A tribute to Cheryl Weber, MBA, BSN, RN

In life, nurses spend their careers taking care of others.

In death, nurses take care of one another. That is part of being a member of this wonderful community that we are privileged to work within everyday.

Being a nurse is a whole different family you become part of. It’s hard, it’s chaotic, and it’s full of tears and great moments. Together you spend many difficult moments together and great moments as well. No one will understand that except a nurse. Today we pause to honor one of our own.

Cheryl Weber, MBA, BSN, RN, Director of NICU and Lactation Services at Children’s Wisconsin passed away in early October. In late July, Cheryl was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and she knew immediately that her time with her family, friends and team was limited. Cheryl was a very beloved member of the Synova community for the last 10 years and worked at Children’s for 37 years. She attended our NICU Leadership Forums always ready and eager to learn and contribute solutions. “Cheryl was such a kind and loving leader. I have worked with Cheryl for a long time and she was a friend, a mentor and a tremendous nurse. I cannot even begin to tell you what an impact she had on our NICU team. Her passing is leaving a hole in our hearts and in our work” said Lisa Jentsch, Vice President of Patient Care Services at Children’s Wisconsin.

Cheryl Weber

Cheryl had a special place in our hearts as owners of Synova.

“I worked with Cheryl at Children’s Wisconsin when she was a NICU Supervisor. I was in a previous role, supporting families who had a baby in the NICU. She’d always greet me with a warm ‘Hey Meliss’, giving me a new nickname, but making me feel comfortable and a part of the team. Several years later, when I shared my news that I would become co-owner of Synova, I was feeling uncertain in my role as a social worker overseeing the operations of a nurse leadership company. I think of her response every time I have doubt over my position, as she said ‘I can’t think of anyone better suited’. I know she was a positive source of encouragement for her staff too, mentoring and encouraging young leaders on her team to lead with the confidence to be great. ” ~Melissa Gehl, MSW, COO and co-owner, Synova Associates LLC

“I had the chance to visit with Cheryl a few weeks after her diagnosis and we talked about her drive to still want to give and lead. She talked about how much she loved her team, the hospital she spent her entire career at and the babies. She cried and shared how tough it was to hear that she wasn’t going to get to enjoy her horses or grandbabies as long as she had hoped. I cried too with her as I listened as Cheryl was the epitome of the type of person I love to work with. I loved working with people like Cheryl who was always willing to try something different or speak openly about her own challenges. During the peak of COVID, Cheryl would come to our Debriefing Calls and talk about how grateful she was for her family who always understood the pull of her leadership role and even when the calls were dark, Cheryl would laugh and light up the room (or virtual call) and somehow, we all felt better.” ~Lori Gunther, MS, CEO and co-owner, Synova Associates LLC

Nursing is a calling, a way of life. Nursing is a service profession that cannot be lived in isolation. Nurses rely on each other for the synergistic effect of teamwork their efforts of care giving and in Cheryl’s case caring for the most fragile patients in the NICU. It is appropriate that we honor our colleagues not only during their career, but also at the end of life’s journey. Cheryl was in honored in September with a Florence Nightingale Ceremony so she could experience it, with her family and colleagues, when she was still with us.

Our network of NICU leaders across the country will miss you and your smile Cheryl more than we can say. We are all committed to be kind and smile bright each day in your memory.

She Was There
Florence Nightingale Tribute

When a calming, quiet presence was all that was needed, She was there.
In the excitement and miracle of birth or in the mystery and loss of life, She was there.
When a silent glance could uplift a patient, family member or friend, She was there.
At those times when the unexplainable needed to be explained, She was there.
When the situation demanded a swift foot and sharp mind, She was there.
When a gentle touch, a firm push, or an encouraging word was needed, She was there.
In choosing the best one from a family’s “Thank You” box of chocolates, She was there.
To witness humanity—its beauty, in good times and bad, without judgment, She was there.
To embrace the woes of the world, willingly, and offer hope, She was there
And now, that it is time to be at the Greater One’s side, She is there.
©2004 Duane Jaeger, RN, MSN