Kauai native receives prestigious nursing award

LIHUE — Esther Carpenter doesn’t like receiving accolades for her work as a nurse.

But the Kauai native was recently awarded Colorado’s highest nursing honor, the 32nd annual Nightingale Award, for her work as a cardiovascular surgical nurse coordinator at Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Heart Institute.

“I didn’t feel like I deserved the award,” Carpenter said. “I felt like there were many of my peers deserving of it. It was a great opportunity to be nominated and I was very surprised to be chosen and to be able to share it with my family and colleagues.”

Carpenter takes pride in her work as a nurse, calling her work of 42 years a “gift that I was given.”

“I don’t know how else to describe it,” she added.

Carpenter grew up on Kauai in Makaweli’s Camp 6, one of the sugar plantation camps. She was accepted into the University of Northern Colorado and never moved back to the island, although she visits frequently.

“I moved to Colorado in 1971,” she said. “I always call Hawaii and Kauai my home. But my husband and I have raised my family here. I love where I work and the people I work with.”

The Nightingale Award is voted upon by her colleagues.

“I’m honored and humbled by this recognition as it has come from my nursing peers,” Carpenter said. “It honors all the children and their families of whom I’ve cared for during my nursing career.”

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