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ANCC Honors Outstanding Clinicians With National Magnet Nurse of the Year® Award

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) National Magnet Nurse of the Year® awards 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 & Improvements; and Empirical Outcomes. The 2014 award winners were recognized at the ANCC National Magnet Conference® in Dallas. ANCC thanks Silver Sponsors API Healthcare, Capella University, Elsevier Clinical Solutions, Kindred Healthcare, and Stryker Medical for their generous support of the Magnet Nurse of the Year awards. The winners are:

  • Transformational Leadership: Deborah D. Pennington, BSN, RN, The University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City, KS

Deborah's 25 years of experience as a neonatal intensive care nurse helped transform the way care is provided to premature and other infants who are discharged to home from the neonatal intensive care unit. As a passionate and dedicated neonatal intensive care nurse, she understood the vulnerability and complex needs of these special infants and envisioned a way to provide both primary and specialized care to those who were discharged to home from the neonatal intensive care unit.

She transformed the delivery of neonatal care by building an infrastructure that creates partnerships with parents to provide for the medical, psychological, educational, and health maintenance needs of their child. Parents are now comforted knowing that Deborah and her supportive team of physicians, nurses, therapists, case managers, and specialists, are committed to making a difference in the lives of the children they passionately care for. She is a true transformational leader who challenges the status quo and moves teams to excellence.

  • Structural Empowerment: Melissa A. Kramer, BSN, RN, CEN, SANE-A, SANE-P, Lancaster General Hospital, Lancaster, PA

Melissa, an emergency department nurse, certified adult and pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner, and previous co-director of the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Program, has demonstrated unparalleled commitment to patient care, education and community service. As a dedicated and committed sexual assault nurse examiner, she developed protocols for the treatment of pediatric victims that align with best practice national standards. Melissa has led research that recognized HIV testing, education and treatment as essential components of the sexual assault examination. In addition, her efforts helped in the development of a HIV prophylaxis protocol and algorithm for the emergency department. As chair of the Community Outreach Council, she developed the Nurses Innovating Community Engagement program. Her visionary leadership in prevention and policy work, and community engagement empowers nurses to improve patient outcomes and advance the health of the communities they serve.

  • Exemplary Professional Practice: Jacqueline Murray, PhD, BSN, RN, CPN, Children's Hospital Colorado, Aurora, CO

As the Brain Injury Nursing Program coordinator, Jacqueline has an extraordinary focus on safety and prevention. Her devotion to patient advocacy was instrumental in coordinating her team's support for the passage of Senate Bill 11-040, the Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act. Her passion and strong focus on preventing traumatic brain injury in children, and coordinating interprofessional care for traumatic brain injury in children helped influence the development of a regional concussion registry. In 2013, she helped create the Non-Accidental Brain Injury Care Clinic, which provides family-centered care for infants and young children who have been diagnosed with a nonaccidental brain injury. Jaqueline continues to positively impact patient care and outcomes and encourages Magnet nurses to collaborate with other talented, passionate, and dedicated professionals to promote a culture of safety, quality monitoring, and quality improvement.

  • New Knowledge, Innovations & Improvements: Paula Kobelt, MSN, RN-BC, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, Columbus, OH

Paula's passion for new knowledge and innovation improves the safety and patient outcomes through evidence-based practice and groundbreaking research. As the primary investigator for an Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved study, she sought to improve the safety of patients in the post-anesthesia care unit by implementing a standardized approach to prevent unwanted opioid-related sedation. The study results propelled the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nursing to adopt and publish new recommendations for assessing post-operative patient sedation. This new knowledge will affect safety and pain management for adult patients nationally and across the globe. She is currently conducting an evidence-based practice project that focuses on assisting surgery patients with comfort care preferences and pain management expectations. The “Comfort Card” provides nurses and other care providers with consistent, patient driven comfort plans before and after surgery.

  • Empirical Outcomes: Kirsten Roberts, MSN-Ed, RN, CVN-I BC, DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, Township, MI    

Kirsten's zealous passion to improve patient outcomes led her to develop an innovative Heart Failure Nurse Navigator role. Her cutting-edge research demonstrates how chronic disease management practice can improve our nation's health and quality of life. Kirsten developed and implemented the 2013 QI Sodium Screening and Education Project for the Michigan Society for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Her innovative leadership inspired 17 hospitals to join the project in improving quality of life, and increasing functional status for heart failure patients. She continues to work with physicians and colleagues to create and implement new policies and protocols into standard practice that will improve the continuum of care for heart failure patients.

About the Magnet Recognition Program®
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 utilizes 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.

About ANCC
The mission of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association (ANA), is to promote excellence in nursing and health care globally through credentialing programs. ANCC's internationally renowned credentialing programs certify and recognize individual nurses in specialty practice areas. ANCC recognizes healthcare organizations that promote nursing excellence and quality patient outcomes while providing safe, positive work environments through the Magnet Recognition Program® and Pathway to Excellence® program. Visit ANCC at