2016 Nurse Assessment Coordinator of the Year

Deborah Kriegh, RN, RAC-CT, DNS-CT, WCC, CHPN, GRN, is a NAC at Oklahoma Methodist Manor. According to Rhonda Hanan, DON of the Year, who nominated Deborah, "When it comes to enhancing elder safety and improving quality care, there is no limit to what Debbie will do! Over the past year, Debbie has been instrumental in ensuring the MDS/Care Plan process enhances the quality care of elders. She meets with the leadership team every morning to identify changes in resident care that occurred in the past 24 hours and quickly updates their care plans. She participates in the interdisciplinary team process. She identifies on-going reports to help our leaders quickly identify and intervene when documentation is not meeting the facility's standards. her personal touch is clear, especially when she takes the initiative to volunteer to take elders to appointments or intervenes when elders need an advocate." She is committed to every piece of care. 

2016 Director of Nursing of the Year

Rhonda Hanan, MS, RN, DNS-CT, CDONA, GRN, is DON at Oklahoma Methodist Manor. According to Rhonda's nominator, "Rhonda has become the life blood and heart of Oklahoma Methodist Manor since her arrival a little over a year ago. When she arrived, the facility was a ship without a sail...without a director of nurses for over six months. She came, got to know the staff and the program, its strengths and weaknesses, and started guiding us to a new vision to be nationally recognized for our expertise, compassion, and innovation in elder care! Rhonda brings a philosphy of no blame reporting, feeling that no one comes into nursing to give poor care, but rather lacks training and education. Her simple philosphy has elevated the entire care staff to be better than they thought they could be. Rhonda is a mentor, a coach, a cheerleader, and yes, the stern older sister when need be. But all who have anything to do with Rhonda Hanan will be touched by her and be better for it."

2016 Nursing Home Administrator of the Year

Richard Cornwell joined Surprise Valley Health Care District in October 2014 with the staff and made sure EVERY employee received a Christmas turkey donated by him and his family! He had experience with turning around similar facilities to make them profitable. Staff was skeptical at first, because they didn't think they could be saved. He rolled up his sleeves, literally, and got to work. he found resources, money, grants, doctors, employees, AND other hospitals in the area to lend a hand. In the last twelve months, he has turned the facility around and he was able to break even in June 2015. Richard had dedication, passion, and humility in doing what he did, for the residents, the community, and the people who were dedicated enough to stay through it all.

2016 AANAC Outstanding Contributor of the Year

Sandy Biggi, RN, BSN, SNT, RAC-MT, DNS-MT, has been a member of AANAC since its founding in 1999 and a Master Teacher since 2006. She has been one of AANAC’s highest rated Master Teachers in RAC-CT for MDS 2.0 and MDS 3.0, and the DNS-CT program for nearly 10 years. She has served on the Director of Nursing Services Expert Advisory Panel as the committee Chair since it started in 2014. According to Sandy’s nominator, “Her contribution to nurse leaders through her expert input, dedicated hours of voluntary service, and kind support to AANAC members and staff are beyond words. Every time I have an opportunity to talk with her on a phone call or in a committee meeting she exudes contagious positivity and encouragement.”.

Cerner Nursing Assistant of the Year Scholarship

Rodney Ross is a CNA at Westminster Canterbury in Richmond, Virginia. He is described by his colleagues as extremely gracious and helpful, not only to the residents and their families, but to co-workers as well. In the words of the person who nominated him: “He is a leader in our facility and a mentor to many of our staff members. He is always willing to help others when needed. He is so kind and gentle with our residents…numerous family members have come to management staff asking if they can hire Rodney privately to care for their loved one. He is one of the most loved CNAs I have ever seen.”

Cheryl M. Thomas Scholarship (provided with support from Cerner and the friends and family of Cheryl M. Thomas)

Stacie Howe, RN, RAC-CT, is an MDS Coordinator at Cedar Village Retirement Community in Mason, Ohio. According to her nominator, her “facility improved from a one-star to a four-star rating, in no small part due to Stacie’s focus on improvement in clinical outcomes and Quality Measures. In addition, Stacie was instrumental in implementing Quality Initiatives that helped the facility maximize Medicaid reimbursement and improve resident and family satisfaction scores.” Stacie is currently working towards her bachelors in nursing. Committed to furthering her own education, she sees her biggest strength in her ability to build strong, knowledgeable teams that take pride in their work and furthering their education.

LaCreesha Louis, RN, RAC-CT, is an MDS Coordinator at Bria Health Services in Palos Hills, Illinois. She began her career in long-term care ten years ago as a CNA, later becoming an LPN, and just recently an RN, overcoming many personal obstacles. According to her administrator, “Lacreesha is truly a compassionate person. She challenges the status quo to initiate positive change. She leads by example to show others that continuous improvement is possible and her passion for elder care is exemplary.” Currently working on her bachelors, she looks forward to furthering her education and increasing her capacity to positively impact residents and colleagues.

Rena R. Shephard Scholarship

Ann Brunzell, RN, RAC-CT, is the MDS Coordinator at Brookstone Meadows in Elkhorn, Nebraska. Ann transitioned from a staff RN to an MDS role in her facility two years ago with little understanding of the MDS. According to her, “the more I perform the duties of the MDS position, the more I want to learn. I started out just trying to get the MDS completed and submitted correctly. Over time I started to dig deeper and look up more answers in the awesome RAI manual.” Ann manages the MDS process for her 66-bed facility. She is determined to help the floor nursing staff better understand the MDS process and how to support it with documentation.

Founder's Scholarship

Donna Browne-Atkins, RN, RAC-CT, DNS-CT, is an MDS Coordinator at Elant, Inc. in Beacon, New York. In addition to her MDS duties, she is responsible for educating staff on upcoming changes to assure they are compliant with all federal and state regulations. According to Donna, “I love the MDS process so much… I thrive on being a leader in the wonderful ever changing RAI and PPS process.”

President’s Scholarship

Carol Stocker, LVN, is an MDS Coordinator at Surprise Valley Health Care in Surprise Valley, California, at the remote northeast tip of the state. According to Carol, “I am a goal oriented person, and even at 73 years young with 54 years of nursing experience in different settings, I still love my work and want to help our residents have the best we can offer them in the twilight of their years…” Carol loves interviewing and the MDS process, which give her an opportunity to connect with residents.

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Previous Award Recipients (1999 – 2015)

Nurse Assessment Coordinator of the Year 

Lori Martin, LPN, RAC-CT
Tracy Holder, LPN, RAC-CT  
Virginia Hopkins, RN, BSN 
Sandra Reed-Bryant, RN, MSN, RAC-CT 
Jane Barbour, LPN, RAC-CT
Heather Hirons, RN
Sheryl Nelson, BSN, RAC-CT 
Katherine Sanders, RN, DNS-CT, RAC-CT 
Linda Chetley, RN, RAC-CT  
Wendy Brown, RN  
Jill Knight, BSN, RN
Holly Sox, RN 
Debbie Frias, LPN, RAC-CT  

Outstanding AANAC Contributor of the Year

Judy Wilhide Brandt, RN, RAC-MT, DNS-CT
Jennifer LaBay, RN, RAC-MT
Jennifer Pettis, RN, WCC, DNS-CT, RAC-CT
Rebecca LaBarge, RN, RAC-CT
Carol Job, RN, RAC-CT
Caralyn Davis
Carol Maher, RN-BC, RAC-CT
Ron Orth, RN, NHA, CPC
Judy Bagby, RN, LNHA, DNS-CT, RAC-CT
Darla K Watson, RN
Renay Smith
Roberta Reed, RN, MSN, LNHA, DNS-CT, RAC-CT
Chyris Glass, RN 

Nursing Home Administrator of the Year

Carol Gilbertson, RN, RAC-CT Richard Cartney
Bill Pierce
Jalane White
Sara Dent
Jane Hull
Mivic Hirose
Tina Strimbu
Gene Williams
Ronald Graybeal
Nancy White
Shellie Ducommon, RN, NHA 

Director of Nursing of the Year

Wendy Jobe, RN, MSH
Andrea Morgan
Patricia Long, RN, BSW, RAC-CT
Nancy Chila, RN
Susan McDonald, RN, BSN, RAC-CT
Amy Higgins, RN, RAC-CT 

Best Practice of the Year

Friendship Retirement Community
Ebenezer Ridges Campus
Pleasant View Home
Karen Scaturo, RN, RAC-CT 

Cerner Nursing Assistant of the Year

Amanda Jones
Terri Morris
Kendra Cooper 

Cheryl M. Thomas Scholarship

Mindy Van Beek, RN
Lisa L. Chubb, RN, ASN
Cheryl Druce, RN, RAC-CT