Karen Thoennes entered nursing as a young lady with a passion for caring. She began her quest as a Blue Bird nursing volunteer during secondary school. In 1964, she was awarded a scholarship to study nursing at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. Love and a new family caused her to forego her dream of becoming a nurse. After personal tragedy, as a widow with two young sons, she returned to school in Pensacola, Florida and earned her stripes as an RN in 1970.
Karen would rise in her career as a pediatric nurse and become Head Nurse of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. She was passionate about her patients and worked arduously to comfort children afflicted with sometimes incurable conditions. An inspiration to her colleagues and associates, she carried on her education and earned degrees to advance her career. Eventually she established and led the Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital Health Clinic in Pensacola. Her dedication and hard work led her into school health and she established a health system of nurses within the schools of Northwest Florida to benefit children with little or no standard healthcare.
After over 40 years of service to the children of her community she retired to a peaceful life caring for her grandchildren. Her story of personal sacrifice and undying determination as a nurse is truly inspiring.