Maggie Wilhoite, a recent graduate of the University of Louisville School of Nursing — Owensboro Extension, was presented with the Vicki M. Stogsdill Nursing Award for servant leadership in the community.

Stogsdill, who currently serves on the board at Owensboro Health, was a dedicated nurse in the community, serving for more than 30 years, exemplifying servant leadership, according to UofL on the history of the award.

The award is given to a nurse each semester with a $5,000 monetary prize and a one-year employment commitment with OH from the awardee.

Wilhoite has signed on with OH Regional Hospital for one year and will be working in the Cardiac Step-Down Unit.

She said she is shocked and proud to be named the recipient and sees the award as a validation for her entire cohort.

“As nurses, one of your main things is that you’re serving the public to help heal the sick, which is also part of Owensboro Health’s (mission),” she said. “It’s always been instilled in me. I was super lucky; I grew up in a great family.”

Wilhoite said prior to COVID, she regularly worked with the Daniel Pitino Shelter and the Hager Backpack Program, even working to teach individuals at the shelter and Girls Inc. CPR.

She said she comes from a long line of servant leaders in her family — her aunt having also served as a nurse for many years.

“I think if you’re going into any kind of career in healthcare, you have to have somewhat of a servant’s heart because it’s not easy all of the time; you have to deal with difficult situations,” she said.

Wilhoite said she has wanted to be a nurse for a long time. She first decided when she was in third grade at summer church camp.

“I was flipping through my Bible and I really liked the book of Matthew and I got to Matthew 29:18 and it said, ‘therefore, go and make disciples of all nations,’ and so I wanted to be a part of that and I learned about mission work,” she said.

Having a family member in healthcare, she was already interested in being a nurse and thought she could combine the mission field and healthcare to do medical mission work.

“My decision never really changed,” she said.

Now, at 23, she has graduated from nursing school, looking to get board certified and has signed on for a year at OHRH.

Her goals do not stop there, however. After gaining some experience, Wilhoute said she plans on traveling and fulfilling her dream of pursuing missions in the medical field.

“I want to eventually be involved in medical mission work; that’s my ultimate career goal and I always said I would travel and I think I will, but I want to make sure I have a solid foundation of experience before I do that,” she said. “I don’t want to go anywhere and not know what I’m doing because a lot of times, as a traveling nurse, you go to facilities that don’t have as much equipment.”

Wilhoite said she plans to get her masters in nursing at some point in the near future, and possibly her doctorate, too.

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7360

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