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ANCC Announces Inaugural 2020 Pathway Nurse of the Year Award Winners

Zachary Levine, 301-628-5071

Keziah Proctor, 301-628-5197

SILVER SPRING, MD—The American Nurses Credentialing Center is proud to announce the recipients of the inaugural Pathway Nurse of the Year™ Award.

The award recognizes the outstanding contributions of one direct care nurse and one nurse leader from all Pathway to Excellence™ designated organizations around the world. The selected winners have positively impacted their practice environment and demonstrated remarkable skills while working collaboratively with team members and integrating clinical expertise with compassionate patient interactions.

Pathway Nurse of the Year, Nurse Leader. Julie Powers MSN, RN, NE-BC, director Adult Health, Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill
Powers was nominated by Pathway Program Director Sami Abate PhD(c), MSHS, MSN, RN, CCRN and endorsed by her Chief Nursing Officer Terri Spoltore DNP, MSN, RN, CCRN of Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill in Mullica Hill, New Jersey. A highly engaged and transformational leader, Powers was recognized for her contributions to leadership and shared decision-making. The Pathway standards of shared decision-making, leadership, safety, and quality were represented as “Living Pathway”.  When her hospital merged with a larger health system in 2012, she led the integration of her inpatient units into the three-hospital system. This included reviewing and updating more than 75 critical care policies. Late last year, she oversaw the move of her units and services into a brand new hospital that opened in December.

Powers is widely respected and recognized as an advocate who prioritizes a healthy work environment where frontline nurses are empowered to practice to the fullest extent of their license; foster collaborative relationships with the interprofessional team; and understand they have the full support of their senior nursing leaders. Under her leadership, the ICU and adult care units have earned national recognition from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) and Nurses Improving the Care of Health System Elders (NICHE) respectively. In addition to her transformational leadership style and organizational-level accomplishments, Powers remains an accessible and engaged leader whose focus on patient care quality and safety has resulted in decreased falls, lowered infection rates, and improved patient satisfaction scores.

“Julie’s exceptional leadership abilities were evident from my first interaction with her,” said Spoltore.  “Her passion for excellence in nursing practice is second only to her dedication to her patients and staff. We are so proud, especially during this challenging time, to have Julie’s accomplishments recognized at such a high level.” 

Pathway Nurse of the Year, Direct Care Nurse. Donia Till MSN, RN, CNL, CGRN, VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System
A clinical nurse leader at VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System in North Las Vegas, Nevada, Till was nominated by her Pathway Program Director, Gregory Clark MS, RN, CNOR, and endorsed by her Chief Nursing Officer, Jennifer Strawn DNP, RN, NE-BC. One of the first nurses from VA Southern Nevada to attend a Pathway to Excellence (PTE) Conference®, Donia was a driving force behind her organization’s pursuit of a Pathway designation. Her enthusiasm for and dedication to adopting and living the Pathway standards were essential to achieving VA Southern Nevada’s designation. As a result, current and future nurses at VA Southern will benefit from an organizational culture of sustained excellence, as well as a positive practice environment that supports, empowers, and engages staff. Till was recognized for her exemplary contributions and commitment to shared decision-making and the organization’s shared governance structure. Pathway standards represented as “Living Pathway” include shared decision-making, leadership, and professional development.

“Donia is an outstanding individual who is well-rounded and liked by everybody,” Strawn said. “She’s energetic, knowledgeable, and will help anyone at any time. Donia put together a cadre of nurses who went from unit to unit telling staff what Pathway to Excellence is and why it is good for our organization. Those efforts played a critical role in our designation as it ensured our nursing staff knew what PTE was and supported our pursuit of this accreditation. Donia continues to be a key leader locally in the battle against COVID-19 as she has directly managed organizing, training, and equipping more than 120 employees to screen all visitors to our facilities.”


About the Pathway to Excellence® Program: The Pathway to Excellence® Program recognizes health care and long term care organizations for positive practice environments where nurses excel. To qualify, organizations meet Pathway Standards essential to an ideal nursing practice environment. Nurses trust that Pathway-designated organizations respect their contributions, support professional development, and nurture optimal work settings.

About ANCC: The mission of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association, is to lead the profession to shape the future of nursing and health care 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. In addition, ANCC accredits healthcare organizations that provide and approve continuing nursing education and accredits transition to practice programs and prepares nurses for new practice roles. For more information about ANCC, visit us at and follow us on Twitter. ANCC is the only nurse credentialing organization to successfully achieve ISO 9001: 2015 certification.

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