Keziah Proctor, 301.628.5197
Shannon McClendon, 301.628.5391
SILVER SPRING, MD—The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) today announced the recipients of the 2022 Pathway Nurse of the Year Award™. The winners were presented at the 2022 co-located ANCC National Magnet Conference® and the ANCC Pathway to Excellence Conference® in Philadelphia.
The awards recognize the outstanding contributions of one nurse leader and one direct care nurse from all Pathway to Excellence®-designated organizations around the world. Winners have made a positive impact on their practice environment and demonstrated remarkable skills while working collaboratively with team members. They have also successfully found ways to integrate clinical expertise with compassionate patient interactions. ANCC is sincerely grateful to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) for sponsoring the Pathway Nurse of the Year Award, Direct Care Nurse and to WellSpan for sponsoring the Pathway Nurse of the Year Award, Nurse Leader:
Pathway Nurse of the Year, Nurse Leader: LaTarya Gulley, ACCNS-N, MSN, RN, Lieutenant Commander (LCDR), Nurse Corps, United States Navy, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP), Portsmouth, VA
LCDR LaTarya Gulley is an outstanding and versatile nurse leader, whose humility, teamwork, and commitment to excellence command the utmost respect from her colleagues. Educated as a neonatal clinical nurse specialist, LCDR Gulley supports NMCP’s high-volume, high-acuity neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), providing education and supplemental staffing. At the same time, she voluntarily stepped outside her area of clinical expertise to lead the medical center’s 32-bed inpatient mental health unit—one of the busiest in the country.
LCDR Gulley is a passionate advocate for enhancing nurses’ clinical proficiency and professional development. She directs NMCP’s Nurse Residency Program, the Navy’s largest training center for new Nurse Corps (NC) officers. Under her leadership, the program recently earned re-accreditation from ANCC’s Practice Transition Accreditation Program®. She also co-chairs the Navy NC Development Board, which provides targeted career guidance to NMCP’s 355 NC officers.
As a neonatal care subject matter expert, LCDR Gulley worked with NMCP staff to design, implement, and conduct an evidence-based practice project focused on standardizing positioning devices for patients to improve outcomes. This evidence-based program was awarded a $10K grant from the Tri-Service Nursing Research Program. In addition, she led efforts to establish neonatal safety and quality standards at the newly created Maternal Infant Care Center at the Branch Health Clinic in Iwakuni, Japan. Her duties included training nursing and ancillary staff in basic resuscitation, stabilization, and transportation, and coordinating care for vulnerable infants at the nearest NICU 600 miles away.
LCDR Gulley was nominated for the Pathway Nurse of the Year Award by U.S. Navy Commander Melissa Troncoso, PhD, NP-C, CHWC, and endorsed by Laura McMullen, RN, MSN-Ed, MHA, SANE-A, Chief Nursing Officer & Director, Nursing Services, at NMCP.
“LaTarya is an exceptional nurse leader who embodies the spirit of the Pathway to Excellence Program,” Troncoso said. “She inspires her staff to consistently deliver safe, high-quality care and manage their well-being. Because of her commitment to nurses’ professional development, the Navy retains a diverse and talented nursing workforce.”
Pathway Nurse of the Year, Direct Care Nurse: Marika Widmann, BSN, RN, MS-BC, South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS), Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital Division, San Antonio, TX
Marika Widmann is a talented direct care nurse who embodies a passion for shared governance, quality improvement, and staff well-being through her patient advocacy for women and LGBTQ+ veterans. Widmann works on the medical-surgical unit at Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital and is actively involved with multiple hospital committees.
As a member of the Women Veterans Health Committee, she took action to address knowledge deficits and improve care for the LGBTQ+ veteran community. She collaborated with the LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator to craft an anonymous assessment of the nursing staff’s knowledge around the provision of unbiased, culturally competent care. After gathering questions from nursing staff, she held an in-service to improve staff knowledge and ensure the unit promotes an environment of well-being and inclusivity.
Her advocacy does not stop with patients. As chair of the Health and Wellness Committee, she implemented unit wellness challenges to reduce work-related stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Her commitment to nurse well-being is reflected in the creative ways she engages her peers to refocus on self-care. These efforts have helped recharge and reenergize team members to meet their own needs, which in turn helps them provide exceptional care and support to their patients.
Widmann was nominated by Angel Louder, MSN, RN-CMSRN, Nurse Manager, and endorsed by Valerie Rodriguez-Yu, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CENP, Associate Director for Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive at STVHCS.
“Marika epitomizes the Pathway Standards of Shared Decision-Making, Professional Development, and Well-being,” Louder said. “Her efforts keep staff engaged and excited to provide the highest quality of care – physically, psychologically, and socially – to each patient.”
About the American Nurses Credentialing Center
The mission of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association, is to promote excellence in nursing and health care globally through credentialing programs. ANCC's internationally renowned credentialing programs certify and recognize individual nurses in specialty practice areas. ANCC recognizes health care organizations that promote nursing excellence and quality patient outcomes while providing safe, positive work environments. In addition, ANCC accredits health care organizations that provide and approve continuing nursing education and accredits transition-to-practice programs that prepare nurses for new practice roles. For more information about ANCC, visit us at nursingworld.org/ANCC and follow us on Twitter. ANCC is the only nurse credentialing organization to successfully achieve ISO 9001: 2015 certification.
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.