ESTHER CASINELLI SIKORSKI, B.S.N., C.P.N.P., is currently the School Health Leader for the East Detroit Public School District. She is particularly recognized for her work in coordinating an interdisciplinary School Health Team for the school district. The School health team is studying the cognitive performance of Middle School students during MEAP testing and the relationship of adequate hydration. Esther has recently been recognized in honor of National Nurses Week, as a candidate for the 2005/2006 Manchester Who's Who Among Executive and Professional Women in Nursing and Healthcare Honors Edition.
Esther Sikorski's early nursing career began in 1974, as a pediatric nurse on the burn and surgical units at the Detroit Children's Hospital of Michigan. The years following were in service to the minority population as she accepted a position in the first Model Cities Comprehensive Health Care Center in the United States. In her role, she served as the Pediatric Head Nurse of the health center.
Esther's education began at Wayne State University where in 1974 she received, her Bachelors of Science Degree in Nursing. In 1976, she was accepted into the University of Michigan, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Certificate Program. In her new role she became the first Nurse Practitioner to receive hospital privileges at Hutzel Hospital for a short period of time. Her marriage to her husband, Paul Sikorski, resulted in a move to Chicago and a new career opportunity at Michael Reese Hospital. Esther worked with other Nurse Practitioners in the Newborn Nursery and the Well Child Clinic. In this capacity the Nurse Practitioners handled the newborn admission physical and discharges under the supervision of the Neonatologist and routine exams in the Well Child Clinic. As a result of continued obstacles of funding for Nurse Practitioners in the health care system, career changes occurred. From the hospital setting, county health department to private practice, each career change lead to diversity and added dimension to her existing experience.
The process of self-appraisal proceeded to occur after her diagnosis with breast cancer. As a patient within the system, Esther realized that even though life is the most precious gift, we do not recognize how our lives can change so quickly. During treatment therapy, Esther began to volunteer as a Parish Nurse for an impoverished school district. Working with the medically underserved children initiated her desire to actively improve the quality of health care given to all children and adolescents within the school system. This role ultimately led to her present position of School Heath leader in the East Detroit Public School district.
In the process of self-evaluation, Esther was determined to move beyond being just an active member in her organization of the Michigan Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Association. In 2003, she was nominated and subsequently elected as secretary for the organization in the State of Michigan. This position has allowed her to address concerns amongst her peers and also play an active role in the legislation of pertinent nursing issues. With her commitment to professionalism, Esther is also a member of Sigma Theta Tau.
The completion of the graduate course at the University of Michigan School of Nursing Infant, Child, and Adolescent NP program has been a life-long vision. With this advanced degree, Esther's goals are to continue to improve access to health care for children and to develop programs for research that will guide clinical practice.