Nurse of the Year 2015: Marilyn Parker, BSN, RN | News | Loyola Medicine
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Marilyn Parker, BSN, RN, named Loyola’s Fanchon Knight Nurse of the Year

MAYWOOD, Ill. (May 18, 2015) – Marilyn Parker, RN, was named Loyola University Health System’s Fanchon Knight Nurse of the Year during its annual Nurse Excellence Award Ceremony on Wednesday, May 6. Parker, who has worked at Loyola for 39 years, was honored for her leadership skills and her exceptional care of patients and colleagues. 

Parker works in Loyola’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. Her colleagues who nominated her noted that she is a role model who has helped other nurses and patient-care technicians grow professionally over the years. They also reported that she has genuine warmth and an amazing sense of humor that she uses when caring for patients or when helping staff.

“If you ask anyone who has worked with Marilyn, they would certainly agree that she demonstrates the qualities that many strive to achieve in their career,” said Janet Palutsis, BSN, RN, manager, Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center clinics, who nominated Marilyn for this award.

The Fanchon Knight Nurse of the Year Award was established by Knight’s family to support nursing practice and education. Knight was a beloved nurse who passed away in December 2005, after working at Loyola for nearly 30 years in a variety of roles. At the time of her death, she was caring for head and neck cancer patients in the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center.

Parker worked with Knight and was among the nurses who cared for her when she became ill.

“It took my breath away when I saw Fanchon’s name on the award,” Parker said. “Fanchon was a very special person. She was an exceptional nurse who loved her profession like no one I have ever seen before. This is an incredible honor to be selected among all of the incredible nurses I have worked with for an award that carries on Fanchon’s legacy.” 

Several other nurses were recognized at the awards ceremony for being clinical experts, leaders, innovators, patient advocates, community servants, mentors, role models or skilled advanced practitioners. The following is a complete list of award winners:


  • Lucy Bensfield – Coach/Mentor
  • Nancy Coppin – Nurse Leader
  • Lisa Coy – Clinical Expert
  • Carol McDonald – Team Player
  • Melissa Kierkowski – Innovator  
  • Julie Marks – APN 
  • Jeanne Mueller – Community Contributor
  • Patricia Scafuri – Patient Advocate
  • Elizabeth Szydlo – Role Model
  • Maria Carmen Galvan (Carmen) – Operating Room Nurse of the Year

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.