. Williams approach to holistic care and her commitment to her patients parallels the same philosophy of care we provide to our patients each day at Centegra. Our organization is also deeply rooted in providing a servant leadership atmosphere for our Associates and we want to honor those organizations and people who demonstrate the same principles,” Eesley said.

The Centegra Community Leader of the Year Award is presented each year at Centegra’s annual corporate meeting, which was held on February 24. Ms. Williams joins the list of past honorees, which include: Senator Richard Klemm, Suzanne Hoban of the Family Health Partnership Clinic and Steve Gavers of the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation.

Centegra Health System is located in McHenry County, Illinois. It includes the services of Centegra Memorial Medical Center, Centegra Northern Illinois Medical Center, Centegra Primary Care, Centegra Home Health Care, and Health Bridge Fitness Center. Annually, over 330,000 patient visits are made in acute and ambulatory settings within Centegra facilities. A work force of 3100 Associates and 450 physicians provide care at over 26 sites in the greater McHenry County region.