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Excellence in Nursing Awards 2017

About the Excellence in Nursing Awards


Honoring leadership, grassroots work of healthcare's bedrock

The nation's 3 million-plus nurses face unprecedented challenges in 2017.

They are on the front lines of a healthcare system that is under tremendous pressure.

They labor, often under the most difficult circumstances, to deliver care that is higher quality with better outcomes at more affordable prices.

Last year, to close a glaring gap in our recognition programs, we launched our first Excellence in Nursing Awards. We forged a partnership with the Lillian Carter Center for Global Health & Social Responsibility at the Emory University School of Nursing in Atlanta. Our common purpose was to create an awards program that recognizes the importance of both nursing leadership and grassroots activity.

We also wanted to highlight exemplary acts in nursing, whether at home or abroad. This capstone award is not just a tribute to the mother of former President Jimmy Carter, who served as a nurse before joining the Peace Corps late in life, but our small effort to offer psychic support for those nurses who willingly dedicate their lives to serving disadvantaged populations.

For our second year, we've added categories that recognize the changing nature of nursing. We created a Diversity in Nursing Award to honor individuals or institutions that created programs that go the extra mile to build a nursing workforce that reflects the population it serves. For them, cultural competence is more than a slogan.

We also added three Team Achievement in Nursing awards (gold, silver and bronze). In the modern healthcare workplace, no doctor or nurse works alone. The highest quality care is produced by teams working with a common purpose. Also new this year is recognition of a half-dozen Rising Stars in Nursing, all age 35 or younger.

We were gratified to receive more than 120 nominations for this year's awards. The profiles of the winners in the following pages are a reminder that nurses and the nursing profession remain the foundation on which the entire healthcare system rests.

—Merrill Goozner, Editor

Working hard to keep the nation healthy-and keep the nation's trust

The American public once again ranked nurses as the professionals with the highest honesty and ethical standards, according to a Gallup poll released in December 2016. That marks the 15th consecutive year that the public has deemed nurses the most trusted out of a wide spectrum of professions, including pharmacists and medical doctors, who ranked second and third, respectively.

Every day, millions of nurses are on the front lines in the fight to improve the health of all Americans. Whether they are by the bedside or in the boardroom, nurses continue to be a trusted resource and a vital part of our nation's healthcare system. The Gallup poll findings reflect the trust the public has in us, and we'll continue to work hard to keep that trust.
ANA Enterprise celebrates the 2017 Excellence in Nursing Award honorees for embracing this responsibility—to protect, promote and optimize the health of their patients while serving as role models, educators and advocates.

ANA has dubbed 2017 the Year of the Healthy Nurse. This theme is part of ANA's healthy nurse initiatives, including #FitNurseFriday and the launch of ANA Enterprise's Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation Grand Challenge. The HNHN Grand Challenge is a national movement designed to transform the health of the nation by improving the health of the nation's 3.6 million registered nurses. As the largest group of healthcare professionals, nurses are also critical to improving America's healthcare system.

We are honored to sponsor the 2017 Excellence in Nursing Awards and celebrate some of the many nurses who are leading the way for their colleagues, their patients and their profession.

—Marla Weston, CEO, ANA Enterprise


Pamela Cipriano
American Nursing Association
Washington, D.C.

Judy Finley
Deputy chief medical officer
Veterans Affairs Department
Gilbert, Ariz

Kay Lawton
Nurse Consultant
Center for Global Health,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta

Sandy Leake
Associate director, nursing and patient-care services, and chief nursing officer
Atlanta, VA Medical Center
Decatur, Ga.

Marilyn Margolis
Emory Johns Creek (Ga.) Hospital

Kathleen Sanford
Senior vice president and chief nursing officer
Catholic Health Initiatives
Englewood, Colo.

Thomas Sweeney
Vice president and chief nursing officer
Adventist Health Care Washington Adventist Hospital
Takoma Park, Md.