Nov 17, 2014

Seattle Nurse Selected as Recipient of National Leadership Award

Contact: Susan Lamontagne
(631) 899-3825 or

A Washington state nurse who has made extraordinary efforts to improve the lives of medically fragile children and Seattle residents will be recognized as one of the 10 recipients of the new Breakthrough Leaders in Nursing award created by the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a joint initiative of AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dorene Hersh, MSN, RN, the chief of nursing in King County’s public health agency, helped to develop the first licensed day care center for medically fragile children in the state of California. Today she works to improve the health of Seattle area residents with a particular focus on recruiting the next generation of nurses into the public health field.

“Public health nursing was not really addressed in the Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing report,” said Hersh. “I am trying to make sure that public health is on the radar of decision-makers as we work to address the health challenges facing our communities.” Hersh is particularly concerned that nurses need to learn new skills to fill the public health roles of today and tomorrow, such as screening for communicable diseases and providing in-home monitoring. She also has worked through the Washington Nursing Action Coalition on how to attract bright young people into the nursing field and replace seasoned nursing leaders who are retiring.

The Campaign for Action created the 2014 Breakthrough Leaders in Nursing award to celebrate nurse leadership and the importance of efforts by nurses to improve health and health care. The award recipients have worked to help victims of sexual assault, medically fragile children, neurologically impaired individuals, and low-income women in rural areas, among others. Their work is helping to improve the quality of medical care in Vermont, prevent bedsores and reduce Medicaid costs in Texas, and recruit minority nursing students in Wisconsin, to name a few.

“Dorene has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of medically fragile children and now the citizens of King County,” said Linda Tieman, executive director, Washington Nursing Action Coalition. “This award recognizes the incredible progress Dorene’s leadership is making for the future of nursing.”

Learn about the other recipients.