National Magnet Nurse of the Year® 2015 award winners

Left to right: Dr. Michael L. Evans, President, ANCC; award winners June K. Amling, Christina M. Tussey, Cathy C. Cartwright, Toni M. Standley, and Michelle L. Witkop; Donna Havens, Chair, Commission on Magnet® Recognition; Linda C. Lewis, Chief ANCC Officer/Executive Vice President


The National Magnet Nurse of the Year® awards from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) recognize the outstanding contributions of clinical nurses from Magnet®-recognized organizations in each of the five Magnet Model components—transformational leadership; structural empowerment; exemplary professional practice; new knowledge, innovations and improvements; and empirical outcomes. The 2015 award winners were recognized at the ANCC National Magnet Conference® in Atlanta on October 8, 2015.

Transformational Leadership

Michelle L. Witkop, DNP, FNP-BC
Nurse Practitioner
Northern Regional Bleeding Disorders Center
Munson Medical Center
Traverse City, Michigan

An enthusiastic and relentless lifelong learner, Michelle transformed the way care is provided to patients with bleeding disorders by conducting groundbreaking research for better pain management in hemophilia patients. After completing her research with adult hemophilia participants in a tristate regional survey, she progressed to several national surveys. Published in the highly acclaimed World Journal of Hemophilia, the results also were presented nationally and internationally and have been cited by authors and presenters around the world. As the lead clinician in the only U.S. bleeding disorder center that’s medically managed by nurse practitioners, Michelle provides primary care and education to patients and their families on how best to live with hemophilia. Her leadership, passion, and commitment extend beyond clinic walls. She was awarded the National Hemophilia Foundation Nursing Excellence Fellowship to develop and send more than 60 pain-distraction kits with pain-management tools and resources to hemophilia treatment centers across the United States.

Structural Empowerment

Toni M. Standley, MS, RN, ANP-BC
Cardiovascular Nurse Practitioner, Cardiac Short-Stay Unit, Cardiac Early Detection Program, Healthy Heart Hero Program, Outpatient and Inpatient Congestive Heart Failure
Program, and Outpatient Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) Program Porter Adventist Hospital
Denver, Colorado

As a board-certified adult nurse practitioner, Toni demonstrates a passionate commitment to patient care, education, and community service. She brought forward evidence identifying at-risk populations and acted on her vision by developing Colorado’s first cardiac early detection program. Her ideas for unique cardiology interventions led to implementation of Colorado’s first outpatient TIA clinic and cardiac short-stay emergency department, where patient outcomes have outperformed national statistics. Toni has advanced professional nursing practice through development of inpatient and outpatient evidence-based protocols and related competencies. Her work resulted in Porter Adventist becoming the first Colorado hospital to achieve full triple certification in heart failure and atrial fibrillation and as a chest pain center. Her clinical expertise extends across hospital interprofessional committees, community education and outreach groups, and professional organizations. The models of care Toni developed have become templates for service enhancement throughout Colorado and the United States.

Exemplary Professional Practice

Cathy C. Cartwright, MSN, RN-BC, PCNS
Neurosurgery Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist
Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics
Kansas City, Missouri


As a clinical nurse specialist in neurosurgery for nearly 20 years, Cathy has made significant contributions to clinical practice through her involvement in research and education. She is coeditor of the internationally known textbook Nursing Care of the Pediatric Neurosurgery Patient. This textbook serves as a comprehensive reference for nurses and other healthcare professionals in the care of children with neurologic symptoms. With a keen eye for identifying educational opportunities, Cathy developed a mock herniation tool used to help healthcare providers learn to respond in emergency brain herniation events. The Journal of Neuroscience Nursing published an article about the tool, and the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses recognized Cathy with the Christina Stewart-Amidei Writing Excellence Award. Information about her clinical expertise, research, and innovative approaches to care has been published in numerous professional publications and presented at national and international conferences. Cathy advocates for child safety by providing education to the community, emphasizing safety in sports and prevention of concussions and head injuries.

New Knowledge, Innovations & Improvements

Christina M. Tussey, MSN, CNS, RNC-OB, RNC-MNN
Women and Infant Services Clinical Nurse Specialist
Banner University Medical Center Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona

Christina’s contribution to new knowledge is exemplified by her nurse-led randomized controlled trial that examined use of a birthing ball with a novel shape to accelerate labor. Study findings demonstrated that labor is enhanced by positioning the fetus optimally to increase pelvic diameter and allow more room for fetal descent. Women using this ball had shorter first and second stages of labor. Her nursing research was published in the Journal of Perinatal Education, presented at conferences, and broadcast on national and international news networks. Christina is a key member of Banner’s Placenta Accreta Program, the first of its kind in Arizona to address this potentially life-threatening condition of pregnancy. Christina also conducted an evidence-based project implementing pulse oximetry screening for congenital heart disease in all newborns more than 34 weeks old. Her team advocated for legislation to make this screening mandatory in all Arizona hospitals; as a result, Arizona House Bill 2491 was signed into law in 2014.

Empirical Outcomes

June K. Amling, MSN, RN, CNS, CWON, CCRN
Advanced Practice Nurse, Wound Team
Children’s National Health System
Washington, D.C.

As a clinical nurse specialist and certified wound ostomy nurse, June transformed wound care delivery by establishing Children’s National Health System’s first multidisciplinary team aimed at pressure ulcer reduction. She led the team’s participation in the Child Health Corporation of America’s Pediatric Pressure Ulcer Collaborative, demonstrating outstanding sustainable improvement. Today, she leads the team’s 40+ direct-care nurses in monthly formal education, assessment training using inter-rater reliability, house-wide prevalence studies, and product evaluations. To meet the evolving wound-care needs of patients across multiple services, June established the Wound Clinic at Children’s National, where advanced practice nurses provide continuity of care for hundreds of patients annually. She serves as a role model for collaborative relationships throughout her organization, the region, and the nation. Her ongoing collaborative translational research is developing a groundbreaking real-time 3-D wound assessment tool. As a nationally recognized pediatric wound care expert, June contributes to evidence-based pediatric guidelines through the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel and the Society for Advanced Wound Care.

Christina L. Dobson is director of special projects and program support for the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Note: The 2016 ANCC National Magnet Conference® will be held in Orlando, Florida
on October 5-7. Visit http://magnetcon.org/ for more information.

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