Brenda Auker and Beth Finkbiner have been nominated for the Geisinger Lewistown Hospital’s Nurse Excellence Award. These exceptional registered nurses, who are also sisters-in-law, serve patients and Geisinger Lewistown Hospital School of Nursing students in the region. Auker provides care to patients on the maternity unit, and Finkbiner is an instructor at the School of Nursing.

Both women bring their vast experience and kind hearts to work with them each day. Auker has been with Geisinger Lewistown Hospital for 30 years, while Finkbiner joined the nursing school five years ago.

“I’m so proud to work for a great nursing program,” Finkbiner said. “The School of Nursing is a tremendous benefit to Geisinger and our community.”

Her experience as a nursing instructor includes serving students of the community at the Mifflin County Academy of Science and Technology Practical Nursing Program for 12 years. She previously worked in home healthcare and at retirement homes in the area. Finkbiner also worked as a nurse at a hospital in Virginia and in in-home health in South Carolina.

Coincidentally, Auker and Finkbiner both earned their bachelor’s degrees in nursing at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Finkbiner is a 1988 graduate of EMU and Auker graduated from there in 1990.

The sisters-in-law are proud to work for Geisinger.

“I have loved the flexibility that being a nurse provides,” Finkbiner said. “I worked a very limited part-time while my two sons were young, and that allowed me to enjoy time with them. I then returned to work part-time when they were older and eventually full-time when my husband and I were empty-nesters.”

“Working in a specialty area over the years allowed me to keep up with my skills,” Auker adds. “Geisinger has encouraged me to get my certification and be a preceptor for new hires — which I have really enjoyed. I have realized how much I have to offer our unit as an older, experienced nurse and am excited to pass on that wisdom to my peers as an unofficial leader on our unit.”

Finkbiner has strong feelings about serving as a nurse educator: “I am very blessed to work with the nursing students and see them graduate and go on to do great things in nursing. I count it a privilege to pass on nursing knowledge to the next generation!”

Nurses from Geisinger Lewistown Hospital were honored by the system for their extraordinary approach to nursing — one that is full of love and service to their patients and coworkers. The nominees of the Nurse Excellence Award were celebrated on Wednesday, Aug. 26. Auker was one of the nominees and Finkbiner was recognized as a winner. Normally the nominees would have been recognized during Nurses Week in May, but COVID-19 affected the celebration.

Stacey Osborne, chief nursing officer at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital, noted that the awards are special in that the nurses were nominated by their peers. Peer-to-peer recognition is genuine and reflects the nominee’s day-to-day character and service witnessed by coworkers.

“I am very humbled to have been nominated and then chosen to receive the Nurse Excellence award in Leadership,” Finkbiner said.

Auker remarked, “I’d like to thank my manager, Beth Sharpless, for nominating me for the award and for her support and encouragement.”