Dr. Mary Lou Zemaitis, assistant professor of nursing at Clarion University’s Pittsburgh site, was recognized for excellence in the Nurse Educator Category of University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing’s Cameos of Caring Awards.
The awards, which honor the exceptional work of bedside nurses working at acute care hospitals, were presented at a Nov. 2 gala at David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh.
Zemaitis spent many years delivering direct patient care before deciding to teach.
"I realized that sharing what I was learning with others was natural for me," she said. "I enjoyed teaching and the opportunity to learn new insights from those who questioned me. I've worked with exceptional, talented nurses whose curiosity about how to best improve care has challenged me to push a bit further."
Zemaitis, whose passion is the improvement of nursing care through a well-educated nurse workforce, said designing new strategies of educational support and academic pathways for nurses has kept her involved.
"My energy has been driven by exceptional mentors, supporters and students who have brought out-of-the-box ideas for consideration. I believe that together, we've done much to improve nursing care delivery and patient care outcomes," she said. "Becoming a nurse educator was the most important move I made."
In addition to Zemaitis, seven Clarion University alumni received Cameos of Caring Awards through the nursing facilities where they are employed:
- Samantha Brison '17, General category, UPMC Northwest
- Jennifer Lyn Capets '13, General category, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
- Dina Boyd '99, Advanced Practice category, Allegheny Health Network, West Penn Hospital
- Shauna Mack '16, Advanced Practice category, Allegheny Health Network, Saint Vincent Hospital
- Jennifer Wasco '04, Nurse Educator category, Chatham University
- Michelle Shields '95, Advanced Practice category, VA Pittsburgh
- Michelle Collins '90, Case Manager category, UPMC Northwest