UTHSC College of Nursing’s 2019 NightinGala Honors Mid-South Nurses

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The 2019 NightinGala Saturday brought nurses and their supporters together to honor the nursing profession. Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris, left, attended and presented a proclamation saluting nurses to UTHSC College of Nursing Dean Wendy Likes. (Photos by Jay Adkins)

Nearly 250 nurses and supporters from across Memphis, Shelby County, and beyond attended the third-annual NightinGala Saturday hosted by the College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. The gala, held in conjunction with National Nurses Week (May 6-12), saluted the accomplishments of nurses and the impact the profession has on the community.

Ann Cashion, PhD, RN, FAAN, acting director and scientific director of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) at the National Institutes of Health, gave the keynote address. Dr. Cashion is a graduate of the PhD in Nursing program and a former department chair in the UTHSC College of Nursing.

UTHSC College of Nursing alumna Dr. Ann Cashion, acting director and scientific director of the National Institute of Nursing Research, gave the keynote address.

She addressed the importance of nursing research in improving patient care. “Nursing science gets at the heart of the health problems people face every day and helps find solutions, based on scientific evidence, to improve the practice of clinical nurses,” Dr. Cashion said. “Nursing science supports the efforts of millions of nurses across the country, who are the health care providers that probably have the most direct contact with patients and their families.”

Dr. Cashion has been at the NINR since 2011. She charged the nurses present to “continue using the power of our profession to build a healthier society for all.”

Wendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, ARNP-BC, FAANP, dean of the UTHSC College of Nursing, said the gathering of friends and colleagues was the perfect way to kick off National Nurses Week. Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris attended, bringing a proclamation honoring nurses and noting that nursing has been ranked as the most trustworthy profession in the country for the past 16 years.

“We were honored to have such a great turnout from our community to show appreciation and support of our nurses, who selflessly care for the well-being of others and make a difference in our lives,” the dean said.

The event included the inaugural presentation of four Nurse Hero Awards given to individuals who have shown outstanding achievement in various caregiving roles.

Award recipients were:

  • The 2019 NightinGala Bedside Nurse Hero: Cathy Russell, RN, St. Francis Hospital

“She has an exceptional bedside manner and is consistently recognized by family members for her positivity and patience,” her nominator said.  “She finds innovative ways to help patients and her fellow nurses in the day-to-day operations.”

  • The 2019 NightinGala Advanced Practice Nurse Hero: Artangela Henry, DNP, AGACNP-BC, FNP-C, Methodist Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center

According to her nomination, “She tirelessly researches and works with other experts in her field of practice for the best evidence-based outcomes for her patients, and she’s not afraid to try innovative ideas or ask for resources her patients need. She is a nurse, a teacher and a scientist. But most of all she is a champion for and to her patients.”

  • The 2019 NightinGala Nursing Team Heroes: The UTHSC Mobile Stroke Unit Nurse Practitioner Team: Anne Alexandrov, PhD, RN, CCRN, ANVP-BC, NVRN-BC, FAAN; Wendy Dusenbury, DNP, AGACNP-BC, FNP, ANVP-BC, NVRN-BC; Victoria Swatzell, DNP, ACNP, ANP, ANVP-BC, NVRN-BC; Natalie Hall, FNP, ANVP-BC; and Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Wise, FNP, ANVP-BC

Their nominator stated, “Territoriality has been replaced on board the unit by an esprit de corps that ensures patient needs come first and this camaraderie has resulted in the delivery of ultrafast treatment and exceptional outcomes.”

  • The 2019 NightinGala Executive Nurse Leader Hero: Robin Mutz, MPPM, BSN, RNC, NEA-BC, senior vice president and chief nurse executive, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

“She is a visionary who is transparent, open to change, embraces new and innovative ideas, and advocates at every chance to empower nursing, transform nursing leadership through organized succession planning, and creates an environment where the advancement of the profession is not just talk, it is a mission,” her nomination said.

Sandra Madubuonwu, MSN, CLC, APRN, MT-CDSMP, the director of Maternal-Child at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, received the Dr. John Runyon Award, celebrating a champion in the community who has promoted the efforts of nurses.

She is a Robert Wood Johnson Future of Nursing Scholar, oversees community and hospital-based prevention programs, and is known for her implementation of rigorous evidence-based home visitation and best practices programs. She serves as both a leader in the Methodist-Le Bonheur Healthcare System and in the Shelby County community.

Proceeds from the NightinGala support the efforts of the UTHSC College of Nursing’s Center for Community and Global Partnerships, which is designed to develop sustainable partnerships with clinical, research, and service institutions in the Mid-South to advance health care, foster innovative nursing strategies, reduce health disparities, and improve patient outcomes.

More than 200 attended the gala to honor the nursing profession, which has been ranked the most trustworthy profession in the country for the past 16 years.