Julie Schaffner, Lutheran General Hospital's COO, 56, Dies From Illness
She's remembered for advocating for nurses.
After a lifetime of advocating for the nurses who care for the sick, Julie W. Schaffner, 56, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital's chief operating officer, lost her own battle with ovarian cancer on Dec. 31.
Schaffner, of Wilmette, also had served as chief nurse executive for the Park Ridge hospital for many years, and in 2010 was appointed Chief Nurse Executive for the Advocate Health Care network, which includes many hospitals throughout the Chicago area. She was an RN, had earned her Master of Science in Nursing degree and was a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Lutheran General Hospital credited her, in a press release, with leading it to Magnet designation, a nationally-recognized mark of achievement for hospital nursing programs, in 2005, and Magnet re-designation in 2010.
"Julie touched many lives in her leadership role," said friend and colleague Penny Pilarczyk, vice president of human resources for Lutheran General. "She was respected as a coach and mentor to many of us. To me, Julie was a friend, a mentor, and a colleague who challenged me to do my best."
Another colleague, Barbara Weber, vice president of clinical operations and chief nurse executive for the hospital, said, "Julie was a transformational nurse leader and compassionate friend. (She) excelled at providing nurses with an environment conducive to professional development."
"Being privileged to be at Julie's side during good times and some of the worst times in her life, I saw how she touched people throughout her years at Lutheran General Hospital," said Cindy Mahal van Brenk, director, clinical operations for surgical services. "So when she trusted us to care for her, everyone wanted to help her in any way possible. The compassion and prayers were overwhelming."
The hospital asked employees to remember Schaffner's husband Tom and her three children. While visitation is scheduled for Wednesday from 3 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Donnellan Funeral Home, 10045 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, and a private memorial service for family and close friends is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, 1140 Wilmette Avenue, Wilmette, a memorial service for hospital employees will also be scheduled, the hospital said.