UK HealthCare

Nurse Practitioner Honored for ‘Selfless’ Pediatric Work

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 19, 2011) — Grace Florence has been announced as the 2011 Joy Edwards Hembree Oak Leaf Award for Excellence in the Care of Children Award winner by her colleagues at UK HealthCare for her service and dedication in pediatric care. For decades Florence coordinated care for pediatric services to Eastern Kentucky, interfacing between the health departments in rural communities and health care providers at the University of Kentucky.

"Grace's years of working in general pediatrics have seen her fill rolls in the regional clinics, the Diagnostic Clinic and the International Adoption Clinic," said Dr. Carmel Wallace. "In the process of doing this, she has helped coordinate the general pediatric nursery metabolic screening and stage the annual conference for public health nurses. Grace has provided amazing care to rural Kentucky children over the years."

Award winners are nominated and chosen by their colleagues at Kentucky Children's Hospital. The criteria include compassion, teamwork, service, professionalism, leadership and above all, a commitment to excellence.

Florence worked with early leaders in pediatrics in a variety of settings, and was one of the first pediatric nurse practitioners at UK HealthCare. "Grace is always the patient advocate," said Dr. Rebecca Collins. "She is an inspiration, selfless, patient, and very kind. Her work extends well beyond UK. She is an inspiration in more ways than one and continues to contribute greatly to pediatric health care."

These awards are designed to honor the extraordinary contributions of Joy Edwards Hembree by recognizing and rewarding Kentucky Children's Hospital pediatric caregivers who exemplify excellence in the care of children. Hembree gave generously and lovingly to children through her work to secure the commitment for the formation of Kentucky Children's Hospital and was instrumental in making the hospital a part of the Children's Miracle Network.

"It was both a surprise and honor to be recognized and I am thankful for the great opportunities and wonderful people I've worked with over the years," said Florence. "My patients and my experiences are what has kept me here. The changes I've seen have been remarkable and when I think about the earlier years and then look at today all I can say is 'wow'."

Florence retired on Sept. 23, 2011, after 44 years of service and is continuing to work part-time at KCH.

For more information regarding nominations for this year's award, please contact Gwen Moreland, operations director of Maternal Care/NICU at (859) 323-1210 or