Magnet® and Pathway to Excellence®
national magnet nurse year 2017 award winnersnational magnet nurse year 2017 award winners

National Magnet Nurse of the Year® 2017 award winners

By: Rebecca Graystone, MS, MBA, RN, NE-BC

By Rebecca Graystone, MS, MBA, RN, NE-BC

The Magnet Recognition Program® recognizes healthcare organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence, and innovations in professional nursing practice. Consumers rely on the Magnet® designation as the ultimate credential for high-quality nursing. Developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), Magnet is the leading source of successful nursing practices and strategies worldwide. US News & World Report uses the Magnet designation as a primary competence indicator in its assessment of almost 5,000 hospitals to rank and report the best medical centers in 16 specialties.

The ANCC National Magnet Nurse of the Year® Awards were created in 2010 to recognize the outstanding contributions of clinical nurses for innovation, consultation, leadership, and professional risk-taking. Awards are presented in each of the five Magnet® Model components: transformational leadership; structural empowerment; exemplary professional practice; new knowledge, innovations, and improvements; and empirical outcomes. The 2017 award winners were recognized at the ANCC National Magnet Conference® in Houston, Texas.

Transformational leadership

national magnet nurse year 2017 award winners Mary dixon stillMary Dixon Still, MSN, RN, ANP-BC, ACNS, CCRN, FCCM

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Emory University Hospital

Atlanta, GA

Still was recognized for her leadership in sepsis mortality reduction, continuous renal replacement therapy, and a molecular absorbent recirculating system. Through research, persistence, and new technologies, she’s created various policies and protocols that have decreased mortality rates and shortened the average length of patients’ hospital stays.

Structural empowerment

national magnet nurse year 2017 award winners John shepardJohn F. Shepard, BSN, RN, CCRN

RN Senior Partner

Indiana University Health–Methodist Hospital


Shepard has a reputation of advocating for patients and peers by endorsing a culture that promotes safe work practices. Recognizing the risk of his own professional burnout, Shepard implemented nursing mindfulness meditation sessions. These brief meditations focus on topics such as intention, compassion, and gratitude, and they’ve already demonstrated a positive impact on the hospital’s healthy work environment initiative. Since its inception, overall employee satisfaction has increased and nurses feel more connected with their patients and each other.

Exemplary professional practice

national magnet nurse year 2017 award winners susan goldSusan Gold, BSN, RN, ACRN

Nurse Clinician

University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics


Throughout the course of her career, Gold has made both a local and global impact. A 25-year veteran at the University of Wisconsin, Gold has been specializing in the HIV clinic for the past 8 years. Since 2003, Gold has traveled to Africa to treat HIV orphans and
to educate caregivers. And she’s the first clinical nurse to ever be awarded both a Fulbright scholarship and a Nelson Mandela Fellowship.

New knowledge, innovations, and improvements

national magnet nurse year 2017 award winners laurie mcnicholLaurie McNichol, MSN, RN, CNS, GNP, CWOCN, CWON-AP, FAAN

Clinical Nurse Specialist/Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse

Cone Health–Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital

Greensboro, NC

In 2012, McNichol convened a consensus conference of 20 representatives from various nurse specialties to discuss their findings linking skin damage to medical adhesives. After recognizing this as a widespread issue, McNichol coined the term “medical adhesive–related skin injury” (MARSI). Defining MARSI has led to research into how adhesives perform and resulted in practice innovation to improve the patient experience. McNichol is published in nursing journals, is a coeditor of the Core Curriculum Wound Management textbook, has given presentations and keynote addresses across six continents, and was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Empirical outcomes

national magnet nurse year 2017 award winners Melanie robertsMelanie Roberts, DNP, RN-BC, CNS, CCNS, CCRN

Critical Care Clinical Care Specialist

UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies

Aurora, CO

Poudre Valley Hospital

Fort Collins, CO

A pursuit to improve care quality and reduce mortality rates for postoperative cardiovascular patients led Roberts to initiate guidelines for cardiac surgery advanced life support (CALS). As a result of these guidelines, UCHealth reports that 100% of patients who had the CALS interventions and averted cardiac arrest survived. Roberts’ work also has resulted in a significant decrease in the number of patients needing chest compressions, leading to a reduction in injuries.

Making a difference

These five nurses represent the best of nursing—and the potential in all nurses. Through their dedication, innovation, and attention to excellent care, they’ve made a difference in the lives of their patients, colleagues, and communities.

Rebecca Graystone is the director of the Magnet Recognition Program® at the American Nurses Credentialing Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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