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Cameo of Caring® Nurse Educator Award

Melissa Adams

Citizens School of Nursing

Melissa Adams, a nurse educator, knew she wanted to become a nurse at age four.

“I always distinctly remembered the doctor my mother took me to when I was a child. I recall going to his office and thinking he was the kindest man I had ever met. He had the deepest, but softest, voice that was so soothing when you were upset. He would sit right beside you and hold your hand when it mattered most. I knew that I wanted to make people feel safe and cared for when I grew up,” says Melissa.

Making her patients feel safe has become an important part of her experience as a nurse—whether she is on a medical surgical floor, or in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). As a nursing instructor, she teaches others the importance of care and compassion in the clinical setting.

She says, “I find the most rewarding aspect of teaching to be the transformation of my beginning students to the management part of their education. I enjoy seeing the concepts come to life as they care for patients. I know I am a part of the final professional nurse all of our graduates become, and that makes me incredibly proud.”

An educator and a caregiver, Melissa is grateful for the role she plays in the lives of both students and patients.

“I have always been sure that nursing was the right career for me. I cannot imagine doing anything else. There are so many avenues you can pursue in nursing—it’s a profession that opens doors, and for that, I’m grateful.”

Janis Sikora

West Penn School of Nursing

Janis Sikora, RN, MSN, Nursing Instructor, West Penn Hospital School of Nursing

Working as a nurse for the last 32 years, Janis Sikora has worn many hats. She has cared for patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Cardiac/Coronary Care Unit (CCU), emergency department, and labor and delivery.

After obtaining her master’s degree 13 years ago, she became a nursing instructor, helping to guide and educate others.

According to Janice, “It is said that when you give to others, you get back more than you give. That’s what nursing has done for me. I became a nurse because I felt it was a sacred calling, and it’s my hope that I can touch the lives of my patients and students as much as I have been touched by them.”

Her passion for mentoring is what has enabled her to help build the next generation of caregivers. She cites a special student that came to her years ago, right out of high school. He had tears in his eyes, telling her that he got “straight A’s” in high school, but couldn’t keep up in nursing school. Janice helped him with concepts, teaching study and test-taking skills, and supported him in every way possible. He went on to succeed, graduating and then going on to work in an ICU trauma unit. Five years later, he asked Janice to be a reference for him wanting to go back to school to become a nurse anesthetist. He again graduated, got married, and still keeps in touch.

“I have over 100 ‘thank you’ cards from students over the years, and I’ve saved every one of them,” says Janice. “Nursing can take a person in so many directions, and to so many places. But, no matter what your role, you are serving another person. What greater gift to give another than the gift of giving yourself?”