Nursing passion leads to visionary leader award

What began as a passion for nursing while enrolled at Mercy Hospital School of Nursing intensified into a sacred ministry for Sister Maurita Soukup RN’64, ’70 when she entered religious life almost 50 years ago. Taking the Sisters of Mercy’s vow of service “called me to a deeper commitment,” she reflects.

That commitment and passion was publically acknowledged when Soukup was honored by the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) and the UAB School of Nursing, where she received her M.S.N., as one of 60 “Visionary Leaders” during their 60th anniversary celebration.

During a ceremony held on October 22, 2010, Soukup offered the opening prayer and was recognized for her significant contributions as a visionary nurse. Receiving the award was “a wonderful, unanticipated honor and a life experience,” she shared. Guided by Catherine McAuley’s gift of “careful nursing” that includes competence, care and compassionate presence, Soukup’s life ministry has been and continues to be dedicated to clinical excellence for the critically ill patient, family and multidisciplinary colleagues engaged in their care.

There is no question about the impact she has made though this ministry. “She has touched many people in her work and truly exemplifies the charism or ‘gift of grace’ in all that she does,” says Dr. Michael R. Bleich, Dean and Professor at Oregon Health and Science University-Portland.

Over the course of her ministry, Soukup has often received public recognition for her remarkable commitment and passion. She received the first Dr. Teresa Christy Award from the Iowa Nurses Association in 1982 for her work in integrating nursing practice, education and research, and was also named to the “100 Great Iowa Nurses” list in 2007.

Soukup has served on the boards of a number of national, regional and local organizations, including the Mount Mercy College Board of Trustees from 1991–2003. Currently, Soukup serves as a health trustee for Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids and Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City, Iowa, and holds adjunct faculty appointments at the University of Iowa College of Nursing and University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing. Soukup received her M.S.N. from UAB in 1975 in cardiovascular clinical nurse specialization.