Southeast Nursing Student Named March of Dimes ‘Rising Star’



CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 14, 2012 – A Southeast Missouri State University nursing student was honored with the “Rising Star” award at a recent March of Dimes Missouri Chapter Nurse of the Year event.

Kaitlyn Karleskint, a senior from Jackson, Mo., was one of 17 Missouri nurse professionals honored at the inaugural March of Dimes Missouri Chapter Nurse of the Year celebration Nov. 10 at the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis.

The honorees were recognized for their extraordinary level of patient care, compassion, professionalism, integrity and leadership in the nursing profession. The winners each received a crystal award and a gift certificate to Scrubs and Beyond.

More than 150 applications were submitted which were then narrowed to 85 nominees representing 39 different health organizations. A selection committee of health care professionals reviewed the blinded nomination forms and determined the winners. The committee included representatives from the St. Louis Campus of Chamberlain College of Nursing, St. Louis University School of Nursing, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Ranken Jordan, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Mercy Children’s Hospital, St. Anthony’s Medical Center, CoxHealth, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Missouri, Heartland Health, NurseWise and Watson Laboratories.

Desma Reno, assistant professor of nursing at Southeast Missouri State University, nominated Karleskint for the award.

Karleskint, who plans to graduate next May, is president of the Missouri Student Nurses Association for 2012-2013.

“Kaitlyn has been active in our local chapter of the Student Nurses Association since her admission to the program; she has also served as the student representative to faculty committees,” said Dr. Gloria Green, chair of the Southeast Missouri State University Department of Nursing. “She has consistently been a model for all of our students of the level of involvement a professional nurse should have.  We are very proud of her.”

Whether serving as health care provider, educator, researcher, chapter volunteer and/or advisor – nurses play a critical role in advancing the mission of March of Dimes. Mary Elizabeth Grimes, director of the Missouri Chapter of March of Dimes, said, “We are so pleased to recognize the outstanding contributions and commitment nurses provide to healthcare across the state of Missouri. Although this is the first award ceremony we’ve held, March of Dimes has recognized and appreciated the contribution of nurses for almost 75 years. Nurse of the Year is an opportunity for March of Dimes, and the community, to say thank you to these wonderful caregivers who make such a difference in our lives.”

The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of all babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The Nurse of the Year initiative supports this mission while recognizing exceptional nurses throughout the state, celebrating the profession, and creating awareness of the strides made in this growing field.

Nurses employed in Missouri, and Illinois counties of Jersey, Madison, St. Clair, Clinton, Monroe and Randolph were eligible to participate. The event was sponsored by Health Care Family Credit Union, Mercy, NurseWise, Scrubs and Beyond and Webster University.

March of Dimes has awarded more than $3 million in Missouri for research and programs to help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. It is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit