Wheaton nurse honored with Nurse of the Year award

  • In-home nurse Kelly Honn is surprised by her co-workers at BrightStar Care of Central DuPage in Wheaton Tuesday after learning she was awarded one of four Nurse of the Year awards from the national home health care and medical staffing franchise.

      In-home nurse Kelly Honn is surprised by her co-workers at BrightStar Care of Central DuPage in Wheaton Tuesday after learning she was awarded one of four Nurse of the Year awards from the national home health care and medical staffing franchise. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • In-home nurse Kelly Honn greets her patient, Ray Prosperi of Wheaton, after she was surprised Tuesday with a regional 2016 Nurse of the Year award from her employer, BrightStar Care of Central DuPage.

      In-home nurse Kelly Honn greets her patient, Ray Prosperi of Wheaton, after she was surprised Tuesday with a regional 2016 Nurse of the Year award from her employer, BrightStar Care of Central DuPage. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • In-home nurse Kelly Honn, left, and her predecessor Judy Flickinger, right, celebrate Honn's 2016 Nurse of the Year award at BrightStar Care of Central DuPage in Wheaton.

      In-home nurse Kelly Honn, left, and her predecessor Judy Flickinger, right, celebrate Honn's 2016 Nurse of the Year award at BrightStar Care of Central DuPage in Wheaton. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/29/2016 5:36 PM

The way Kelly Honn works is the way "nurses should be," says her co-worker, Diane Thorson.

"The moment Kelly enters a room she's got a smile on her face and a contagious laugh," Thorson said. "You could be in the midst of chaos, which sometimes we are in health care, and Kelly will just spin a positive on it for the client's sake."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Honn's dedication to going above and beyond the basic caregiver role has earned her a regional 2016 Nurse of the Year award from her employer, BrightStar Care, a home health care and medical staffing franchise with more than 300 locations nationwide.

"This is really overwhelming," Honn said shortly after being surprised with the award Tuesday by her co-workers at BrightStar Care of Central DuPage in Wheaton. "I am speechless. I did not expect this."

Franchise owner Jim Flickinger estimated that Honn was named the best out of more than 2,500 BrightStar nurses working in the Midwest region. She is now one of four regional finalists in the running for BrightStar's national nurse of the year award, which will be announced in mid-April.

"She does not seek attention or personal accolades, but rather just quietly leverages the best care possible for her beloved clients and teaches the same to her nurse team," Flickinger said. "There's something unique about her, there really is."

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As director of nursing, Honn manages about five dozen nurses who work for the Wheaton business. While she has plenty of administrative duties that require her to fill out paperwork and work from the office, her colleagues say Honn makes it a point to get out into the field as much as possible.

Honn had tears of joy in her eyes as Flickinger shared examples of how she works her "nurturing, caring and compassionate personage" into everything she does, like doing a client's laundry without being asked or heading out to a client's home after-hours to help a colleague when tense situations arise.

She said she enjoys providing the care firsthand and loves her job because it's "never the same day twice."

"The day will start out planned and it will just take another direction," she said. "The clients have immediate needs. That's what we're here for."

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