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Nurses work tirelessly at all levels in healthcare, in both clinical and administrative capacities. There are nearly 2.7 million registered nurses in the United States, and 2.2 million of them are actively employed. Despite their constant presence in the healthcare setting and invaluable contributions to patient care, their efforts are sometimes under appreciated, their skills and compassion often taken for granted. At Cleveland Clinic, we strive daily to continue our legacy for top quality nursing, as well as make every effort to acknowledge those who excel in helping us meet that goal.

Nursing Excellence Awards Post Event 2015

Across Cleveland Clinic hospitals, nurses are consistently the largest employee group. To recognize their invaluable contribution to patient care, we have a robust group of awards honoring those within our institution.

Do you know a nurse who:

  • Courageously inspires hope & touches the human spirit?
  • Exemplifies the highest standards of quality & patient safety?
  • Dedicates a career to exceptional patient care, mentoring or evidence-based practice?
  • Collaborates to promote teamwork & quality outcomes?

2016 nominations are now closed.

View sample nomination form.

2015 Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Mary Bartos, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, APCNS
Hillcrest Hospital
Director of Women & Children’s Services

A 37-year nursing veteran, Mary Bartos earned her BSN from Capital University and her MSN from Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. She joined Hillcrest Hospital in 1996 as nurse manager for the NICU and pediatric unit. Through the years, Mary has held many positions in Women & Children’s Services, acting as director of the department for the past eight years. Under Mary’s leadership, Hillcrest Hospital has built a Level III NICU, achieved Level III maternity and NICU licensure, earned Baby-Friendly Hospital status and renovated its Family Maternity Center. She also was part of the team that helped Hillcrest Hospital achieve Magnet® designation in 2014. Mary encourages her staff to pursue professional development and leadership training, acting as a role model to those around her. “Mary is an amazing communicator and forward-thinker who is able to get things completed,” says Melanie Gotliebowski, BSN, RN, CPN, nurse manager in pediatrics. “I value her transparency, devotion, accountability, passion and patient-focused care.” Mary and her husband Kevin Barnes, an attorney, have two adult sons.

Susan Collier, DNP, RN, NEA-BC
Hillcrest Hospital
Vice President of Nursing and Chief Nursing Officer

Sue Collier has been a nurse for 38 years, working for Cleveland Clinic as well as Meridia Huron Hospital and Meridia South Pointe Hospital before the organizations became part of the Cleveland Clinic health system in 1997. She has served as vice president of nursing and CNO of Hillcrest Hospital for four years. Committed to nursing education, Sue received her DNP from Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing in 2014. With special interests in critical care, case management, nurse empowerment and patient safety, Sue belongs to numerous professional organizations and actively participates on many councils and committees. Under her direction, Hillcrest Hospital achieved Magnet® designation last year. “Sue is a true nurse leader,” says Nancy Albert, PhD, CCNS, CCRN, NE-BC, ACNO of Research and Innovation. “She is encouraging, provides positive feedback, has an eye toward quality and advancing patient care, and has a serving leader approach.” Sue is married with two adult children, both of whom are nurses at Cleveland Clinic.

Stephanie Conard-Scott, BSN, RN
Marymount Hospital
Nurse Manager

A nurse for 31 years, Stephanie Conard-Scott began her career caring for the mentally ill at Western Reserve Psychiatric Hospital. She moved to Marymount Hospital 23 years ago, first working in the progressive cardiac step-down unit, then moving to the medical-oncology unit. Today, Stephanie is nurse manager of medical-surgical telemetry and oncology units. Nurses on her units say Stephanie demonstrates the highest level of service, compassion, dignity and respect. She is dedicated to both her patients and her staff. When the Zielony Nursing Institute developed Colleagues in Care, she created a class in conjunction with the education department to ensure nurses understood the model. She also is active in Shared Governance. “Stephanie guides, supports and influences nurses by nurturing them every day,” says Cathy Schreiber, RN, assistant clinical manager at Marymount Hospital. “She is quick to acknowledge the positive things her staff does and points out solutions to challenges.” Stephanie has one daughter and one granddaughter who she calls “the loves of my life.”

Mary McLaughlin-Davis, DNP, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CCM
Lakewood Hospital
Director of Care Management

Mary McLaughlin Davis earned her BSN from Kent State University and her MSN and DNP from Ursuline College. Her 39-year nursing career has spanned many specialties, including public health, behavioral health, pediatrics, acute physical rehabilitation and care management. Mary is currently director of care management at Lakewood Hospital. Through the years, she has been active in many professional societies and associations, including the Hospice of the Western Reserve Advisory Board and the American Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. She has served on the National Board of Directors for the Case Management Society of America (CMSA) since 2013 and was named president elect of CMSA in June. Mary has spent countless hours researching, developing and implementing ways to improve the patient’s healthcare experience from the inpatient to the outpatient setting, then presenting her ideas at national conferences. “Innovation is her middle name!” says Laurie Ellis, MSN, RN, CNP, Lakewood Hospital Care Management. “She is always thinking outside the box, creating new ways to provide excellent patient care.” Mary is married to Ed and has four children and 13 grandchildren.

Cathleen DeGross, BSN, HACP
Twinsburg Family Health and Surgery Center
Clinical Manager

Cathy DeGross has been a nurse for 29 years, all of them in the Cleveland Clinic health system. After beginning her career as a floor nurse at main campus, she moved into ambulatory nursing at the Solon Family Health Center in 1994. Today, Cathy is clinical manager at the Twinsburg Family Health and Surgery Center. She was an integral part of the team that opened the facility in 2011. Cathy is an active member of the center’s Quality Committee. She led the charge to improve hypertension scores by developing a guide for staff to take proper blood pressures and creating a guide for patients to improve their blood pressure readings. The clinical support staff who work with Cathy say she works very hard to develop easier, more efficient ways to improve nursing processes and sets the standard in achieving compliance within the system. Cathy has been married to Chuck, an attorney, for 40 years and has two adult children and three grandchildren.

Laurel Dolejs, MS, BA, BSN, RN, CPHQ
South Pointe Hospital
Coordinator of Accreditation and Patient Safety

Laurel Dolejs has been a nurse for 31 years. She holds several degrees, including a BSN from American Sentinel University, a bachelor’s degree in healthcare psychology from Graceland University and a master’s degree in psychology from Walden University. Dolejs spent 20 years in the operating room, then moved to medical-surgical nursing as a NOM and nurse manager. Today she is the Coordinator of Accreditation and Patient Safety at South Pointe Hospital. Her commitment to patient safety is evident: Under her leadership, South Pointe achieved zero direct impact findings in the 2012 Joint Commission survey, improved reporting of patient safety events by 50 percent and implemented many best practice initiatives, including “I Have a Concern,” which encourages nurses to speak up when they have safety concerns. “If you ask any nurse in our organization who they turn to with practice issues or safety questions, Laurel’s name is the first on the list,” says Betty Poffenberger, BSN, RN, BC, Quality Coordinator at South Pointe Hospital. “She acts as a mentor and support to many nurse managers as well as the Quality Department.” Laurel is the proud aunt of one nephew and three nieces and adores her cat, Bootsie Lou.

Jane Hartman, MSN, CPNP
Cleveland Clinic Children’s
Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist

Jane Hartman has dedicated her 35-year nursing career to caring for our most vulnerable population, our children. She earned her BSN from The Ohio State University College of Nursing in 1980 and her MSN/Pediatric Nurse Practitioner degree from the University of Akron in 2005. She began her nursing career at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, but was soon recruited by Fairview Hospital, where she worked in various pediatric areas for 23 years before transitioning to main campus. As an advanced practice nurse, Jane’s role as a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s affords her the opportunity to improve patient outcomes. She researched and developed a pediatric MRI preparation book, developed and implemented an IV access algorithm and was instrumental in developing the pediatric vascular access team. “Jane is a role model for how to care for pediatric patients and their families,” says Shannon Sonnhalter CCLC, Senior Manager of Child Life. “She empowers floor nurses to utilize their critical- thinking skills. When she sees a problem, she actively works to devise a solution and involves all team members across disciplines.” Jane has been married to David for 33 years: They are grateful for their children: Jonathan, Megan, Nathaniel and Emily.

Christine Paratto, RN, CNOR
Euclid Hospital
Staff Nurse

Christine Paratto has been a nurse for 37 years and has worked at Euclid Hospital her entire career. She started on the surgical floor, moved to the ICU for several years and then became an operating room nurse. Thirty-one years later, Christine remains passionate about OR nursing. Her duties include both scrubbing and circulating on a variety of cases. A skilled and knowledgeable nurse, Christine understands there is always more to learn: She will complete her BSN from the Chamberlain College of Nursing in December. Through the years, Christine as been involved on many committees and councils, including the Euclid Nursing Practice Council and the Operating Room Shared Governance Unit Based Council, which she helped start. She volunteers with MedWish and participates on the American Nurses Association Strategic Action Team. Christine has been married to Paul for 35 years and they have two sons.

Mary McGreal Sauer, MBA, BSN, RN, NEA-BC
Lakewood Hospital
Vice President of Patient Care Services and CNO

Mary Sauer began her career at Fairview Hospital in 1979 after graduating from nursing school. She served many years as a nurse manager and director of nursing prior to transferring to Lakewood Hospital to become CNO in 2011. With more than 35 years of leadership experience, Mary has a broad background in the management of people and services and extensive specialty knowledge in critical care, post-acute care and medical-surgical nursing. Mary has spearheaded many projects over the years, including the opening of Fairview’s Parkview Patient Care Center, the ongoing development of the hospital in Avon and achievement of the ANCC’s Pathway to Excellence® re-designation. “Mary has consistently worked, persevered and never veered from keeping the patient first and treating every caregiver with the utmost respect, kindness and genuine compassion,” says Kathleen Singleton, MSN, RN, CNS, CMSRN, a medical-surgical CNS at Fairview Hospital. Mary is married to Bill and has a daughter and two sons.

Madeline Soupios, RN, CMSRN
Main Campus
Ambulatory Clinic Float Nurse

Raised in a military family, Madeline Soupios received her nursing diploma from the Helene Fuld School of Nursing. Following a year of medical-surgical nursing, she served in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps during the Vietnam War. She then began her 44-year career at Cleveland Clinic. Through the years, she has been a staff nurse and an assistant nurse manager and was the nursing manager of the surgical ICU for 20 years. She also served as an acting director. For the past 20 years, Madeline has been a float nurse in about 20 ambulatory clinics and an intermittent staffing coordinator. She was one of the original nurse members of the Bioethics Committee and assisted in starting multidisciplinary rounds in the surgical ICU. Madeline has served on many task forces and committees, including the Product Evaluation Committee and as chairman of the Ambulatory Clinics Monthly Continuing Education Planning Committee. Committed to mentoring the next generation of nurses, Madeline also serves as a preceptor and ‘train the trainer.’ “She has a repertoire of skills that allow her to care for a myriad of patient populations,” says Mary Beth Modic, DNP, RN, CNS, CDE, a clinical nurse specialist in diabetes at main campus. “Madeline is a clinical leader whose sage advice is solicited by less experienced nurses. She exudes confidence when interacting with patients and other caregivers.”

Susan Watson, RN
South Pointe Hospital
Staff Nurse

Susan Watson earned her RN from the Saint Alexis School of Nursing. She began her career in 1974 working at Suburban Hospital, which subsequently became Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital. During her 41-year nursing career, Susan has worked in many units, including medical/ surgical, oncology, orthopaedics, surgery, telemetry, stepdown and both medical and surgical ICUs. She moved to outpatient nursing 10 years ago and now works in the Anticoagulation Support Clinic. Through the years, Susan has been involved in research and education. She studied the effect of nursing teaching sheets on the outcomes of total knee and hip replacements and presented her findings at a national anticoagulation seminar in California. She also gave seminars on anticoagulation for South Pointe nurses and spoke to the community about heart disease, stroke and anticoagulation. In addition, Susan speaks with families of patients with complete loss of brain function about organ donation and has served as the Safety Officer for South Pointe. Susan is married to Robert, has four adult children and is eagerly awaiting the birth of her first grandchild in November.

Claudia Zehe, M. Ed., BSN, RN-BC
Cleveland Clinic healthcare system
Senior Director of Nursing Education

Claudia Zehe received her RN from Lakeland Community College and her BSN and master’s degree in education from Cleveland State University. She began her nursing career 37 years ago at Hillcrest Hospital and moved into Nursing Education for Cleveland Clinic more than 25 years ago. Her accomplishments as Senior Director of Nursing Education are many. She worked on a subcommittee to develop the care coordinator role and implemented innovative nursing education practices that have facilitated standardization of patient care delivery in the ambulatory setting. Claudia is currently organizing the fourth consecutive Ambulatory Nursing Conference. Under her leadership, the Joint Commission recognized the nursing education team’s orientation checklist as a best practice and recommended it to other facilities. “Claudia uses her knowledge of current trends to bring experts to educational programs for nursing staff, care coordinators and nurse managers,” says Elizabeth McCarthy, MSN, BSN, RN-BC, education nurse specialist at Cleveland Clinic. “She offers suggestions on literature, videos and faculty-led or online classes as resources for staff to develop their own knowledge.” Claudia has been married for 37 years and feels blessed to have a great family and friends.

Previous Winners

More Awards

National Nurses Week

During National Nurses’ Week, the Cleveland Clinic honors and recognizes its more than 11,000 nurses who work in the hospital units and ambulatory clinics. A central feature of Nurses Week at Cleveland Clinic is the presentation of annual excellence awards, given each year to select nursing, clinical and administrative personnel whose efforts exemplify the ideals and goals of nursing. Each award is named for a Cleveland Clinic nursing employee who in her career here exemplified the ideals and objectives of the nursing profession.

It is with great pleasure that we announce the winners of the excellence awards. This tradition is one that celebrates and recognizes the work and talents of the finest clinical leaders among us. Though we appreciate all the efforts of each and every caregiver throughout the year, this special time offers us the chance to single out those individuals who have made outstanding contributions. Let us congratulate these winners for their ongoing dedication to their profession.

Nursing Research Fund Award

The Purpose of the Nursing Research Fund (NURF) Award is to help Cleveland Clinic nurses, especially those providing clinical nursing services, conduct nursing research that promotes evidence-based nursing and management practices that lead to quality patient outcomes, enhanced nursing processes, and professional development.

Monies in the Fund are provided by patients and their families in recognition of nursing care received during hospitalizations. Additional contributions to the Fund are made from private donations and honorariums from nursing staff members for presentations and other professional work done in conjunction with their staff role.

Awards up to a maximum of $2,500/each aid registered nurses in conducting research and can be used to provide time to collect data, offset costs of supplies and equipment and statistical analysis, or to travel to a meeting to present findings. It is expected that research results will be shared within the Division of Nursing and to other departments, as appropriate and that generalizable results will be translated into nursing practice. A maximum of $15,000 in awards are presented annually.

Cleveland Clinic has a national reputation as a top hospital and our nurses play a vital role in this success. We are proud to present those nurses who have received national recognition for their contribution to our model of world-class care.

2013 National Award Winners

Beth M. Faiman, PhDc MSN CNP AOCN, was named the recipient of the 2013 ONS Commendation for Outstanding Achievement for Oncology Nursing Education or Patient/Family Education Award.

2012 National Award Winners

Nancy M. Albert, PhD, CCNS, CHFN, CCRN, NE-BC, FAHA, FCCM, Senior Director, Nursing Research and Innovation CNS, Kaufman Center for Heart Failure, was named the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) 2013 Distinguished Research Lecturer in recognition her program of research that significantly influences high acuity and critical care.

Meredith Lahl, MSN, PCNS-BC, PNP-BC, CPON, Senior Director, Advanced Practice Nursing, was awarded the 2012 Jean Fergusson Excellence in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nursing Practice Award.  This award is given each year to recognize an Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses APHON member for compassion and expertise in clinical nursing practice and for actively incorporating research and new ideas into clinical practice.

Nancy M. Albert, PhD, CCNS, CHFN, CCRN, NE-BC, FAHA, FCCM, Senior Director, Nursing Research and Innovation CNS, Kaufman Center for Heart Failure, was awarded the Sue B. Davidson Service Award. 

Beth Faiman, PhDc, MSN, APRN-BC, AOCN, Nurse Practitioner, Taussig Cancer Institute, received the 2012 Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Excellence in Medical Oncology Award for her accomplishments in advancing nursing knowledge with the field of hematology and medical oncology.

Kelly Cherni, BSN, RN, OCN, Nurse Coordinator for Bone Marrow Transplant, received the Josh Gottheil Bone Marrow Transplant Career Development Award from the Oncology Nursing Society.

Tina S. Resser, MSN, ACNP-BC, FNP-BC, CNRN, Nurse Practitioner for the Neurological Intensive Care Unit, received 2011 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN) Excellence in Clinical Practice Award for recognition of her excellent clinical care.

Chad Hollis MSN, BSN, RN received the Clinical Excellence in Vascular Nursing Award from the Society of Vascular Nursing for his exceptional clinical skills and direct patient care delivery.

Scott Arkwright, BSN, RN, CNOR, RNFA, Registered Nurse First Assist, received the Outstanding Orthopedic Nurse Practice Award from National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON) for his contribution to providing high quality health care to the orthopaedic patient and his outstanding contributions to the field of orthopaedic nursing.

Esther Bernhofer, PhD, RN-BC, Nursing Education Specialist for Pain Management, received the 2012 American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN) Clinical Practice Award in recognition of her many achievements in pain management practice.

K. Kelly Hancock, MSN, RN, NEC-BC, Executive Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Nursing Officer for Main Campus, received the 2012 American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) Circle of Excellence Award.

Laura S. Wood, MSN, RN, OCN, Renal Cancer Research Coordinator for Taussig Cancer Institute,  received the 2012 Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Clinical Lectureship Award for her excellence in clinical nursing practice.

Marie A. Namey, MSN, RN, CNS, MSCCN, Clinical Nurse Specialist for the Neurological Institute's Mellen Center, won the 2011 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN) Excellence in Advanced Practice Nursing Award in recognition of her excellence in nursing care and promoting neuroscience nursing.

Previous Winners

Learn about more of our previous year's national award winners.

View list of awards and recognitions.