Mercy cancer/hematology nurse practitioner Deborah Essary, was honored as “Nurse of the Year” at the third annual Southwest Missouri Salute to Nurses, sponsored by the Springfield News-Leader. Seven area nurses were picked as finalists from 290 nominations. Another Mercy nurse, Karin Steinle, was also a finalist. The Missouri State Board of Nursing also selected four nurses for honorable mention and three nursing students to be recognized with cash scholarships. About 250 people attended a luncheon honoring the nurses at the University Plaza Convention Center.