SSM Cardinal Glennon remembers Leann Zerkel
SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center is mourning the loss of Leann Zerkel, vice president of Nursing. Leann died Nov. 5 after a courageous battle with cancer.
“Leann was a talented nurse and innovative leader who always pushed for excellence,” said Sherlyn Hailstone, president of SSM Cardinal Glennon. “She was a fierce advocate for her nurses—making sure they had the tools they need and every opportunity to learn and advance. Leann was a compassionate person who truly embodied the spirit of Cardinal Glennon, and she will be sadly missed.”
Leann spent her career at SSM Cardinal Glennon after experiencing the unique “Glennon Spirit” as a young nursing student in 1985.
“As soon as I walked in the door, I knew this was the place for me,” Leann remembered during an interview in March 2012. “It just felt like home. It was so bright and cheerful, and I loved being with the kids and seeing them so happy and smiling.”
Leann started as a staff nurse on 4 North (at the time, an Adolescent Unit) before moving to the TCU, where she took her first management job as a patient care manager. She was director of 2 South and 3 South for six years before taking the position of interim director of Nursing in February 2011. Leann was named vice president of Nursing in March 2012.
In her roles throughout the hospital, Leann developed a keen understanding of the many components that come together to provide excellent patient care. She was passionate about the critical role nurses play in a child’s journey to wellness.
“Leann was someone who was so very knowledgeable,” said 3 South Team Leader Jenny Reschke, who worked closely with Leann when she was director of 3 South. “She was a role model for keeping our patients at the center of everything we do. I had an opportunity to see that daily both as a director and as a VP of Nursing. She had a laugh that put a smile on my face. I learned a lot from her. She will be missed.”
The infectious laughter and fun-loving personality come up over and over when you share memories of Leann.
“Her sense of humor and laughter is something I will miss for a long, long time,” said Michelle Hawk, team leader of Nursing Operations. “She had such dedication and passion for Cardinal Glennon and nursing.”
Dr. John Peter, chief medical officer and vice president of Medical Affairs, had an opportunity to work closely with Leann in their latest roles at the hospital. When discussions arose about the best way to approach an issue, Leann had a way of putting things into perspective.
“She really thought things out,” Dr. Peter said. “She worked very hard and spent so much time here. Any time I would send her an email with questions, she would answer them promptly and give a very thought-out assessment. She brought with her a real fairness about everything. She really cared about her nursing staff. They were very important to her and she wanted to make sure they were cared for and received everything they need. She was just a really gracious person and I’m going to miss her.”
Visitation will be held Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Irwin Chapel Glen Carbon, 591 Glen Crossing Rd., Glen Carbon, IL 62034. Services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Calvary Baptist Church, 2249 South State Route 157, Edwardsville, IL 62025.
For a full obituary and driving directions to the services, click here. You can also leave a message for Leann’s family on the page.