Forty under Forty Awards Profile
The Virginia Nurses Foundation (VNF) selected its 2011 40 Under 40 winners and they were honored at the Foundation’s 4th Annual Gala in at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.
The group of winners were the first-ever recipients of the awards, designed to recognize 40 Virginia Registered Nurses (RNs) under the age of 40 who are positively representing their profession by actively participating in the community as well as professional organizations.
Nursing leaders from all over Virginia were selected based upon the following criteria:
• Vision and Leadership
• Innovation and Achievement
• Growth and Development Strategy
• Community Involvement and Contribution
Here are our winners (in alphabetical order) and a little information about who they are and what they do for the nursing profession
• Hannah M. Anderson, MSN, BSN, RN-BC, CNE, Nursing Program Coordinator, Thomas Nelson Community College, Suffolk
Hannah is a board certified RN who serves in various clinical and leadership positions. Her clinical practice includes experiences in both acute care and community-based settings. While serving as the Director of a practical nursing program, she was instrumental in implementing programs, systems, and processes that resulted in an improvement in the quarterly NCLEX performance by forty percentage points, thereby achieving the highest annual NCLEX-PN pass rate that the program had ever realized. Hannah is a member of the ANA, VNA, Sigma Theta Tau Intl., INACSL, and the NLN. She serves on the Advisory Board for NSU’s VNurse Project and volunteers with the Western Tidewater Medical Reserve Corps, the Tidewater affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Daughters Are You Listening, Inc. Hannah has completed graduate coursework in nursing informatics and adult education, holds the certified nurse educator (CNE) credential, and is preparing to pursue a doctorate in nursing. Currently, she serves as an associate professor and the nursing program coordinator at Thomas Nelson Community College.
• Carolyn Ashley, MSHA, BSN, RN, Clinical Manager of Emergency Services, Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, Newport News
Carolyn began her nursing leadership career at the Williamsburg Regional Medical Center’s emergency department. Since assuming her role as manager of the department in 2007, she has decreased the patient’s length of stay in the emergency department by greater than 50% in a one year period. By setting a clear vision and adding in fun, she was able to move the entire team in the right direction to meet the hospital’s goals. She was also critical in implementing quality clinical initiatives such as decreasing our door to balloon time for Acute MI patients from 90 minutes to below 60 minutes. She did this by establishing a clear process and working as a part of the team to assure all of our patients received timely and quality care.
• Jennifer S. Barnes, BSN, RN, Clinical Supervisor, Riverside Shore Healthcare at Home, Bloxom
Jennifer Barnes began her medical career on the Eastern Shore in 1990. At sixteen, she became involved in Emergency Medical Services and within 5 years became a paramedic. She received her BSN in 1996 from Salisbury State University. Jennifer has taught paramedic courses for Tidewater Community College for 10 years producing eleven paramedics for the Shore. When Jennifer became an RN, her interest was, of course, the Emergency Department. She was charge nurse the Riverside Shore Memorial’s ED and became the Clinical Educator. Jennifer then became certified as an emergency nurse, a trauma nurse and a pediatric emergency nurse. She became OASIS certified this year. In addition to her medical interests, Jennifer lives in Bloxom and serves on the Town Council.
• Kelly Anne Brown, MSN/MHA, BSN, RN, Unit Manager, Resource Team, Centra Health, Evington
Kelly Brown has 22 years of nursing experience - encompassing critical care, emergency and surgical services and leadership positions. She is a highly respected and gifted leader, consistently sought out as an internal consultant for her visionary and transformational leadership skills. An outcomes driven leader, Kelly demonstrated vision in her initiative to help develop and implement the Chest Pain Center in 1998. In 2008, she helped to establish the manager position for Centra's resource team. She also developed specialty teams for surgical services, women’s and children’s, and mental health service lines.
Last year, she identified the opportunity to save the organization over a half million dollars by developing an internal sitter pool as opposed to utilizing external agency personnel. Kelly led the editing process and authored many of the chapters for the Magnet re-designation application manual in 2009. She is also instrumental in leading many of the Magnet initiatives at Centra. Her vision, energy, and passion for Nursing is infectious. She will serve our profession well into the future.
• Lindsey Cardwell, BSN, RN, Clinical Educator, Centra Health, Concord
Lindsey served as the president of the Virginia Nursing Students Association and upon graduation, transitioned to a leadership role on the board of the VNA as the Director at Large from 2007 to 2009. She has served as ANA delegate in training in 2010 and is currently chairing the VNA chapter transition workgroup. These tasks have led her across the state to give presentations and explain the transitional change taking place within the VNA. She is also serving as co-lead of the leadership workgroup of the Virginia Action Coalition in order to prepare nurse leaders to serve from bedside to boardroom. She recently chaired a successful spring conference for her local VNA district. Lindsey strives to make sure that all Registered Nurses know the importance of leadership and belonging to their professional organization. She continues to reach out to the nursing students involved in VNSA and recently served on a panel discussing the use of social media and nursing. Lindsey currently works as a Clinical Educator and is pursuing her Masters in Nursing with a Health Systems Management focus from the University of Virginia. Lindsey is truly a leader for Virginia's nurses.
• Stacy Coleman, BSN, CEN, CPEN, RN, Clin IV Emergency Department Team Leader, Bon Secours Richmond Community Hospital, Montpelier
Stacy is a patient safety advocate. She is known throughout the facility as the one who will work a problem to resolution no matter how difficult. Stacy recently participated in our clinical scholars program and developed a project implementing SBAR face to face report between the emergency department and an inpatient medical/surgical/telemetry unit. She is vested in the success of the nurses on her unit. Stacy has oriented more than 14 new graduate nurses over the past two years with zero turn over in the department. Stacy encouraged 11 staff nurses to take the CEN review exam this fall and worked to find resources to ensure all staff who wanted to could have time-off to take the review.
• Rocquel Crawley, MBA, BSN, RN, Ambulatory Care Director of Nursing and Operations, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond
Rocquel attended the first Central Virginia Nurse Leadership’s Institute class. She has transformed the clinics at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System through exemplary customer service while engaging in servant leadership. She continues to lead in her quest for new knowledge, evidence based practice and professional development and her colleagues admire these qualities. Rocquel’s staff are glad to receive any additional training or assistance that helps improve the facility. She has served VNA as President of her local district and is an exceptional coach, mentor and leader.
• Jessica Dawson, MPH, BSN, RN, Supervisor School Health, Henrico County Public Schools, Henrico
Jessica passionately describes school nursing as an opportunity to build bridges between education and health care. She is known for saying, "The school nurse may be the only health professional that a child sees. We are in a natural position to help students access health care by linking them to needed services." As the Supervisor of School Health for HCPS, she takes ownership for addressing the needs of a population of over 47,000 students, and 7,000 staff. She writes and implements competitive grants to fill positions, and to address issues like fitness, nutrition, health insurance, and safety. To assist with efficiency, Jessica has been working with the HCPS Technology Team to create an electronic school health record that will decrease human error and save time.
Jessica is the Secretary for Virginia Association of School Nurses, a member of the National Association of School Nurses, and the National League for Nursing. Also, she is an Adjunct for Community Health Nursing at VCU and University of Phoenix. She is the Secretary of the local School Health Advisory Board. Jessica is a Nationally Board Certified School Nurse and her next goal is to obtain her PhD.
• Jeffrey Doucette, MS, RN, CEN, FACHE, NEA-B, Vice President Emergency Services, Bon Secours Virginia, Suffolk
Jeff Doucette has incredible vision for the 4 ED's he oversees. He has coordinated the Leadership Teams with meetings that allow focus, sharing of ideas, the stabilization of problem areas, establishment of workable formats and policies and a great sense of camaraderie. Jeff has established a complete policy manual for all ED's that ties them all together and promotes continuity to the patients and department. He has provided his staff with outside sources of leadership training coupled with organizational leadership classes and seminars. He worked with the community EMS system to establish education, sponsoring of events, establish RN liaison communication with the ED's and rescue squads. This all in turn has significantly increased the patient volumes in all the ED's and established a trusting and cohesive relationship between EMS and Bon Secours. With his leadership and hard work Bon Secours ED's are on an incredible journey into the future of servicing the Hampton Roads area.
• Misty Freeman, MHA, BSN, RN, Administrative Director Critical Care and Emergency Services, Bon Secours St. Mary's Hospital, Providence Forge
Misty joined St Mary's Hospital in January 2011 and brought with her experience in cardiovascular, surgical and perioperative administration, and a keen sense of direction. Misty not only exemplifies a leader with nursing staff, physicians and administrative relationships but also maintains clinical skills and became an expert in the use of the computerized documentation system. She understands and demonstrates clear expectations and accountability with the 8 departments that she leads. She has spoken a number of times about clinical transformation for the critical care nursing groups. Misty is a leaders’ leader.
• HoChong Gilles, MSN, BSN, BS, RN, Nurse Practitioner, McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Richmond
HoChong Gilles has devoted her career to achieving excellence as a clinician, educator, clinical preceptor, researcher and leader. Her clinical knowledge, skills, clinical outcomes and contributions to clinical research have earned her distinction within the hepatology and liver transplant specialty. Her sustained contributions have significantly impacted professional practice and are commendable. Over the past decade, HoChong has distinguished herself as a clinical expert in the management and treatment of viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, hepatocellular cancer and liver transplant. Physicians at the VA Medical Center routinely consult her regarding day to day management issues of liver disease. She developed an innovative large volume paracentesis program at the center to manage cirrhosis with unsurpassed clinical outcomes. She is trusted and respected for her clinical expertise, and patients extol her dedication and altruism.
HoChong has co-authored numerous peer review scientific manuscripts and book chapters. She is a national invited lecturer. In addition, she serves as adjunct faculty educator at VCU School of Nursing and a clinical preceptor. As a leader, she is actively involved with the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners professional organization and has served as the Richmond region secretary, and president.
• Jamie Greene, MSN, RN, Regional Nurse Executive; Health Plan Delivery System Operations, Kaiser Permanente, Laurel
Jamie is the Regional Nurse Executive for Kaiser Permanente. She is responsible for the clinical practice of 1200 nurses working in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Jamie is also responsible for all the nursing policies and curriculum development organization wide. She orchestrated a clinical skills training program for more than 550 unlicensed assistants. She is leading the implementation of a new nursing strategy for Kaiser Permanente nurses and is working to bring Magnet recognition to the ambulatory setting within Kaiser Permanente. She enables nurses to work at the top of their scope of practice with pride and competence.
Every project, task and initiative that Jamie gets involved with is simply outstanding. She is rigorous with her research, has stellar communication skills, she is open minded yet has a high standard that she will not compromise. The result of her work impacts workforce growth, knowledge development and obviously patient outcomes. Whether it is teaching a new diabetic or providing maternity services or building a new “Hub” to increase access for our members, she is committed to the mission of extraordinary patient care every time. She holds the profession of nursing in the highest regard and demands that of others.
• Kimberly Harper, BSN, RN, Emergency Department Nursing Director, Riverside Health System, Newport News
Kim has been an RN/CEN for 13 years. She transitioned from the nurse manager of a department into a director role and now leads a Level 2 Trauma Center. She is a patient and staff advocate who loves Emergency medicine. Kim provides educational sessions to the paramedic community annually. She serves the community at health tents during marathons, instructs citizens on seat belt use and appropriate car seat installations for children.
Kim supports her staff through education and training, holding twice daily "huddles" with them. The huddles include policy changes, educational updates, and general information. She works closely with the entire ED team in the department. Kim is a leader that works diligently to create a professional relationship both in the ED as well as other departments. Kim supports professional growth, accountability, and educational pursuits for all members of her team.
• Denise Hill, BSN, RN, Staff Nurse in the NICU at Children's National Medical Center, Washington DC
Denise was active as a leader in the Virginia Student Nurses Association and currently holds the new graduate position on the Virginia Nurses Association Board. In that role she continues to offer support to the VSNA in an attempt to strengthen the relationship between the two organizations. She assisted VNA with focus groups regarding student membership categories and effectively recruited new student members as a speaker at the recent VNSA conference.
• Christina Issaev, MSN, RN, Nurse Manager, LDRP, Intermediate Care Nursery; Manager, Respiratory Therapy, Stafford Hospital, Stafford
Christina has been a nurse manager since 2005. She is an exceptional young leader and in 2005 was instrumental in opening the LDRP unit as well as being asked to serve a dual role as Manager of RT. Although they are very diverse departments, Christina accepted the challenge and embraced both departments equally and enthusiastically. In 2010 she opened a two-bed sleep lab and achieved COPN certification for a Level 2 Nursery. She then led a nursery design team and opened the Level 2 Nursery in January, 2011.
She has developed strong physician partnerships and serves as a clinical expert with her nursing peers in the development of clinical protocols. Christina has developed unit shared governance teams and she participates actively at the newly formed corporate Women's Health Institute board. This young nursing leader has energy and drive, the ability to mentor and engage her staff and helps support the community in which she serves.
• LaLanda Johnson, BSN, RN, Director of Nursing, Riverside Lifelong Health- The Gardens of Warwick Forest, Newport News
LaLanda (Landy) currently serves as the Director of Nursing at The Gardens of Warwick Forest. She is a dedicated professional with a passion for changing the care model for senior adults. Landy’s vision for seniors includes promoting culture change and person centered care while enhancing the lifestyle of the older adult. She navigates residents through the continuum of care within the facility, which includes units specializing in high acuity skilled short-term, rehabilitation, memory support, end of life, and long term residents. Landy brings a comprehensive clinical background with experience in critical care, medical and surgical intensive care, Level 1 burn trauma, and neurological intensive care.
She has also served as adjunct faculty for senior nursing level students in critical care and rehabilitation courses. Her passion is in developing her staff and allowing them the opportunity to expand their clinical knowledge and enhance their critical thinking skills. She is a strong patient advocate and is committed to quality care and excellent customer service. Landy’s community involvement includes providing free tutoring for at risk children with drug dependent parents. She works as a Covenant Partner for at Risk Youths and the Make A Difference Foundation.
• Hanan Kallash, MS, RN, Staff Nurse, Community Memorial Health Center, Chesterfield
Hanan is a leader in every aspect of career. Her diverse skills range from an expert panelist on healthcare issues to staff nurse in critical care. Her passion for the doing the right thing for the patient and family or client is always evident in her practice. She serves as an elected member to the Quality, Research and Safety Council where her knowledge and expertise is utilized to promote understanding of health disparities. Hanan is a health educator for First Candle, the National Sudden Unexpected Infant/Child Death and Pregnancy Loss Program Support Center. She works directly with neonatologist, pediatricians, family practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, pharmacists, policy analysts, and grant writers.
Hanan holds memberships in American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association and the Association of Infant Mortality Programs. She has been accepted the VCU MSN program for nurse practitioners. She has years of experience in family, maternal and child health issues, national and is a younger leader to watch. She is a passionate advocate for world health improvement and will make a significant difference in the world.
• Erin Keister, MSN, RN, Director Quality and Staff Development, Montgomery, Blacksburg
Erin seems to take a leadership role in just about everything. As the Director of Quality, she leads all quality initiatives and is also responsible for regulatory compliance- no small task in today's highly regulated and transparent environment. Erin directs the education department and demonstrates exceptional strategic and visionary skills when assisting with initiatives that promote a safety and quality-driven work environment for nurses. She is continually researching the latest evidence for best practices, and is considered to be a reliable and trusted resource by our medical staff. Always the patient advocate, it is often Erin who is asked to respond to customer concerns or conflicts that arise.
A recognized health care quality expert in Virginia, Erin serves as a member of the Quality Council for the VA State Rural Health Plan, and is the HCA Capital Division representative for 17 hospitals on the HCA Patient Safety Advisory Council. Erin serves on the New River Valley United Way Board and is a frequent guest lecturer at Radford University, presenting to nursing students topics related to patient safety and quality. Erin is truly making a difference for the future of nursing in our Commonwealth.
• Holly Kesel, BSN, RN, Assistant Director, CJW Medical Center, Midlothian
Holly is a true visionary. She is a compassionate caring leader that staff willingly follow. Holly introduced the idea of shared governance to staff. She is an excellent clinical nurse as well. Holly has been involved at the unit and hospital level with policy development, to include Self Scheduling, Charge Nurse Orientation, and Scheduling Guidelines.
She began as a staff nurse, progressed to a Clinical Coordinator, and is currently the Assistant Director for Levinson Heart Hospital. Her future is bright and certainly will include an ongoing progression in nursing leadership. Holly serves as a role model to staff and managers alike. She is a true patient and family advocate and promotes open visitation to all of her units. Holly is a natural leader with great potential to transform our profession. She has the potential to guide nurses into the future while keeping them grounded as excellent, compassionate patient and family care givers.
• Kristi Kimpel, MSN, RN, Advanced Practice Nurse 2- Surgical Trauma Burn ICU; University of Virginia Health System, Palmyra
Kristi models excellence in every aspect of her role including: clinical patient management, teaching, research, and leadership. Kristi’s work was instrumental in the unit’s attainment of AACN Beacon status in 2007. Her leadership is evident in her clinical management of patients in the STBICU as well as throughout the hospital. She is an expert in burn care. She has led initiatives for the critical care division and has actively participated in many key evidence based initiatives. She is seen as a valued leader by all disciplines with whom she interacts.
Kristi is a natural teacher at the bedside, as a consultant throughout the hospital, as a preceptor for graduate students, and through formal lecturing. She implements current evidence into practice and helps the staff understand the importance of same. Her change agency is evident in the numerous practice initiatives that address quality and patient outcomes. She is relentless in her focus on quality and actively collaborates with others to assure that the initiatives are completed.
• Deepa Kurup, MSN/MBA, RN, Regulatory Affairs Specialist for abdominal transplant and ESRD, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond
Deepa Kurup’s clinical skills and compassionate care of patients suffering from kidney failure are exceptional. She has a passion for improving care for patients and has many innovative ideas for improving that care. Deepa is active within a number of committees including: transforming care at the bedside; pediatric dialysis and nursing satisfaction, and a hospital interdisciplinary committee, charged with improving the abilities of users of clinical applications. She takes extraordinary measures in the care of patients.
• Ronnette Langhorne, MSN, BSN, RN, Faculty/Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Hampton University, Norfolk
Ronette has served on the board of the Virginia Nurses Association for two terms in the capacity of Secretary as well as serving as President of VNA district 10. She was elected to serve the American Nurses Association in the capacity of the Congress on Nursing Practice and Economics. Ronnette is passionate about mentoring the next generation of nursing leaders and is on faculty at Thomas Nelson Community College. She holds leadership positions in Delta Sigma Theta and Chi Eta Phi.
• Tiffany Linkowitz, MSN, RN, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center, Chesterfield
Tiffany Linkowitz has the unique set of skills and talents necessary to be a transformational leader in nursing. She graduated from VCU in 2005 and continuing her dedication to lifelong learning received a MSN in 2008. Tiffany is an exceptional resource with a wide range of knowledge and expertise. She is well known in the facility for her authentic presence and positive, nurturing personality. She is sought out by staff and peers for her creative approaches to transforming care. Tiffany facilitates a variety of Clinical Performance Improvement Teams in collaboration with Executive Leadership, Nurse Managers, and Quality Management. Her passion for new knowledge and evidence based research has created significant progress in quality outcomes across the system. She has effectively established and maintained productive relationships with physicians and staff bridging those crucial communication gaps. Her innovative approach is one to be admired. She is a true asset to the nursing profession.
• Emily B. Little, BSN, RN, Clinician 2, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville
Emily values clinical excellence and life-long learning. She served as President of the Maine Student Nurses Association and chose Emergency Room nursing as her practice area after participating in an externship at University of Virginia Medical Center. She is described as a compassionate caregiver who has learned the art and skill of prioritizing care in a fast-paced environment.
Emily has published two articles, one titled "Breakthrough to Nursing", and the other "Global Health Care in the Hands of Nursing." In 2006 she participated in a medical mission to Paraguay. Emily has taken courses towards her Master’s degree in Nursing and expects to complete her Family Nurse Practitioner coursework in 2012.
• William Machen, RN, Riverside Tappahannock Hospital, Tappahannock
Community Service is a way of life for William “Billy” Machen. Billy has been an active member of the Central Middlesex Volunteer Rescue Squad in Urbanna since 1999 (when he was 16). Prior to turning 16, Billy was an unofficial member of the squad for 1½ years serving as the victim for training classes and doing odd jobs to stay involved with the team. His mother, who is also a nurse has also served on the volunteer squad for many years. It was this mother and son team who responded to a fatal boating accident last year in Urbanna.
During his last year of nursing school, Billy worked as a Patient Care Technician in the Emergency Department of Riverside Tappahannock Hospital and that experience shaped his future professional practice as an Emergency Room Nurse and nurse leader. He is known for his clinical expertise and calm demeanor. His compassionate approach is recognized and appreciated by patients and their families. Despite his full time work commitment, Billy continues to work with the volunteer squad. He received the Riverside Tappahannock Hospital Hero of the Year award this year in testament to his volunteer community service.
• Tracey Mallory, BA, RN, Clin III, General Surgery Unit, Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center, Bowling Green
Tracey personifies the holistic practice that Florence Nightingale envisioned: the patient as the recipient of nursing care; nurses should concentrate on the patient and their needs, not the disease they were afflicted with and that people are multidimensional. Tracey functions as a charge nurse, mentor and preceptor. Her keen instincts focus on proactively addressing patient and family needs. Whether assisting in a patient’s recovery or to comfort someone in the last moments of life, Tracey is committed to instilling these philosophies in new nurses and nursing students.
Tracey began her second career in healthcare after working in the business industry. Since becoming an RN, Tracey has continued to raise the bar by participating in many hospital committees, developed unit education projects and obtained her Medsurg certification. She exudes professionalism and always demonstrates a positive, caring and empathetic attitude. It is not unusual to see her assisting any of her team during times of crisis.
Tracey is an active volunteer in her church and also volunteers at the Hospital cancer survivor events. She exemplifies why nursing is one of the most trusted professions in America.
• Dara McCullagh, BS, BSN, MBA, RN, Administrative Director Heart and Vascular Institute, Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center, Richmond
Dara was destined to travel a non-traditional pathway as a nursing leader. She was the first University of Kentucky nursing student to study abroad in Australia. After graduation she lived in Australia and worked in critical care and then directed outstation clinics for Aboriginal people. Her work addressed issues such as nutrition, empowerment of women, sexual health and safety, domestic violence, and failure to thrive in children under the age of two. She practiced in an environment where receiving mail required a two day drive down a dirt path and groceries were flown in once a week.
In the United States, Dara managed urgent care and physician practices in four different locations, completed her MBA in addition to studying abroad in Beijing. She joined St. Mary’s Hospital in 2006 and as Administrative Director oversees the cardiology diagnostic and invasive areas and co-leads the heart failure Clinical Council for Bon Secours Virginia.
She helped to develop the Calcium Scoring program for Bon Secours. Dara volunteers at the Central Virginia Food Bank, Clay House, Make a Wish Foundation, Richmond Animal League, and the Hugh O’Brien Leadership Institute.
• Kelly McDonough, MSN, RN, Administrative Director, Emergency Services, Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg
Kelly has been leading the change in the Mary Washington Hospital’s ED during this past year through the restructure of the management team. Kelly's leadership skills led to the creation of the Patient Care Management Team. She successfully managed the opening of the Free Standing Emergency Department which continues to be the gold standard for care. Kelly managed the preparation and successful completion of the Marine Corps Half Marathon, as well as the Boy Scouts Jamboree. Each endeavor required a detail-oriented, forward-focused, systems thinker to ensure success.
• Dorothy "Annie" Medina, BS, MSN, RN, Nursing Instructor, Bryant & Stratton University, Midlothian and ACNP in the MCV-VCU Emergency Department, Richmond
Annie is an inspirational visionary to nursing students. Knowledgeable about current practice, she skillfully creates collaborative exercises and fosters leadership in the classroom. She promotes membership and service in the VNA, and actively participates in legislative affairs. Annie bases her practice on nursing theory, research evidence, and pragmatic caring. She advocates for patients, faculty, and students, while both working in the hospital and teaching on campus. A frequent traveler, she brings culturally diverse case studies to class. Annie is beloved by students, patients, faculty, and those she serves.
• Alison Montpetit, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, Midlothian
Alison Montpetit is a rising star among nurses and moving quickly into the ranks of those who will lead nursing into the future. Alison completed a BS in nursing from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington and moved directly into the BS to PhD program at the University of South Florida. Highly productive as a doctoral student, her training culminated in three scholarships, a dissertation award and multiple poster presentation awards. After completing her dissertation a year ahead of schedule, she began a postdoctoral fellowship in the VCU SON Center for Bio-behavioral Clinical Research in July 2008 where she was awarded a K99 grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research. K99 grants are intended to support promising young researchers to develop their own research careers.
Her academic record is reflective of her dedication and commitment to nursing research and pursuing a higher degree in nursing. She is an excellent clinician with an exceptional ability to clearly communicate issues related to clinical practice and its applicability to nursing research. Alison draws acclaims from those who work with her for her bright personality, enthusiasm, and quick wit. Not only an outstanding bench scientist and clinician, she also teaches in the undergraduate program at VCU, volunteers with several professional associations and balances a busy academic career with being a mother of a preschooler.
• Bryan Overman, MA, BSN, FACHE, Director of Primary Care, Northern Virginia, Kaiser Permanente, Woodbridge
Bryan has progressed from a frontline new manager to his current position which is the Director of our Primary Care Services in Northern Virginia coordinating care for approximately 185,000 members in a geographical area of nine medical office buildings. He is a rising star in the nursing community! Bryan is also accountable for our chronic care team of case managers, and nutritionist. As a member of the ethics committee, he worked with community stakeholder to allow discussions of difficult topics. With all of his clinical and management responsibilities, he made the time to participate in Advance Directive Day and used that day for the community as a way to also reach the nursing units to provide education and discussion for the staff as well.
Bryan knows that the complications of coronary artery disease looks like and he knows that most of it is preventable. With that knowledge, Bryan worked to involve his neighborhood families to start a Tee Ball team and expand the number of children who participate. For every child involved in this program, there is one less standing at the door of his ICU.
• Jessica Parrott, DNP, MSN, BSN, PNP, Program Coordinator /Assistant Professor, Norfolk State University, Chesapeake
Jessica Parrot is an experienced pediatric nurse practitioner and active in her professional association. She worked as a pediatric nurse practitioner for 6 years before deciding to pursue a career in academia. Believing in lifelong learning and always seeking to improve her knowledge and skills, Jessica is currently enrolled in postgraduate study for further role development as an educator.
Jessica was responsible for teaching community health nursing. She sets examples for her students and promotes their engagement in the community. As part of the community health class, she involved students in the Chesapeake Medical Reserve Corps, the Interfaith Coalition, an assisted living facility, the faith-based community and a variety of other innovative sites to expand the students' experience beyond school health. In fact, she was recognized by the City of Chesapeake in 2011 for outstanding community involvement associated with the Chesapeake Medical Reserve Corps.
• Adye Porter, RN Clin II, Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center, Glen Allen
Adye is a highly influential, well respected, and vivacious nurse. Adye consistently displays a positive attitude during her patient care, to her peers and about her nursing profession. She is a role model for leadership at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center. Adye helps to enhance the motivation, morale and performance of her coworkers through her leadership as the unit’s Gallup employee engagement champion. A role model who inspires others to be and do their best perfectly describes Adye. She displays caring for each patient as the essence of nursing. Her professional practice is based in the philosophy of family centered care. She is a strong advocate for her patients, her team, her unit, her organization, and for Nursing. She volunteers as the on-site nurse for events at her daughter’s school. Adye is a young leader and the nurse one wants to see when there is a challenge that calls for a leader to step up and see the challenge as an opportunity.
• Chelsea Savage, BA, MSHA, RN, Risk Manager, VCU Health System, Richmond
Chelsea began her career at the bedside. As a nurse she studied philosophy and obtained her BA, fulfilling her passion for learning and exploring the fundamentals of meaning and existence. She began as a Fellow for Hope in the Cities learning to build trust through honest conversations on race, reconciliation and responsibility and founded by Initiatives of Change, an organization committed to building relationships of trust across the world's divides. After graduation, she enrolled in the Executive Fellowship in Health Law at VCU. In 2007 she became Chair of the Legislative Committee for the Virginia Organization of Nurse Executives. That position lead to a two year term as Chair of the Legislative Coalition of Virginia Nurses. In 2009 she became a Fellow of the American Nurses Advocacy Institute and one year later, Chelsea was selected to participate in Sorensen Institute’s Political Leaders Program. The program is designed for Virginians wishing to become more active in public service. She was the first recipient of the Leslie Herdegen Roher Scholarship which is managed by the Virginia Nurses Association to provide funding to this program for nurse participants.
Chelsea is serving as the Assistant Commissioner on Public Policy and Secretary for the Virginia Nurses Association. She is currently a Risk Manager at VCU Health System.
• Kevin Shimp, BS, BSN, RN, Clinical Coordinator BMT Unit, VCU Health System, Richmond
Kevin is the Nurse Manager of the Acute Care Surgery Unit in the Critical Care Hospital of VCUHS. He found a way to serve his community while benefiting his patients by running for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Man of the Year for 2011. Simultaneously he was working on his MSN at the University of Virginia and attending the Nurse Leadership Institute. He graduated from the NLI in May, 2011.
The Man and Woman of the Year Campaign is about fundraising and spreading the word about cancers involving the blood and bone marrow. Over the course of the 10 week campaign Kevin organized over 25 separate events to get the word out about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. During that campaign he was also able to raise over $35,000 and was honored with the Man of the Year achievement. Kevin plans to continue his work with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society and hopes to remain active with their important work in the future.
• Angela Starkweather, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN, Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, Midlothian
Angela Starkweather is committed to the profession of nursing and works tirelessly to advocate for nurses/nursing students, improve patient/family care, and health outcomes. As President of the Sigma Theta Tau International Gamma Omega Chapter at VCU, she has strengthened partnerships with the Virginia Nurses Association and Nursing Students With-out Borders. She is the Vice-President of the Richmond region Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners and works towards creating stronger partnerships with nursing faculty throughout the Commonwealth. Angela maintains her practice as an advanced practice; her research is innovative and is leading to new practice strategies for symptom management in patients with chronic pain, cancer, and in the critically ill. These investigations incorporate genetic and epigenetic factors that may provide nurses with new information and new ways to improve symptom management.
Angela is involved in the American Pain Society, International Association for the Study of Pain, and American Association of Neuroscience Nurses in which she provides leadership in nursing guidelines and standards of care. She inspires her students to strive for excellence as nurses and to engage in professional development and legislative issues affecting health policies and nursing practice. At a national level she is involved in developing policies for ethical standards in pain management. Her life's work has made a tremendously positive impact toward improving patient care and the lives of all those around her.
• S. Craig Thomas, MSN, BSN, ACNS-BC, Manager, 4 East, Central Cardiac Monitoring & MET Responders, University of Virginia Health System, Faber
Craig’s professionalism, dedication, and diverse practice represent everything we would like the future of nursing to embody. In addition to his primary duties as the manager of a 28 bed acute cardiology unit, Craig also leads UVA’s central monitoring team and the dedicated rapid response team. He has completed his Master’s degree and met all the requirements for the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program. Although his heart is in management, his passion for ensuring clinical excellence for all patients led him to pursue a clinical focus in his graduate program. Craig’s commitment to patient care is also exhibited by his many activities outside of the hospital. His varied contributions include being a clinical instructor and preceptor in the UVA CNL program, a volunteer medic for the Amherst County Fire & Rescue Squad, a member of his church’s Health Care Committee which provides wellness education and health screenings, as well as leading a rapid response team for his congregation.
Craig has a vision for his career and he is an excellent mentor for his staff and his peers. The future wellbeing of the patients and staff of the UVA Health System and the nursing profession are secure with the type of leadership exemplified by S. Craig Thomas.
• Eileen Joy Watkins, BSN, CCRN, Assistant Director of Critical Care, Community Memorial Healthcenter, South Hill
• The strongest attribute that Eileen possesses is the ability to see the big picture and desired outcomes. As a preceptor/ mentor, she helps new nurses discover their purpose in care delivery, connecting their contributions to the goals of the unit and organization. Eileen demonstrates a strong commitment to the utilization of evidence base practice and research to improve patient outcomes. In 2010, her research showcased both state and regionally. Her research “Watch Dogs for Life” has been recognized by the LifeNet and adopted by several hospitals throughout the state.
Eileen is the Chair of our Professional Development Council and leads nurses to new insights in the value of certification, professional practice, recognition and continuing education. She completed the Nurse Leadership Institute in 2009 and is currently completing her Master’s degree in nursing. She is a knowledge seeker that shares her knowledge in numerous forums in addition to chairing the hospital’s Code Blue Committee. Eileen is an active member of her church, volunteers for the American Red Cross and American Cancer Society and numerous hospital sponsored events. Dedicated first and foremost to doing what is best for her patients and their families, she uses this passion as her guiding force for making decisions. Her passion has led her to improve her clinical knowledge/skills and develop influencing and leadership skills. She is truly a dedicated nursing professional who is tireless in her pursuit of excellence.
• Beth Widmaier, BSN, BA, RN, Palliative Care Coordinator, Riverside Regional Medical Center, Yorktown
Beth Widmaier has worked for Riverside Regional Medical Center for ten years in multiple areas of nursing. She was a Recreational Therapist prior to obtaining her nursing degree and has woven that role into every aspect of the care that she provides to her patients. Before becoming a Palliative Care Coordinator, she was a critical care nurse and Assistant Nurse Manager. Her passion and calling is evident in her current role of Palliative Care Coordinator She has developed protocols and has been the instructor of grief and loss education for her professional colleagues.
She is a member of the regional Advance Care Planning Initiative within the community and focusses on educating the community about quality life and decision making related to medical decisions. Countless families and patients that Beth has cared for describe her and their care as compassionate, with exceptional sensitivity and expert in her field.
• Carla Wolfner, MHA, BS, RN, Director, Medical Specialties of Northern Virginia, Kaiser Permanente, Leesburg
Carla Wolfner is the Director of Medical Specialties in northern Virginia with Kaiser Permanente. She has the ability to lead her team, accomplishing ambitious, difficult quality, safety, and access targets. In 1994, she received the “Spirit of Nursing Award” from the United States Army. She has the highest expectations for staff performance and customer service and demonstrates the finest characteristics of a nurse and a leader. Carla is a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army Reserves and has hosted the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Conference at the Virginia Hospital Center.