Nursing Excellence Award Winners

Orlando Health nursing leaders value the contributions that our nurses make to improve the health and well-being of our patients, families, and community.  To recognize and reward excellence in nursing practice the Excellence in Nursing Award was developed with specific criteria that each recipient had to meet. Our exceptional nurses are described as trustworthy, compassionate, respectful, collaborator, innovator, knowledgeable, autonomous, an advocate, and finally men and women with the highest integrity. Read more about our 2015 Excellence in Nursing Award winners.

Amber Aiello


Amber is a proficient and competent nurse that leads by example. As a leader, she creates a safe environment for healing and does it with integrity and passion. Amber’s goal is remove barriers for her team to allow them to do the best job they possibly can while delivering care on the Critical Care Unit. The most impressive thing about Amber is the connection she creates with her patients and the team; she is truly an outstanding example of nursing excellence. 

Rose F. Bienaime


Rose believes it is important to take ownership of her nursing practice through accountability and leadership. Due to her participation and leadership in several quality initiatives, Rose and her colleagues have achieved more than 880 days without a patient under their care experiencing a catheter associated urinary tract infection. Passionate about nursing practice and committed to excellence in patient care, Rose incorporates the desires of patients and families into the plan of care and serves as a strong advocate for our patients. 

Lori Bigelow


Lori serves as the nursing practice council chair for her unit and has played an integral role in improving nursing care, particularly patient education and discharge resources. Described by her colleagues as dependable, compassionate, and a team player, her focus is always about learning from her patients and focusing on the little things that matter to them. Lori says, the essence of her practice is caring, perseverance, and being every mindful that her actions and the actions of her colleagues make a difference in the lives of her patients. 

Kelli Bungay


Kelli says, “most people know that nursing is hard work but not many people understand what nurses do”. Though caring, clinical judgment, exceptional knowledge and skills are important for nurses to have, Kelli believes the central theme of her nursing practice is educating patients and team members in a variety of ways. She is a preceptor and clinical lead for a busy medical office practice and lives and models her motto, which is to treat patients as a member of her family. 

Leska Cipolla


Leska has focused on the promotion of health, the prevention of illness and injuries, alleviating suffering and advocating for her patients and their families because she cares. She endeavors to support her young patients by getting down on their level and keeping her message age appropriate. Leska believes that her care is for the “whole” family. She’s constantly on the lookout for patient safety issues and feels it is important to be involved in committees and task forces aimed at improving patient safety. Caring is the center of her nursing.

Erica Cortner


The driving force for Erica’s core existence is to help her patients feel “safe”. When a child comes into her unit, she greets them with a smile and displays a friendly demeanor so her patients know it’s a safe place. She listens to the patient’s parents and puts their needs and concerns at the forefront of her decision making. Erica is keenly aware that for kids, having surgery is scary, but her desire is have every patient feel a ‘little better’ than when they arrived. 

Debra M. Davis


Deb believes effective leadership is building trusting, respectful, and transparent relationships. This is achieved by creating a culture of safety for patients and her nursing team. She believes as a leader there is not an “I” in team and success is not due to one person but is a product of the team. As a nursing leader Deb believes her role is to provide the vision of success, guide the team on the journey, and model behaviors that demonstrate the way.

Quang Duong


Quang demonstrated excellence as a young man and achieved Eagle Scout in 1998, this high level of performance has continued in his nursing career. He believes that providing excellent care at the most difficult stage in a person’s life is what nurses are called to do. Quang says, the best thing about working in the rehabilitation setting is seeing patients come back to visit as he is reminded that they couldn’t have made a full recovery without his assistance. This gives him great joy and fuels his passion to provide excellent patient care.

Kerry-Ann Farrow


Kerry-Ann’s passion for helping others started at a very young age. Through her leadership our hospital was able to establish several high functioning teams: Rapid Response Team, Bereavement Team and all three critical care areas received the Corporate Zero Award. The best practice of utilizing a bereavement team was recognized nationally. Kerri-Ann’s passion for caring, knowledge of nursing, and her motivation as a leader allows her to facilitate the growth of her team to impact the lives of patients.

Stephanie Ford


Stephanie’s passion is teaching. She is able to take content that is overwhelming or even intimidating, dissect it and make the content simple and easy to understand. She is able to consistently identify those who are struggling with the content and provides strong support to them. Stephanie is about learning and assisting her colleagues to feel confident in their knowledge of the content so that they can provide safe, quality care to our patients.

Cherilynn J. Greij


Cheri describes the essence of her nursing practice centers on being compassionate, forthright, and empathetic to her patients, ensuring their questions are answered regarding medications and treatments. She keeps her patients informed while waiting for procedures or other treatments. Her goal is to treat her patients as if she would want herself or family member to be treated. What touches Cheri’s whole being, is to know that she did indeed make someone feel cared for, safe and respected.

Dyan Herrera


Dyan, described by her colleagues as a highly engaged nurse, is able to combine her passion for caring and teaching. She says, “working in the outpatient setting allows for an extension of continuation of care” that supports, comforts, and builds a trusting relationship with the patient. Dyan believes the skill to teach and educate a patient, family member, or team member not only benefits them, but also allows her to grow as a person and a nurse.

Julie Herrman


Within the past four months, Julie was recently promoted to her current leadership role. However, during this short time her leadership style has contributed toward a sense of ownership by her team. This was evident by the team having zero falls for three months due to an innovative approach that utilized simulation education. Julie is known for addressing challenges, removing barriers, supporting, and encouraging team members. She leads by example, cares for patients and her team and recognizes hard work and dedication.

Rowena Howe


For close to five years, Rowena has been an important member of the Cardiac Progressive Care Unit. A diabetic resource nurse, she supports, encourages, and empowers the entire team. Committed to providing excellent patient care, Rowena takes ownership in all that she does and is concentrated on making patient care her top priority. She is dedicated to her team and seeks to continuously to improve the care that is provided to our patients.

Stacey Kuhn


Stacey is committed to life-long learning, demonstrates excellence in the delivery of care to patients, and is recognized as a role model among her colleagues. She uses effective problem-solving techniques and bases her decisions on the best evidence that will improve the patients’ quality of life. Stacey promotes exemplary patient experiences by being an advocate for patients and their families and collaborating with other members of the interprofessional team to achieve exceptional outcomes.  

Caitlin Lavrusky


Caitlin sees each of her patients as individuals and treats them as if they were a part of her own family. Her philosophy is “if you value and live the Orlando Health PROMISE standards, you cannot fail in the care you provide to your patients”. She is able to problem solve effectively during difficult situations and always keeps the patient’s best interest in mind. Caitlin is a leader of her unit’s nursing practice council and a team player who is always willing to lend a hand to her colleagues. 

Christine Leslie


As a Learning Specialist, Christine sees her role as supporting the growth of others and developing their skills in a thought provoking manner. Leading by example and utilizing evidence and effective communication skills to support standards of practice, she ensures that new team members are engaged and comfortable with skills that enable the needs to patients to be met. Dedicated to the development of new nursing talent, Christine is fulfilling her childhood dream of being a nurse.

Melissa Luman


Melissa describes the essence of her practice as a “matchmaker” because she is responsible for placing new orienting team members with current team members. She is a leader, a mentor, supporter of individuals and groups, a team player, an author, and a “voice” particularly when serving on committees and councils. A hard working professional, she performs in the role of teacher, learner, and organizer of educational events. A caregiver at heart, Melissa shares the happiest and saddest of times of both patients and team members. 

Tammy F. Martin


Tammy made the decision to go into the field of Oncology after she was asked to become a chemotherapy resource nurse. This gut wrenching decision changed her perspective, her life and outlook on cancer. Now, every day when she comes into work and meets a new patient facing a monster named ‘cancer’. She quickly tells them, ‘you are not alone, I will be there to help you, care for and support you no matter what it takes’. Tammy is a light in a time of darkness.

Erin McDonald


The essence of Erin’s nursing care is to provide holistic care while making her patients and families feel as comfortable as possible. She weaves compassion and effective communication techniques into every interaction, whether it is with patients, families, or her colleagues. Erin has participated in several performance improvement initiatives, is chair of her unit nursing practice council, and is a rapid response nurse who is respected with has built strong, trusting relationships with nurses throughout the hospital. 

Lisa McDowell


Lisa believes that education is vital for keeping informed about the changing healthcare environment. As part of the simulation team, she is known for her innovative approach to education. Her ability to challenge and support nurses in a safe realistic environment allows them to gain confidence, critically think, and ultimately improve the safety of the patient. Though Lisa works ‘behind the scenes’ with the simulators, she has impacted the satisfaction of our nurses and contributed to the positive outcomes of our patients.

Carriann Moye


Carriann is an exemplary clinical nurse that advocates for her patients and her team. A unit nursing practice council chair, she is known for her innovation, creativity, persistence, and dedication. “Nursing according to Carriann, has been and always will be about the people”. Respected by her team, Carriann treats each of her patients as individuals and collaborates with all members of the interprofessional team to ensure that they have the best outcomes.

Lisa Murray


Lisa finds unique ways to connect with her patients. One of her patients loved orchids and during a difficult day Lisa connected with her patient by describing stroke recovery to that of taking care of an orchid. Lisa said to the patient, “orchids require a lot of work, careful maintenance, but most of all patience is needed in order for them to bloom and flourish, recovery from a stroke involves the same kind of determination”. Demonstrating compassionate care to patients allows Lisa to make a difference in someone’s life, fulfilling her mission. 

Erin Norton


Erin believes the most important thing about her practice as a children’s emergency room nurse is keeping her patients safe and learning as much about them as possible. She asks questions, uses the resources around her, and treats her patients as if they were her friends for the purpose of helping them. She believes her day as a nurse isn’t about her and remembers that by making a child smile or a parent feel comforted, she is accomplishing her life’s mission.

Sara Oxley


Sara’s patience and professionalism, not to mention her enthusiasm for quality, have embodied what every emergency room strives to achieve. She is an amazing preceptor and has collaborated with various members of the inter-professional team to drive process improvement activities in the emergency room. Sara has a ‘natural’ ability to calm the waters, specifically with our psychiatric patients and can spur others to be the best they can be.  

Terry S. Page


Terry, very quickly established herself as a leader in our intensive care unit. Dedicated to improving patient care, she has shared her expertise by participating on several process improvement projects. Utilizing her clinical knowledge, calm demeanor, and respect for patients, she is truly a team player who always thinks of others first. Terry prides herself in coming to work every day for the purpose of owning her actions. She says, “being a nurse is who she is, being an intensive care nurse is what she loves”. 

Christina Powers


As a step down nurse in the Corporate Resource Team, Christina is recognized across the organization for both her clinical expertise and positive attitude. Her experience as a charge nurse, preceptor, clinical instructor, and now, float pool nurse, has proven an invaluable asset to the Orlando Health nursing team. Exemplifying her self-described “love for humankind” in her practice, Christina consistently treats others with respect, generosity, and kindness—traits that do not go unnoticed by her patients, families, and colleagues.

Christina Reinhold


With an unending love for cardiology, Christina has played a key role in improving the care of our heart failure patients. Specifically, she was instrumental in creating a process so patients could obtain their medications before being discharged, improved the activity of heart failure patients, and ensured accuracy of daily weight, intake and output monitoring. Everyone who comes in contact with Christina quickly realizes that she is about the “heart within the patient”, she can be seen laughing, crying, and joking with patients.  

Alison Ruiz


Alison is the Chair of the Critical Care Unit Nursing Practice Council and under her leadership the council has engaged new members by working on a number of projects such as quality audits and early feeding in critical care. She uses her knowledge and excellent clinical skills to care for patients in multi system organ failure to meet the needs of patients and their families. Alison says the essence of her practice is choosing caring, commitment, and respect for everyone and giving more than she expects in return. 

Awilda Santiago


Five years ago, Awilda “happened” to become a nurse when she gave her friend a ride to take the nursing school entrance exam, that day she also took the exam! Now as a nurse, she believes her number one priority is to care for patients; she is their advocate, confidant, their shoulder to cry on, and the person who is there to help them feel safe. As a charge nurse, Awilda’s colleagues know they can count on her, as she “leaves no nurse behind” and ensures all have been helped before leaving the unit. 

Sarah Walter


As an active member and the past chair of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Nursing Practice Council Sarah describes the essence of her nursing practice as “care”. She has worked diligently at involving care into all aspects of her career and it is a direct reflection of who she is as a nurse. Sarah expresses this caring to her patients and their families and also her colleagues. Her desire is to create a positive environment enriched with open communication and teamwork to constantly improve patient outcomes.

Lindsay Walters


Lindsey is passionate about being at the side of patients during moments of crisis – holding their hand and listening to them express their concerns and discomfort. She realizes that twelve hours of time she is working; consist of endless opportunities to forever impact the lives of patients and to bless their loved ones. Lindsay believes that to care for the “whole” patient, one must understand that each patient has a story and it is not defined by the one moment that they are in the hospital. She believes that a nurse must enter that story, tend to a patient’s heart, and respect their past in order to attend to their future.

Darleen A. Williams


The foundation of Darleen’s nursing practice is to help others, to save lives, and to make a positive difference in the lives of patients and families. She believes in touching the lives of patients by giving them excellent and compassionate care. A strong advocate for education and certification, Darleen believes that clinical expertise is enhanced by advancing one’s education and professional certification. Using the skills of problem-solving, collaboration, and critical thinking, Darleen engages, mentors, and develops other nurses to become “owners” of their nursing practice.