Illinois Celebrates Emerging Nurse Leaders

Author: Rhys A. Gibson, BSN, RN, Chairperson

In April of this year a team was assembled to successfully launch the inaugural 40 under 40 event celebrating emerging nurse leaders in Illinois. The committee was convened by the IL Healthcare Action Coalition, a leadership development project supported by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation SIP grant.  Team members included Dan Fraczkowski, MSN, RN, of MacNeal/Tenet, Shannon Halloway, PhD(c ), RN, of RUMC and Franciscan St. Francis, Stephanie Mendoza, MSN, RN,  of Norwegian American Hospital, Jennifer Grenier, MSN, RN-BC,  of Rush Oak Park Hospital, and Rhys A. Gibson, BSN, RN, project Chair, of MacNeal/Tenet and UIC’s College of Nursing/Alumni Board.  The team met by conference call and email, and many met face-to-face for the first time at the recognition ceremony on September 17.

The 40-under-40 team hit the ground running and in a 6 month period of time created all aspects of the award from the application criteria and instructions to staging of the recognition ceremony on September 17 at Rush University.  The distribution of the on-line application was supported by all Illinois professional nurse associations, which resulted in approximately 100 nominations.  The team designed the award to recognize all levels of IL licensed nurses, LPNs, RNs and APNs under the age of 40 years.  Nominations were received from patients, friends, family, coworkers, employers, students, etc.  Award recognition recipients reflected leadership success, exemplary leadership qualities, participation in professional associations and community service.

Rush University Medical Center proved to be the perfect venue to host the event. Dr. Marquis Foreman echoed what many of us thought before in wondering…” how did we manage to not consider doing this before?” The accomplishments of each award recognition recipient can be readily viewed at the IL Nurses Foundation website Recipients were greatly pleased to be celebrated by members of their own cohort as well as Illinois nursing leaders.  The planning team was able to meet all fiscal needs while staying within budget.

L-R: L.B. Roberts, R. A. Gibson, S. Mendoza, S. Halloway, S. Swart, J. Grenier, Gonzalez, D. Franczkowski

The committee was truly moved to have the honor of acknowledging fellow nurses who are known change agents that help shape policy state wide and beyond. Their efforts have served to expand and grow nursing practice as well as to empower our communities. We’re all looking forward to acknowledging the next cohort of nurse leaders in the years to come.  Next year this recognition event will be sponsored by the IL Nurses Foundation

Advisory committee consultants : Susana Gonzalez, MSN, RN, CNML, Director of Perinatal Services at MacNeal/Tenet, Linda B. Roberts, MSN, RN, Manager at Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation/Illinois Center for Nursing, and Susan Swart, MS, RN, CAE, Executive Director ANA-Illinois and Illinois Nurses Foundation (INF).

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