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National Nursing Awards

VA nurses have been widely recognized for their instrumental work in initiating, developing, implementing, and monitoring the practices and policies that has made VA one of the world’s foremost authorities in patient safety and quality outcomes, evidenced by performance measures – an exceptional achievement by any assessment.

Secretary of VA's Awards for Excellence in Nursing & for Advancement in Nursing Programs

The VA Secretary's Awards in Nursing Excellence program, established in 1984, annually honors one Medical Center Director, Nurse Executive (NE), Registered Nurse (RN) in a staff nurse role and one in a non-staff nurse role, i.e. advanced practice nurse, nurse manager, instructor, etc., a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)/Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), and a Nursing Assistant (NA) actively engaged in the care of patients at a VA Medical Center (VAMC). The recipients' contributions to the care of patients in any VA health care setting are patient-driven and demonstrate such excellence as to merit recognition from peers. This award is given only once to an individual.

The Secretary's Awards consists of three major areas: Excellence in Nursing, Advancement of Nursing Programs by a Medical Center or Health Care System Director, and Advancement of Nursing Programs by a Medical Center or Health Care System Nurse Executive. The award categories for Medical Center or Health Care System Director and Medical Center or Health Care System Nurse Executive were added in 1993 and 2003, respectively. The Health Care Technician (HCT) was included in the Nursing Assistant award category in 2006.

2022 Secretary Of Veterans Affairs’ Awards For Excellence In Nursing And For The Advancement Of Nursing Programs Winners

RN: Shimeca Tillis, RN
San Antonio, Texas

RN (expanded role): Clinta Che Reed PhD, RN, CNL-BC
Little Rock, Arkansas

LPN: Juliet Aninye, LVN
Dallas, Texas

Healthcare Tech/Nursing Assistant: Judith Bourque-Olmstead, Advanced Telehealth Clinical Technician, HT
Leeds, Massachusetts

Director: Paul M. Russo MHSA, FACHE, RD
Bay Pines, Florida

Nurse Executive: Brenda Shaffer, DNP, RN-BC, NE-BC
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Previous Years Winners