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Salute to Nurses: Meet the UT Physicians honorees

Written By: Shelley Vanker, UT Physicians | Updated: May 4, 2024
Salute to nurses: Three of the four UT Physicians honorees

From left to right: Fatima Hassan, MSN, ACN; Julie Angelica, RN; and Shawna Rodgers, BSN, RNC, at the Houston Chronicle's Salute to Nurses luncheon on May 2, 2024. Not pictured: Theresa K. Dancsak, MSN, RN. (Photo by: Brad Driver, UT Physicians)

Each spring, the Houston Chronicle receives hundreds of nominations to identify the top nurses in Greater Houston for their annual Salute to Nurses. After reviewing 1,900 submissions, it narrowed the honoree list to just 200.

UT Physicians is proud to announce that four outstanding employees were chosen as distinguished nurses. They were chosen for their dedication, service, and commitment to quality of care, patient outcomes, and community well-being. Each of these nurses was celebrated at the annual Salute to Nurses luncheon hosted by the Houston Chronicle on May 2, sponsored by UT Physicians.

Julie Angelica, RN, a Salute to Nurses honoree
Julie Angelica, RN

Julie Angelica, Nurse Manager

Location: UT Physicians Family Practice – Bayshore

For Julie Angelica, RN, the decision to pursue nursing came after watching several family members go through different medical treatments.

“I just thought it was a very difficult and vulnerable time,” she said. “I wanted to help alleviate some of their stress and really empower patients.”

Her motivation was amplified after her own cancer diagnosis.

“I’m a cancer survivor,” she said. “I have a genuine desire to provide care and support for those in need. I feel I can empathize with what they are going through and help them navigate their journey.”

Julie said the nomination from her team at the Bayshore family practice clinic as a top Houston area nurse is a rewarding tribute.

“I’m both humbled and sincerely honored to receive this award. It is very prestigious,” said Julie.

Theresa K. Dancsak, Nurse Manager

Theresa K. Dancsak, MSN, RN
Theresa K. Dancsak, MSN, RN

Location: UTHealth Houston Center for Clinical & Translational Sciences

When nurse manager Theresa K. Dancsak, MSN, RN, first discovered the field of nursing, she knew she had found her purpose.

“I was inspired back in 1972 when I started volunteering in a hospital in my hometown and never changed my mind,” she explained.

She now works as the nurse manager in a research center where she and her team assist patients suffering from a variety of diseases who choose to enter clinical trials.

“This is my joy, helping patients who are in clinical trials and giving them hope for their future and the future of medicine,” she said. “We might see our patients 10 times in a year, so we become very supportive of them. We know a lot about our patients and what’s going on in their lives.”

Learning that her team nominated her for the Salute to Nurses program was shocking and humbling, she said.

“It’s really been an honor to know that they think so highly of me,” said Theresa.

Fatima Hassan, MSN, ACNP, a Salute to Nurses honoree
Fatima Hassan, MSN, ACNP

Fatima Hassan, Nurse Practitioner

Location: UTHealth Houston Neurosciences – Headache and Pain Center

Inside the General Neurology, Headache and Pain Center, nurse practitioner Fatima Hassan, MSN, ACNP, works tirelessly to assist patients suffering from headaches, migraines, trigeminal neuralgia, and facial pain.

“I help patients manage their pain because pain can have such a debilitating impact on our daily lives,” she said.

Pursuing a career in nursing was a calling for Fatima, who has always felt a strong desire to make a positive impact. While following her passion, she discovered the field of neurology. She became fascinated with the intricate workings of the human brain and nervous system.

“The complexity and potential for discovery in this field captivated me,” she said. “I’m driven to contribute to advancements in understanding neurological disorders and to improving patient outcomes and quality of life.”

She says being recognized by her provider, Dr. Mark Burish, and honored by the Houston Chronicle is a humbling experience.

“I appreciate that other people notice the care I give,” said Fatima.

Shawna Rodgers, BSN, RNC, a Salute to Nurses honoree
Shawna Rodgers, BSN, RNC

Shawna Rodgers, Nurse Manager

Location: UT Physicians Multispecialty – Bayshore

Shawna Rodgers, BSN, RNC, knew from a very young age that her life’s work was to care for others.

“I actually had my own neonatal ICU set up in my garage when I was about 5 or 6 using our ice chest,” she recalled.

Her intuitive passion for helping the most vulnerable patients was fulfilled shortly after graduating from nursing school when she landed her first job in a neonatal ICU.

Now working at the Bayshore multispecialty clinic, Shawna says building relationships with her patients elevates her standard of care.

“I care for my patients as if they’re my family,” she said. “I give them clinical and medical education, while also trying to support them as a whole person.”

Shawna credits the many nurses who shared their wisdom and passion during her career journey with shaping her approach to patient care and her role as a nurse manager today.

Upon learning of her recognition with the Houston Chronicle and the many nominations from her colleagues and patients, she said, “This was a little bit of a shock, and I’m very proud.”

View photos from the Salute to Nurses event below:

Salute to Nurses _24-04
As the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians has locations across the Greater Houston area to serve the community. To schedule an appointment, call 888-4UT-DOCS.