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Spiritual Care

2008 Wholeness of Life Honoree - Barbara Wukovits, RN, BSNC

Healthcare was not the field Barbara Wukovits, RN, BSNC, director of Pain Services, thought she’d go into. Growing up she dreamed of being a second baseman and wished for exactly that on her birthday every year. And although those plans fell through, her HSS fans were thrilled when she received the 2008 Wholeness of Life Award.

Louis Shapiro, president and CEO, presented the award to Barbara in the Richard L. Menschel Education Center, Oct. 23, in front of a standing room crowd of colleagues, family and friends. This prestigious award is presented annually by the HealthCare Chaplaincy, a citywide multi-faith community of professionals from many cultures dedicated to caring for persons in spirit, mind and body.

“This is a humbling experience in my life,” said Barbara. “Twenty-two years ago that I walked through the doors of HSS and as I look around the room I see people that have challenged me throughout the year – sometimes challenging me in ways that frustrate me but I have admit that has played an important role in shaping me into the healthcare professional that I am today. I celebrate this award not just for me but for all of us…This has been an unbelievable journey and I thank you for that.”

“This award is given to an individual who goes the extra mile in their every day duties caring for the whole person – mind, body and spirit,” said C. Ronald Mackenzie, MD, chair, Spiritual Care Committee.  “Everybody here agrees that we have a wonderful representative of that type of human being in Barbara Wukovits.”

“Over the last six years I have come to appreciate how important this award is,” said Gregory Liguori, MD, director, Department of Anesthesiology. “It isn’t an award that’s given out lightly. It takes a lot of thought to select the right person and I think this year the committee has chosen the right person….Barbara you are a natural!”

Barbara studied psychology in college. She was always interested in performing neuro-psychological testing—to better understand the relationship between thought and behavior. Her career path led her to a hospital where she worked as a clerk in the psychiatric walk-in unit. At the hospital Barbara befriended a nurse who told her about a nursing program at Hunter Bellevue for people interested in getting a second degree at night.   Two and a half years later she finished the baccalaureate program in nursing and was promoted to manager in the outpatient psychiatry department. Around her thirteenth year anniversary Barbara felt she needed a change.

“Fortunately, a clinical research job opened up at HSS. So, in 1987 I became a member of the Department of Anesthesiology, hired to do clinical research,” she said. “In 1991, HSS started the Acute Pain Service, staffed by fellows and attending physicians. To complete the team, I was asked to add a nursing perspective to the care of the patients.”

“I thought it would be a great opportunity for me. It was there that I found my niche – I have been a part of that effort ever since….,” she added.

Wholeness of Life Honorees

2017  Ann Bienstock
2016  Elizabeth Coleman
2015  David Wang
2014  Don Foiles
2013  Glenn W. Garrison, CPO
2012  Jillian Rose, LMSW
2011  Mary Ellen Zullo, PA-C
2010  Sherry I. Backus, PT, DPT, MA
2009  Edward Craig, MD
2008  Barbara Wukovits, RN, BSNC
2007  Janet Cahill, PT, CSCS
2006  Janet J. James
2005  Linda A. Russell, MD
2004  Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, MD
2003  Mary McDermott, RN
2002  Douglas Green, MD
2001  Stephen A. Paget, MD
2000  Eulalee Green, RN
1999  Mary Dolan, RN
1998  Ometa Bourne-Ford
1997  Valerie Gray, RN
1996  Theresa Galsworthy, RN, ONC
1995  Leon Root, MD
1994  Geraldine Nicholson, RN, ONC
1993  C. Ronald MacKenzie, MD
1992  Marguerite Palmieri, RN
1991  Roberta Horton, ASCW
1990  Lorraine Mattes, RN
1989  Anita von Hellens, RN
1988  Michael D. Lockshin, MD
Image - Barbara Wukovits, RN, BSNC