Excellence in Nursing Award

The Excellence in Nursing Award is open to all licensed nurses and given annually to honor our outstanding Orlando Health nurses. Nurse colleagues, nursing leaders, physicians, and allied health professionals nominate nurses who demonstrate exemplary practice that is focused on safe, quality care, process improvements, and whose knowledge and competencies match the needs of patients. We describe this exceptional group as trustworthy, compassionate, respectful, knowledgeable, autonomous, advocators, collaborators, innovators, and finally men and women with the highest integrity. The 2017 Excellence in Nursing Award winners are: 

William Aikman


Bill is a true leader who demonstrates exemplary practice by being able to perform superbly a multitude of roles. He functions in the roles of: charge nurse, Unit Nursing Practice Council member, rapid response team member, core track super-user, mentor, preceptor, and he is frequently engaged in our peer interviewing process. Bill’s ability to mentor not only new team members, but our surgical residents, sets him apart. His demeanor and wit make him approachable and he is one the nurses that our team goes to for ideas and guidance. We think of him as the “MacGyver” of the ICU! 

Timothy Anderson


As a learning specialist, Tim consistently exceeds our expectations by utilizing adult learning techniques, team work, and superior communication skills to engage both patients and team members. In 2016, Tim was instrumental in the development of the Infection Prevention learning station used in the annual clinical review for our nurses. This learning station assisted with the adoption of new knowledge related to the prevention of infections. Through innovative learning activities, we have sustained improved patient outcomes. Though his focus is on learning activities for team members, Tim was recently recognized by a patient for his guidance to a best practice that met her needs.  

Julie Armatti


Julie delivers excellent, compassionate nursing care with an emphasis on patient safety. Her interpersonal skills are superb and she has received numerous accolades from patients and families. Well respected for her knowledge, advocacy for her patients, Julie has earned the trust of physicians through her ability to identify early changes in her patient’s condition. She is focused on reducing falls on the progressive care unit by making sure all preventative measures are in place not only on her patients, but any patient on the unit. In addition, she takes the initiative to educate other members of the care team as well, to ensure quality outcomes. 

Deremple Burrell


We have heard that working in the medical field requires "a deft touch and a big heart", those words are the epitome of Deremple. She is inspiring, has a profound effect on the lives of patients and colleagues, and has made nursing care seem effortless. Even with years of experience and a wealth of knowledge, she continues to embrace learning like a sponge. Whenever people talk about excellent nurses, I always think of one, Deremple Burrell, she has touched many lives with her ‘big heart’. We believe she is the kind of nurse Florence Nightingale herself would want to burn the midnight oil with.

Carol Cagle


Carol is an amazing and knowledgeable nurse. She embodies the characteristics of compassion and caring, takes ownership, is mindful of the needs of her patients, and seeks to provide excellent patient care. She serves in a Rapid Response role and is known by her nursing and physician colleagues as a leader on the unit. Countless times, we say, “you can rest easy when Carol is caring for our sickest patient”. Carol was instrumental in the redesign of orientation for our new nurses. This redesign, created a more streamlined yet effective process that led to a stronger clinical foundation for our new nurses. 

Karla Dawkins


From the moment Karla joined our team, we recognized that she had a genuine concern for others. Her leadership vision inspires us to excel in our commitment to our nursing practice. Karla taught us that when we care for the needs of our patients, we are making a difference, one patient at a time. She is an advocate for patients and during her daily leadership rounds; she asks what she can do for the nursing team to help meet the needs of our patients. She has transformed our units by focusing on matters of organizational effectiveness, development, and improved processes. We love Karla!

Louise Feeley


Louise was one of the first nurses in our department to obtain her certification in Emergency Nursing, and since that time, she has maintained this certification. She is passionate about addressing nursing practice issues that are burdensome, inefficient or do not contribute to optimal patient outcomes. Louise is a self-directed individual who is able to communicate effectively and meet the most demanding challenges. She fosters a nurturing environment, promotes safety in the workplace, and behaves with extreme professionalism. Louise is the ‘front door’ to our Emergency Department and because of her genuine compassion and understanding for patients, our patient experience scores have improved.  

Jamie Fletcher


Jaime is a proactive, empathetic nurse who is able to utilize her expert knowledge to advocate for patients in an efficient and professional manner. She goes above and beyond to coordinate care to meet the needs of patients. Jaime effectively listens to patients, spends quality time with patients, and enhances nursing care to patients who are in need by providing necessary resources. As a charge nurse, Jaime coordinates the placement of patients while also supporting and addressing patient and family issues, along with the needs of team members. A highly skilled, proficient nurse, Jaime is a great asset to our hospital. 

Teena Foscolos


Teena is imaginative, innovative, a self-starter, and a tireless worker who makes everything exciting to learn. During our learning activities, she emphasizes that we are to provide the highest level of care to our patients and never compromise on quality. Teena is right there at the bedside if we have a question about a medication, dressing change, or how to best treat a wound. She collaborates, consults, and networks with colleagues within the Learning Specialist team, unit leadership, hospital leaders, other disciplines and departments. Her leadership, expert knowledge, family centered approach has shaped and impacted numerous nurses, patients and families. Teena is extraordinary!

Grace George


Albert Schweitzer says, “example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing”. Grace leads by example in compassionate care given to patients and families while in our intensive care unit. We have identified that Grace is able to pay attention to the issues of the moment with a loving attitude. Due to the severely ill patients that are taken care of in our unit, sadness is expected. During one situation, Grace demonstrated immense empathy, unwavering caring and compassion to a family by meeting their spiritual needs. Our patients and families are in superb hands when Grace is their advocate. 

Alyse Gonzalez


Alyse creates an atmosphere that allows her nursing colleagues to reach the common goal, which is, identifying, ‘what is best for the patient’. She is a preceptor, mentor, charge nurse, and the past chair of the Unit and the Hospital Nursing Practice Councils. Alyse has a passion for continuous improvement in quality care and as a result, she was a poster presenter at a local conference. She successfully collaborated with colleagues at hospital and corporate levels to achieve practice goals. She is a valued asset to our hospital and we know that she will continue to excel in her practice.  

Amy Harvick


Amy, an advanced practice nurse, has been instrumental in establishing ongoing Neonatal Resuscitation and Newborn Stabilization classes for registered nurses and the respiratory therapists at our hospital. She also advocated for the new Neonatal Simulator to assist with resuscitation training. When Amy identified a need for education to expectant families in our community, she willing shared her teaching abilities through monthly Childbirth, Breastfeeding, and Newborn Care classes targeting members of our community. Due to Amy’s efforts, our hospital became Lake County’s only Breast Milk Donor Depot through the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida. She truly is passionate about the youngest of the hospital’s patients.

Maggie Jo Hauck


On our unit, Maggie Jo is a true leader. She serves as charge nurse, preceptor, and is the current nursing practice council chair. Through her role on the practice council, she contributed to the development of an intravenous bundle to prevent intravenous infiltrates on the unit. Also, Maggie Jo obtained sponsorship funds to attend a statewide conference to gain additional knowledge on the topic of discharge teaching through cultural and language support. On numerous occasions during leadership rounds, Maggie Jo’s name is often mentioned by families and again on patient satisfaction surveys as being a wonderful, caring and compassionate pediatric nurse. 

Joseph Lavallee II


Joey acts with integrity, is reliable, compassionate, and nurses trust and respect him. He is a resource for orthopedic injuries by educating his colleagues, patients, and families. Also, Joey provided an education session to our Unit Nursing Practice Counsel on the proper use of traction and the appropriate nursing care for patients with orthopedic injuries. On numerous occasions, our emergency department colleagues have recognized Joey for his knowledge of wound care and chest drains. Recently, a patient with a challenging wound came into emergency department, Joey was called to assist; due to Joey’s expert knowledge of vacuum assisted therapy, the patient was spared a hospital admission. 

Kerri-Anne Lawyer


Kerri is the nurse you would want to care for your family member and because of her expert knowledge and skills has served as a preceptor to nearly 65% of the current nurses on our unit. She is extremely passionate about sharing her knowledge with nurses and modeling our philosophy of compassion, building trusting relationships, and being a patient advocate while also maintaining a certain level of respect, integrity, and professionalism. A known collaborator, she engages physicians and her colleagues to promote improvements that drive quality outcomes. Kerri inspires and influences us to make a positive difference in the lives of our patients.  

Aileen Lopez


Aileen demonstrates outstanding nursing knowledge and goes the extra mile to help anyone. She is dedicated to the nursing profession, always has a pleasant and positive attitude no matter the situation. We have witnessed new moms who were frustrated with breast-feeding and ready to give up gain confidence after Aileen's nursing interventions. She takes as much time as the patient needs, even if it means she has to skip lunch or go to lunch late. Aileen is frequently the charge nurse, a preceptor to new nurses, and is one of the kindest nurses on our team; it is an honor to work with her. 

Janet Martin


Janet is one of those nurses who every nurse on the unit can come to whenever they need a colleague with experience, knowledge, know how or someone who just knows how to get the job done. Janet is what we call ‘old-school’, she is well respected and teaches us how to be a nurse, a friend, and a leader. She has very special relationships with our physicians as she has been employed at our hospital for 30 plus years. A true patient advocate, Janet takes the time to help ANYONE she encounters; she exemplifies what it is to be a nurse. 

Taylor Mason


Taylor is the definition of an exceptional nurse. Even with her contributions to excellent patient care, she continues to strive for and achieve great personal and professional growth. Within the past five years, Taylor earned her national specialty certification in neonatal intensive care nursing, secured a position on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit transport team, served as vice-chair and chair of the unit nursing practice council, and is now the vice-chair for the hospital nursing practice council. A presenter at various nursing conferences, a preceptor to students and new nurses, and an advocate for her patients, Taylor is a role model for all nurses.

Elaine McFarland


Elaine is highly respected by leaders, physicians, team members, and patients. Even though she has only been with us a short time, Elaine has received numerous compliments from patients for her outstanding patient care. She is knowledgeable, flexible, and willing to accommodate her schedule to meet the demands of the unit. Elaine is a mentor and preceptor to new nurses; she provides support and guidance through their lengthy orientation period. Due to her supportive care of new nurses during their transition into practice, her colleagues recognized her for her ability to build a trusting and caring environment where superior learning occurs.

Antoinette Oliva Mojica


The licensed practical nurse is a relatively new role on our unit. To assist with facilitating optimal patient care, during the implementation phase, Annie worked alongside the leadership team to provide valuable feedback about the role and responsibilities of the licensed practical nurse. On a busy medical unit, Annie’s strength is her ability to stay calm, when everything around her is not. Her patients describe her as gentle, kind hearted, and very hard working. She is a team player and can always be found assisting her colleagues. No task is too big for Annie. We wish we had 100 more nurses just like Annie. 

Denise Otero


Denise treats all of her pediatric patients as if they are her own children. As her coworker, when I see that we are assigned together, I look forward to working with her because I know that we will all have an excellent day. Approximately, two years ago, we were both involved in a stressful patient incident in the operating room. That situation resulted in changing both of our professional nursing practices for the better. Denise is a dedicated, compassionate, knowledgeable, extraordinary operating room nurse who provides the very best care to her patients. It is an honor to work alongside her.

Keisha Pappas


In our work environment, Keisha has always been a teaching presence. Her years in nursing both on the surgical and ortho-spine units have garnered proficiency with patient care. Due to her expert knowledge, diligent work, and leadership, our unit attained joint certification for the orthopedic program. When a new nurse was “overwhelmed, confused, and terrified with the amount of machinery and orders the patient with an orthopedic diagnosis had”, Keisha’s experience and support helped the new nurse understand the big picture. Keisha is the nurse that is trusted for knowledge of orthopedics, medications, and overall support, she cares about what she does. 

Mien Pham


Each day Mien comes to work, she administers the highest quality of care and maintains the safety of her patients. Her performance is characterized by notable skill, effective communication, and proficient job knowledge in her specific area of expertise. She interacts with all team members in a professional manner and regularly participates in unit nursing practice council meetings to help colleagues solve problems and overcome obstacles. Mien builds and maintains positive working relationships with her colleagues, is a role model for teamwork by contributing more than expected. She is dependable, an advocate to all patients, an awesome nurse, and an asset to our unit.

Amy Price


Amy’s nursing journey has just started, yet she exemplifies the attributes of clinical excellence and caring practice. In the role of the Unit Nursing Practice Council chair, she partnered with our physician colleagues to implement education to enhance nurse-physician collaboration. Also, Amy was instrumental in developing multiple quality improvement projects including early mobility, falls, length of stay, and nursing/patient communication; these projects led to improved quality outcomes. In 2016, Amy was recognized by a physician for locating a patient’s healthcare surrogate who was out of the country; this demonstration of compassion and advocacy ensured the patient’s end-of-life wishes were respected.

Adam Procunier


Adam’s exemplary practice embodies trust, collaboration, respect, innovation, and caring. He integrates evidence into his practice, is a preceptor, a charge nurse, a mentor with the Ortho Novice Nurse Mentorship program, and has a passion for leadership. As the Unit Nursing Practice Council chair, he was instrumental in establishing a quality improvement project for length of stay. Through this project, a badge card for nurses was developed to ensure the ongoing needs of patients are met. Using his expert knowledge of orthopedics, he facilitated the creation of a 78-page Orthopedic Essentials resource book that is used to enhance the knowledge of new nurses. 

Jacqueline Quarles


An energetic and motivating leader, Jackie uses her years of leadership experience and clinical judgment to solve issues for patients and team members. A resourceful and collaborative leader, a mentor to other supervisors, she is described as fair and consistent in every situation. We frequently call Jackie, the “patient whisperer” because she is a great listener, can get to the root of any problem, and find a compromise or a solution to most any problem. An exceptional and compassionate clinician, Jackie is very engaging with any group she is involved with and ensures that quality and safety is held to the highest standard.  

Leslye Roy


Leslye is an advanced practice nurse who exemplifies excellence in nursing. She demonstrates a genuine desire to provide each of her patients with the best possible outcomes and quality of care. We have witnessed the countless hours that she spends with our patients and families as she assists in the delivery of difficult, often life-altering news. She excels at supporting and encouraging all patients, ensuring that they understand what to expect with the various treatment options. Our patients love Leslye and look forward to her visits because she is empathetic and takes time to listen to their concerns and celebrate their triumphs. 

Ryan Sager


Ryan is an exceptional nurse who exemplifies the greatest of the nursing traditions and it is always a pleasure to work with him. He is funny and energetic, constantly willing to help his colleagues especially when things get busy; he has a knack for seeing that we need help, we don’t even have to ask for his assistance. Ryan is extremely patient focused, administers thoughtful patient care, and advocates for his patients at every turn. He utilizes superb communication skills to ensure the needs of his patients are met in a timely manner. Ryan is definitely an asset to the organization. 

Amanda Stein


Amanda began her nursing career as a Nurse Tech. In that role, her talents were immediately recognized, as she demonstrated a positive attitude, was highly engaged, and very resourceful. Always striving for excellence, Amanda completed her nursing degree, transitioned into a charge nurse role and has an enormous ability to provide quality care to complex patients. She is the current unit nursing practice council chair for her Critical Care Unit and through her leadership, several new performance improvement projects were implemented to maintain the outstanding quality outcomes on her unit. The present goal is to obtain their fourth consecutive “Corporate Zero” award. 

Lisamarie Tai


Lisamarie is a trust worthy professional who treats patients and her colleagues as if they are her own family. She displays a passion for helping individuals succeed and exemplifies this every day. Her caring and compassionate demeanor provides a welcoming environment to everyone she meets. Endless hours have been spent coaching and mentoring her team to achieve excellence, as a result, their outcomes demonstrate the achievement of top 10% in patient experience. According to Lisamarie, collaborative partnerships made with other members of the healthcare team are essential to the improvement of patient outcomes. Lisamarie is an invaluable asset to our nursing profession.

Robin Vallebuona


Robin’s passion for quality, patient safety, and supporting team members in their educational journey is evident in her daily practice. Caring for her colleagues and striving for clinical excellence are the hallmarks of her beliefs. Using her creative and innovative abilities, she was instrumental in the development of our mentorship program, as well as the incorporation of simulation in annual skills evaluations. In addition to facilitating the mentorship program, Robin is a mentor herself and dedicates many hours assisting her colleagues to enhance their practice. Through her vast appetite for ongoing learning, Robin continues to excel in her role as a clinical educator. 

Kristina Watterson


Kristina is a hardworking, devoted nurse who provides high quality, expert care to her patients and their families. She develops relationships with her patients, so much so that they request her as their nurse when they return to the hospital. She serves as charge nurse, mentor, and preceptor, is the immediate past chair of the unit nursing practice council (UNPC), and the present chair of the hospital nursing practice council. As chair of the UNPC, Kristina led a quality improvement project to decrease intravenous infiltrates on our unit. Through her leadership, an intravenous bundle was developed, which is now in use on our unit.  

Lisa White


Lisa is the poster perfect example of positive attitude and is a true leader. She is always thinking and saying "how can we do this the right way and the best way for our patients". HOWEVER, even with that attitude, she also is a huge advocate for us, her team. Looking out for ‘us’ is in her DNA and because of her ability to advocate for us, we trust, respect, and share her vision for doing the best thing for our patients. We can count on her to assist us with anything. It is a pleasure to come to work when Lisa is present.

Laura Wilkinson


A vital phase of lifelong learning is professional development and Laura seeks to ensure that the development of nurses is alive and flourishing at our hospital for she uses her knowledge of education theory to support this vital phase. Laura was instrumental in organizing and implementing the preceptor council, systematic peer review for learning specialists, and collaborated with a team on a nursing research study. Laura demonstrates compassionate care to patients and families by guiding practice changes to improve safety with catheter associated urinary tract infections and central line-associated bloodstream infections. Working with Laura demonstrates to us that together, change can happen.