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MSHC leader wins statewide award

Kristy Nielson has dedicated her life to helping others

Rock Springs — “She helped me believe in me” is what Kristy Nielson hopes will be her legacy.Kristy Nielson

That philosophy earned Nielson, Chief Nursing Officer at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County, the Best Mentor award Thursday during the seventh annual Women of Influence banquet at the Casper Event Center.

The banquet recognized 110 women from around the state. A panel of past honorees selected winners from those who were nominated in 15 categories. Neilson was among nine people nominated in the “best mentor” category.

“Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be chosen,” Nielson said.

“Knowing Kristy, this is the obvious choice,” said Sweetwater Memorial CEO Irene Richardson. “She has been a true leader and true mentor to so many people. She is that perfect combination of compassion and skill that we strive for here at MHSC.”

Nielson has worked as a health care professional for nearly 40 years. During that time, she has coached, instructed and mentored hundreds of new and experienced nurses.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Administration in 1980, a Bachelor of Nursing in 1982, a Master of Science in Nursing in 2007, and a Doctorate of Nursing in 2017. A highlight in her career was being asked by fellow doctorate program classmates and faculty to be their graduation speaker for the University of Missouri-Columbia graduate nursing program.

“To see in others what they could not see in themselves” is what drives her. “I dedicate every day to raising up nursing students and fellow nurses to levels that will transcend their own.”

Since 2007, she has been the official mentor for 13 masters and doctorate nursing students and an informal mentor to many others. She is currently mentoring a master’s in nursing student and two doctorate nursing students.

“It has been an honor and privilege to watch nurses shine as patient and family advocates and be a source of strength for the vulnerable,” she said. “I know how important it is to have someone truly believe in you.”