Nurse’s Touch Award Exemplifies the Best of the Best

Feb 19, 2019, 16:23 PM by Gina Kellogg
Outstanding nurse educators are honored by ATI Nursing Education for advancing those special qualities that make nurses the most trusted profession in the United States.

In December, Gallup announced that — for the 16th consecutive year — Americans’ ratings of the honesty and ethical standards of 22 occupations put nurses at the top.

“More than eight in 10 Americans (82 percent) describe nurses’ ethics as ‘very high’ or ‘high,’” the report noted.

The No. 1 ranking is no surprise to those who work in healthcare. After all, the nursing profession’s members set a high bar for themselves in a field that becomes more complex every day. While Florence Nightingale had to battle a bumbling bureaucracy, and Clara Barton famously dodged bullets, today’s nurses face challenges unique to the modern world. They are, in fact, the linchpin of a high-tech healthcare system that asks them to simultaneously act as skilled-care providers, information sharers, wellness educators, and quality-control experts.

Helping nurses develop skills for such multivariate roles are nurse educators. And, each year, the most highly skilled of these individuals are honored with the prestigious, nationally recognized Nurse’s Touch Award from ATI Nursing Education (Leawood, Kan.).

For 2018, the award recipients are:

• Ashley Graves, MSN, RN, Instructor, Mount Carmel College of Nursing (Columbus, Ohio)

• MaryAnn Hogan, RN, MSN, CNE, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts – Amherst College of Nursing (Amherst, Mass.)

• Colleen Nevins, BSN, MN, DNP, Assistant Professor, California State University — Channel Islands (Camarillo, Calif.)

• Anita Stephen, MSN, RN, CNL, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Florida (Gainesville, Fla.).

The best of the best nurse educators

The special individuals who are named as Nurse’s Touch Award honorees not only must excel at teaching students the technical knowledge and skills required to be safe and competent, but they also must set the example for students. The best among them seem to naturally model the special qualities that make nurses so memorable — and, per the Gallup poll, trustworthy.

These individuals, in other words, have “The Nurse’s Touch.”

Choosing the honorees

Four qualities are essential to having this special “touch” and being invited into this elite echelon of nurse educators:

• Professional communication

• Wellness/self-care

• Knowledge of nursing informatics/technology

• Leadership/management.

Each fall, peers and managers within the nursing profession nominate individuals who exemplify these qualities. A rigorous review and scoring process whittles the nominees to a handful representing four regions of the United States. One is then chosen from each region as its honoree.

The rewards of winners

In honor of their achievement, each of this year’s winners will receive complimentary registration, hotel lodging and airfare to attend the 2019 ATI National Nurse Educator Summit in Savannah, Ga. The group will be honored in a special awards ceremony at the event. (The Summit is a professional-development conference featuring and attended by hundreds of nurse educators from across the country.) 

To read more about the Nurse’s Touch Award, please visit



Instructor, Mount Carmel College of Nursing (Columbus, Ohio)


• Associate degree: Hocking College (Nelsonville, Ohio)

• Bachelor of science in nursing: Ohio University (Athens, Ohio)

• Master of science in nursing: Grand Canyon University (Phoenix).


• Medical/surgical nurse, endoscopy unit, Fairfield Medical Center (Lancaster, Ohio)

• Clinical instructor, course coordinator, classroom/lab teacher, Mount Carmel College of Nursing (Columbus, Ohio).

Current role/title: NCLEX-RN Testing Specialist

What Professor Graves has to say: “I have met students on this journey who have truly changed my life. They bring such unique experiences to us, as educators, and it is important that we accept those experiences into our lives and learn from them as well. Being awarded with the Nurse’s Touch award is an incredible honor. There is no easy way to sum up what this award, or being a nurse educator, really means to me. The continued growth that I experience alongside students and faculty makes my career the best possible thing I could imagine myself doing.”

What peers have to say:

• “Ashley exudes the leadership skill of providing vision — she leads from behind — and is held in high regard at the college. She is fully present. She is student-focused.” — Theresa Draher

• “She truly embodies what it means to be a nurse in every sense of the role.” — Miranda Knapp

• “Ashley has role-modeled leadership by developing an in-depth orientation program for all incoming freshman and transfer students. Her vision . . . has led our college in the last year to go from an 87.4% first-time test-taker NCLEX pass rate to a 96.6% pass rate for first-time test takers. Her leadership is demonstrated by her commitment to even our new grads, as she monitors their use of [resources] and contacts them on a regular basis to offer assistance and encouragement.” — Erin Dougherty

MaryAnn HoganMaryAnn Hogan, RN, MSN, CNE

Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts – Amherst College of Nursing (Amherst, Mass.)


• Bachelor of science, nursing major, University of Massachusetts (Amherst, Mass.)

• Master of science in nursing, Anna Maria College (Paxton, Mass.)

• Current PhD candidate, University of Massachusetts (Amherst, Mass.), with research interests in patient safety and clinical decision-making.


• Instructor, University of Massachusetts (Amherst, Mass.) since 1999, with clinical specialty in adult health and critical care

• Author, “Pearson’s Reviews and Rationales” and “Pearson’s Comprehensive Review.”

Current role/title: Clinical Assistant Professor teaching senior-level courses in fundamentals, acute health problems in adults, and NCLEX prep, as well as coordinating and teaching final-semester capstone clinical internship course.

What Professor Hogan has to say: “With so many talented and caring educators in nursing, I am humbly grateful for the nomination and selection. Nursing students are the future of the profession, and it is a privilege to be able to touch their lives in small ways and enjoy seeing their professional growth.”

What a peer has to say:

• “MaryAnn is the most thoughtful, deliberate, and conscientious educator I have ever met . . . truly a selfless colleague, a visionary educator, and a passionate and compassionate nurse. Always cheerful, she encourages other faculty and staff, is kind and compassionate to our students, and models excellence in leadership, communication, embracing change, and the duty we hold as nurses to be excellent in our care.” — Maeve Howett

Colleen NevinsColleen Nevins, BSN, MN, DNP

Assistant Professor, California State University — Channel Islands (Camarillo, Calif.)


• Bachelor of science in nursing, University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire, Wis.)

• Master of science in nursing, with focus in nursing administration, University of California (Los Angeles)

• Doctorate of nursing practice, Western University of Health Sciences (Pomona, Calif.).


• Clinical practice experience: ER, ICU, neurology, gynecology, general post-surgery, and home care, plus 16 years of management

• Instructor, vocational and baccalaureate nursing programs

• Simulation lab instructor, California State University — Channel Islands (Camarillo, Calif.)

• Faculty advisor: Student Nurses Association and Red Cross Club

• Honor: CSU Channel Islands’ Legacy Award for Outstanding Student Organization Faculty Advisor.

Current role/title: Assistant professor, nursing program, California State University — Channel Islands (Camarillo, Calif.)

What Dr. Nevins has to say: “The ATI Nurses Touch Award recognizes those who embody the spirit and training of the next generation.I am deeply honored and humbled by this recognition as an educator who simply strives to provide meaningful adaptive learning to our future nurses.”

What a peer has to say:

• “Her expectations and standards to demonstrate professional behaviors extend from dress to performance to human interactions, without a sense of competition or negativity. Her presence is calming. Ethically she has an innate sense of making sure others are cared for and other perspectives are considered before decisions are made. She is a clear role model for any professional nurse.” — Jaime Hannans

Anita StephenAnita Stephen, MSN, RN, CNL

Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Florida (Gainesville, Fla.)


• Bachelor of science in nursing, Dominican College (Blauvelt, N.Y.)

• Master of science in nursing, University of Florida (Gainesville, Fla.)

• Certification of Clinical Nurse Leader

• Current PhD student, College of Education in curriculum instruction and learning with emphasis on educational technology, University of Florida (Gainesville, Fla.).


• Medical/surgical nurse, surgical intensive care nurse, supervisor, and nurse educator in a hospital setting

• Instructor teaching simulation, clinical-skills lab, clinical, and transition-to-practice, University of Florida (Gainesville, Fla.)

• Coordinator, clinical courses, undergraduate nursing program, University of Florida (Gainesville, Fla.).

Current role/title: Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Florida (Gainesville, Fla.)

What Professor Stephen has to say: “I felt very humbled that I was selected and that my colleagues valued me as an outstanding educator. I am grateful for this award. This award is very meaningful to me, because I strive for excellence in all I do, especially in educating our future nurses.”

What peers have to say:

• “Anita transforms her students by pouring into them — her knowledge and skills, care and compassion, her devotion and dedication, and her strong communication and leadership — equipping them to be an effective, safe, caring, and compassionate nursing professional.” — Sandra Citty

• “Professor Stephen sets the tone for professional leadership and excellence as [students] arrive on our campus. She models leadership in that she is not only an excellent leader but will work as a collaborative member of the team, pitch in, stay late, and get the quality job done . . . She is also humble and kind, which makes for a very effective leader.” — Nancy Young

• “She challenges students to put the patient first and has worked tirelessly to help them develop and improve their skills in empathy as a starting strategy for successful patient centered care.” — Jane Gannon