Distinguished Membership Award

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Recognizing outstanding leadership and participation in and contributions to the purposes of the American Nurses Association.

Distinguished Membership Award


Established in 1967 by the Board of Directors of the ANA, this award is presented to an SNA member or members in recognition of outstanding leadership and participation in and contributions to the purposes of the ANA.

2012 Recipient

Debbie Dawson Hatmaker, PhD, RN-BC, SANE-ADebbie Dawson Hatmaker, PhD, RN-BC, SANE-A
Georgia Nurses Association

A talented and visionary leader, Debbie Dawson Hatmaker has served in distinguished association leadership roles where she has successfully pioneered innovative approaches, built partnerships, and led beneficial organizational and process changes. She is a model of professionalism, poise, and integrity, and an ideal for others to emulate.

Throughout her illustrious service to the American Nurses Association (ANA), she has become recognized as an expert in governance, competency, credentialing, education, health policy, and program management.

Hatmaker was president of the Center for American Nurses from 2004-06, where she worked collaboratively with ANA to strengthen the ties between the two organizations. She led the Center to build a foundation of products and services as the new organization began to establish itself.

While first vice president of ANA from 2006-2010, Hatmaker was a supportive and outspoken board officer during a time of organizational transition and mission realignment. Her leadership skills and organizational loyalty were noted assets when the ANA board appointed her to lead the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) in 2007.

During her two terms as ANCC president, Hatmaker led the strategic planning and governance of the credentialing organization to achieve exceptional revenue growth. She transitioned the governance from an association-style model to a business model, requiring in-depth work with a large number of stakeholder groups, customers, and staff. Importantly, she guided an improved relationship between parent-subsidiary organizations resulting in better collaboration among programs and between the two staffs. During her ANCC presidential term, Hatmaker led the board of directors to develop an international business plan, which is now a major area for growth for the organization.

Hatmaker began her association leadership career with the Georgia Nurses Association (GNA) as president from 1999-2002 and currently is GNA’s chief programs officer.
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