Each year, the Houston Chronicle honors the top nurses across Greater Houston during their Salute to Nurses event. This year’s luncheon was held on May 2, 2023, and UT Physicians was the diamond sponsor. In 2023, 200 recipients were selected through a public nomination — included are seven UT Physicians employees.
Learn more about them and their thoughts on this distinguished recognition.
As an assistant nurse manager, Lauren Cantu, RN, has a passion for mentoring and training others.
“What I love most about my role is helping others to develop their skills but also optimizing our department in order to provide excellent patient care,” she said.
After learning of her nomination, Cantu was overcome with gratitude.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank my boss and mentor, Robin Riggs, for believing in me and encouraging my growth as a leader,” she shared. “I would also like to thank my nursing staff who have always supported me and put their trust in me to lead them in this department.”
Many emotions passed over Felecia Peterson, RN, upon learning of her nomination.
“Initially, I thought it was a spam email. Then once I realized it was real, I was surprised, overwhelmed, and humbled all in the same day,” she said.
As a student nurse in 1987, Peterson worked at a local hospital that served predominantly low-income patients. From there, she received her degree in nursing from Prairie View A&M and began working with babies in a hospital setting in a neonatal intensive care unit. Today, she is a nurse case manager working in the UT Physicians Obstetrics and Gynecology Continuity Clinic.
“I get to do what I love — helping patients right where they are. I coordinate care, encourage, support, motivate, educate, review medication, assess for barriers, refer to community resources, and always advocate,” she shared.
At 48 years old, Lois Sciba, RN, graduated from nursing school after deciding she needed a career change. Her experience ranges from the neonatal intensive care unit in a hospital setting to working with adult patients in surgical services.
Currently, her role focuses on research at the UTHealth Houston Neurosciences Neurocognitive Disorders Clinic.
“I found my home there,” shared Sciba. “Interacting with my patients and co-workers is so rewarding. I love my job and working for UT Physicians and UTHealth Houston.”
A nurse practitioner, Melissa Hull cares for patients at the UTHealth Houston Neurosciences – Katy clinic.
“I love the puzzle of neurology,” she shared. “I feel like nursing stands apart from other provider roles due to the emphasis on patient education and involving patients in the decisions of their own health care.”
Although Hull prefers to avoid the spotlight, she is proud that the work she’s doing is being recognized and feels appreciative of those that have supported her journey.
“I have had fellow nurses and physicians push me in my career to continue my studies and do harder things. My family has always championed my goal of becoming a nurse and has allowed me to further my education by providing me support while doing my job.
Katenia Russell, LVN, loves one simple thing about nursing — helping others.
“I began my career in HIV care in 1998 and transitioned to primary care after eight years. Today, I am a clinic coordinator at the UT Physicians Orthopedics at Memorial Hermann | Rocket Sports Medicine Institute – Memorial City clinic,” she said.
After learning she was nominated, Russell immediately wanted to thank God, her family and friends, and her colleagues both past and present for believing in her. She also offered advice for those beginning their nursing career.
“Always do your best, stay humble, remember your name and word is your bond, and lastly, never stop learning,” she shared.
Kathryn Greff, RN, began her career as a nurse’s aide in 1977. That’s where her love of labor and delivery began — by timing contractions and becoming a scrub tech.
Greff graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 1980 and worked for many years in St. Joseph Medical Center’s labor and delivery department.
Her current position embodies that same passion. Greff works with maternal-fetal medicine and OB-GYN experts at the UT Physicians Women’s Center – Bellaire Station clinic.
“I love being able to help people in a great work environment,” she said. “There’s nothing better than finding out we’ve made a difference in someone’s life.”
With a nursing career that spans nearly four decades, Mary Young, LVN, said her compassionate nature led her to this field.
“I am proud to be a part of UT,” Young said. “I was excited to hear about receiving this award. I have always tried to work really hard.”
Most recently, Young was serving as a float pool nurse and provided support for COVID-19 testing.
“There are so many amazing nurses at UT,” Young added. “I would like them to know how much they mean to me and the university.”
Check out some of the event photos and pictures of our honorees.