The Simms/Mann Family Foundation has awarded 10 Keck Medicine of USC nurses with a surprise gift of $10,000 each as part of the foundation’s inaugural Off the Chart: Rewarding Nursing Greatness campaign. The award celebrates the bold leadership of Los Angeles nurses and their continued innovation and resilience in the midst of ongoing challenges in health care settings.

“The intention of Off the Chart: Rewarding Nursing Greatness is to broaden the public’s understanding of the essential and expansive role nurses have across all health care settings, and to serve as a call to action to make the massive investments in nurses necessary to provide them with the support, resources and recognition they deserve and need,” said Victoria Mann Simms, PhD, president of the Simms/Mann Family Foundation.

The campaign recognized 30 nurses from three leading Los Angeles-area health systems: City of Hope, UCLA and Keck Medicine. With Off the Chart: Rewarding Nursing Greatness, the foundation wanted to shine a spotlight on the critical role nurses play as clinical experts. Recipients were chosen from a wide range of specialties and career stages.

“This incredible honor confirms that our nurses are the gold-standard in nursing excellence,” said Annette Sy, DNP, RN, NE-BC, chief nursing officer for Keck Medical Center of USC. “Through all the ups and downs of working in a health care setting, our nurses never lose sight of the needs of our patients. They truly embody a limitless approach to care.”

Additionally, the foundation acknowledged that the honorees embodied a bias toward action, possessed a capacity for self-direction, showcased originality and creative instincts in their work, and were bold and courageous.

“Nurses are at the heart of our medical enterprise,” said Deborah McCoy, RN, chief nursing officer for USC Arcadia Hospital. “Our Keck Medicine nurses act as a guiding light for our patients and fellow employees. We are forever grateful for their commitment to our mission, vision and values.”

The Keck Medicine recipients were also celebrated at an event on May 22 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, which featured a conversation with journalist Sarah DiGregorio, author of Taking Care: The Story of Nursing and Its Power to Change Our World.

This year’s recipients from across the health system included:

  • Nikki Chuml, MSN/Ed, RNC-OB, PRN, LNC
    Risk Management/Regulatory Coordinator, USC Arcadia Hospital
  • Lisa Johnson, DNP, RN, CENP, CPHQ
    Executive Administrator, Quality & Outcomes Management, Keck Hospital of USC
  • Janet Kim, MSN, RN, AMB-BC
    Regional Operations Director, Ambulatory Care, Keck Medicine of USC
  • Catherine Pradt, BSN, RN
    Service Line Coordinator, Urology, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital
  • Tusdi Rodriguez, MSN, RN, PCCN
    Manager, Quality & Outcomes Management, Keck Hospital of USC
  • Emily Rorden, MSN, ACNP-BC, CCRN
    Manager of Advanced Practice Providers, Critical Care, Keck Hospital of USC
  • Rachel Settani, BSN, RN, BMTCN, OCN
    Oncology Nurse, Inpatient Bone Marrow Transplant, USC Norris Cancer Hospital
  • Valencia Webb-Streeter, BSN, RN, CRRN, CWOCN
    Staff RN, Acute Rehabilitation (Wound Ostomy), Keck Hospital of USC
  • Jessica Laughlin Thomas, DNP(c), CCRN-K, CENP
    Associate Chief Nursing Officer, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital
  • Sylvia Villalon, BSN, RN, CCTC
    Heart Transplant Nurse Coordinator, Keck Hospital of USC

The Simms/Mann Family Foundation is a private organization dedicated to strategically funding innovative educational programs and social services that promote well-being and economic self-sufficiency for all. The Foundation was established in 1984 and is based in Beverly Hills.

“More than most professions, our nurses come face to face with matters of life and death every day,” said Theresa Murphy, RN, MS, CENP, chief nursing officer for USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. “Their dedication and resilience in the face of emotional turmoil is truly inspiring. We look forward to their continued positive influence in our communities for years to come.”

To learn more about this year’s recipients, click here.

— Matthew Vasiliauskas