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March of Dimes Honors Outstanding Middle Tennessee Nurses at Annual Gala

More than 110 Middle Tennessee nurses were nominated for the annual March of Dimes Nurse of the Year awards. A total of 17 honorees were chosen in 16 categories.

Now in it's eighth year, the March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Awards recently honored 17 outstanding leaders who embody compassion and professional excellence across 16 categories of nursing specialties and education.

"These nurses are very deserving of this honor, and we are pleased to play a role in saluting these patient champions for the care they provide daily," said Community Health Systems Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Pam Rudisill, DNP, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, FAAN, who served as the 2017 Nurse of the Year event chairperson.

March of Dimes hosts Nurse of the Year events throughout the country to recognize nurses who live out the organization's vision for a healthier, stronger generation of babies and families. In Middle Tennessee, more than 110 highly accomplished nursing professionals were nominated for the 2017 awards. A distinguished committee of nursing professionals selected the 17 honorees through a structured screening and review process, which culminated in a gala luncheon held at Belmont University's Maddox Grand Atrium. More than 15 organizations helped sponsor the November event, and Nashville Medical News served as a media sponsor for the fifth year. Continuing tradition, WSMV News Channel 4 meteorologist Dan Thomas emceed the awards program.

Adult Critical Care
Mary Shea, RN
HCA/TriStar Centennial Medical Center

Described as a "champion of growth in shared governance," Shea has stepped up as a leader at her facility with her ability to provide outstanding hands-on clinical care and willingness to serve in organizational roles to improve the delivery and quality of care to enhance outcomes. She serves as chair of the unit-based council for the Medical/Surgical Intensive Care Unit, as well as chair of the Critical Care Council. In addition to giving her time at work, she also donates her personal time working toward improved care for patients.

Advanced Practice
Angela Wilson-Liverman, DHSc, CNM, FACNM
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Wilson-Liverman is director of the Division of Midwifery and Advanced Practice (MWAP) and an associate professor in the Department of OB/GYN. A certified nurse midwife since 1999, she joined the faculty at Vanderbilt in 2007. Her research interests include midwives in residency education and midwife-led obstetric triage units. She developed and instituted a prenatal care clinic for patients who have fetuses diagnosed with anomalies to provide continuity of care and normalization of pregnancy. She also expanded the Maternal Special Care Unit to provide around the clock coverage by MWAP faculty to improve access and decrease length of stay and costs for the triage visits.

Jennifer Wilbeck, DNP, APRN, FAANP
Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Certified as an acute care, family and emergency nurse practitioner, Wilbeck has more than 17 years of practice experience in both rural and urban emergency department settings. She pioneered Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) education nationally and has led the specialty at Vanderbilt since its inception in 2006, which was the first dual ACNP/FNP program in the country to train students specifically for sub-specialty practice in the emergency department. In addition to maintaining a clinical practice, Wilbeck has lectured nationally, been engaged in scholarly interests including the role of simulation in nurse practitioner training and served as a mentor for many students. She was also the founding board chair for the American Academy of Emergency Nurse Practitioners.

Behavioral Health
Alex Shoemaker, RN
Mental Health Cooperative

Shoemaker has a clear passion for helping others. Her work in behavioral health often leads her to some of the area's most vulnerable patients who feel hopeless before being introduced to proper treatment. While she has witnessed great despair, Shoemaker said there is also great joy in the journey to recover hope. "Outpatient behavioral health is so rewarding. I absolutely love watching the progression of someone with mental illness as they begin to think past the basic necessities of life and thrive into leadership of their own lives," she said.

Wyatt King, RN

Calm in chaotic situations, King's professionalism and skills are routinely on display in scenarios where minutes matter. For stroke patients, starting evidence-based care as quickly as possible has long-lasting consequences on outcomes. King has been instrumental in the development and implementation of stroke care in the Emergency Department and in reaching the community to rapidly recognize the signs of stroke. Considering it an honor to be a nurse in the emergency setting, he noted, "I have had the great opportunity to be a part of many people's lives in their worst times."

General Medical
Eliza (Annie) Greer, RN
HCA/TriStar Skyline Medical Center

As a nurse, Greer has said she is most proud of actions that have made the trials of her patients' lives a little easier to bear. Her focus is firmly on quality to ensure the best possible outcomes are reached. Greer's nominator described her as "an awesome nurse who has so much love and compassion towards her patients."

Graduate Student Nurse
Stephanie Abbu, MSN, RN
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt

Abbu serves as a role model for other nurses in continuing education and improvement of professional practice. Over the past 12 years, she has proudly served patients and their families as a bedside nurse, manager and now as clinical business coordinator for Neonatal Services at Monroe Carell. She said, "I realize that no mater my role, I have an obligation to improve care and to uphold professional practice." Abbu completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree last month. "My focus as a future DNP leader is on the benefits of nurse mentoring, its impact on all levels of professional practice, retention, and patient outcomes," she added.

Hospice & Palliative Care
Erin Havrilla, RN
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

A nationally listed End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) trainer in pediatrics, Havrilla has focused much of her work on facilitating workshops in caring for the perinatal/neonatal populations. She has also participated in presentations on cultural considerations at the end of life in the NICU. "The care we provide our families at the end of life is never easy," she has said, "but being able to walk beside them through this journey and to make a difference in patients' lives and the lives of their families is worth it."

Managed Care
James Stritzinger, RN

Stritzinger works tirelessly to assist medically underserved families through positive leadership and effective case management. A pediatric case manager with Amerigroup since 2015, he helps families with fragile children in a variety of roles ranging from education to care coordination to full case management.

Nursing Administration
Christine Lunger, RN
HCA/TriStar Skyline Medical Center

The director of Critical Care Services, Lunger strives to build highly skilled, competent clinical teams to ensure safe, effective, compassionate care is delivered with every patient encounter. An avid believer in the importance of patient-caregiver communication, she as been described as "always approaching patients, families and staff with compassion, patience and a truly caring heart." In addition to her work on behalf of patients, Lunger also advocates on behalf of nurses in the unit to promote the delivery of quality care in a safe, effective work environment.

Nursing Education
Beth Fentress Hallmark, PhD, CHSE
Belmont University Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences & Nursing

As a certified simulation educator and director of simulation for Belmont's College of Health Sciences, Hallmark has actively disseminated findings associated with simulation-based teaching and learning in nursing and through interprofessional collaborations with other disciplines. She also serves on the editorial board for Lippincott DocuCare electronic health record, regularly mentors junior faculty with regard to nursing pedagogy, scholarship and publication. Hallmark's nominator described her as an individual of "integrity, creativity and intellect who is a nationally recognized professional role model dedicated to notable standards of excellence."

Beth Sparta, RN
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt

Sparta has served as a preceptor and mentor to new nurses, teaching them to admit and care for micro preemies in Vanderbilt Children's NICU. She has also oriented new shift leaders and helped support them in their critical role. With 32 years of experience as a bedside and charge nurse, Sparta brings a sense of calmness and professionalism as she manages high-risk deliveries to the benefit of both her tiny patients and their anxious parents.

Public & Community Health
Patricia Detzel, MSN, CNM
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Working as a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) as a nurse clinical preceptor, Detzel is helping develop a new SANE program to bring comfort and care to victims at one of the most traumatic times of their lives. Passionate about her field, she often gives presentations to educate other nurses and help them to develop the necessary skills to function effectively in sexual assault examinations. A certified nurse midwife, Detzel also serves as an assistant professor for Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology and sees patients for a range of health issues through the Vanderbilt Center for Women's Health.

Quality & Risk Management
Caitlin Pugh, RN
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt

Continually improving quality is of the utmost importance to Pugh. She works to support bedside nurses on their quality projects and provides them with the resources to foster success. Additionally, Pugh led a multidisciplinary task force that included nurses, physicians, case workers and administrators to implement cue-based feeding in the NICU. She also implemented PART - Pediatric Assessment and Response Team - using simulations to allow nurses to practice code situations in the NICU.

Mary Jo Gilmer, PhD, MBA, RN-BC, FAAN
Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Gilmer has made significant contributions to advance the state of science in pediatric palliative care. She has spent years in active clinical care and research with families and children facing life-limiting conditions. Her contributions include research with the bereaved after a child's death, which has led to an increased understanding of the multiple responses and adjustment over time in the face of loss. Widely published, her most recent research and pilot project combines pediatric oncology and animal-assisted therapy to enhance treatment and increase comfort.

Undergraduate Student Nurse
McCall Mannel
Lipscomb University School of Nursing

Now in her senior year, Mannel is described as a true team player by faculty. She's always willing to lend a hand to help staff and her fellow students. Mannel is well prepared in both the classroom and clinical setting to care for patients and is engaging with patients and their family members. She also demonstrates the professionalism and compassion throughout her interactions that are the hallmark of a good nurse.

Women's Health
Ginny Moore, DNP, APRN
Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Moore has a special interest in underserved populations and caring for the special needs of women. She has taught for more than 25 years at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) while practicing in a diverse number of settings that include family planning, sexual assault examination, private practice and community-based healthcare clinics. In 2015, she was named director of the Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Specialty Program at VUSN and is active in clinical scholarship, examining strategies to improve and promote effective patient care and communication. Additionally, Moore is the author of several articles on women's health topics.


March of Dimes Tennessee


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Alex Shoemaker, Amerigroup, Angela Wilson-Liverman, Annie Greer, Ashley McCall Mannel, Belmont University, Beth Fentress Hallmark, Beth Sparta, Caitlin Pugh, Christine Lunger, Eliza Greer, Erin Havrilla, Ginny Moore, HCA, Hospital Corporation of America, James Stritzinger, Jennifer Wilbeck, Lipscomb University School of Nursing, March of Dimes, Mary Jo Gilmer, Mary Shea, Mental Health Cooperative, Middle Tennessee Nurse of the Year, Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Patricia Detzel, Stephanie Abbu, TriStar Skyline, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, VUMC, VUSN, Wyatt King
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