Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) is proud to sponsor Combined Health Agencies Drive (CHAD), a local organization that has been raising funds with and for Nebraska’s premier health charities, including March of Dimes, since 1972.

BCBSNE recently supported March of Dimes in recognizing nurses making a difference across the state by sponsoring a 2020 Nurse of the Year Award.

March of Dimes, a nonprofit fighting for the health of all moms and babies, hosts the Nurse of the Year Awards annually to honor those in the profession.

The awards consist of a variety of categories, including Oncology, Medical/Surgical, Emergency/Transport and more.

March of Dimes accepts nominations for the awards online during the spring, then follows up with nominees to learn more about them, explained Kristin Schemahorn, March of Dimes manager of donor development. To determine the winners, the nonprofit uses a review panel consisting of nurses and health care leaders.

BCBSNE sponsored the 2020 Rural Health/Critical Access Award received by Chris Gabel, IT nurse specialist at Annie Jeffrey Memorial County Health Center (AJHC). Gabel has 42 years of nursing experience and has spent her career at AJHC in a variety of roles, such as staff nurse, education coordinator and director of nursing.

“We’re proud to join March of Dimes in honoring nurses across the state who deliver high-quality care to our members every day,” Kathy Nellor, BCBSNE health transformation leader, said. “Rural health care professionals like Chris make it possible for us to be there for members when and where they need us.”

To succeed in a rural environment, Gabel said nurses need a diverse skillset: “One has to have some knowledge in every nursing field and always be willing to learn new things.”

Gabel was “gratified” to be nominated and said that it was “fun” to win.

“I do feel there are a lot of wonderful nurses here equally deserving,” she said. “Annie Jeffrey has been a wonderful place to work, and I would recommend rural nursing to any nurse who enjoys rural living.”

March of Dimes honored the 2020 winners at its annual Nurse of the Year Banquet in December. This year, the nonprofit held the event online due to the pandemic.

“Nurses are very hard to recognize; they’re just very, very humble by nature,” Schemahorn said. “Just to be able to have the opportunity to thank them for all of the hard work that they do is really special.”

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