July 24, 2018

Nurse Achievement Award 2018 - Student Loan Assistance

Nurse Achievement Award 2018 - Student Loan Assistance
Angelina Walker
By: Angelina Walker Director of Nursing Content and Social Media

Update 9/24/2018 at 12:00am PT

Voting has now closed, stay tuned for the announcement of the winner. 

Update 9/17/2018 at 10:00am

Nominations for's Nurse Achievement Award are now closed - scroll to the bottom of this page to learn about the top 10 nominees and to cast your vote!

Voting closes on 9/23/2018 at 11:59 pm (pacific standard time)

Each vote will be counted once. Multiple votes belonging to the same email address will not be counted. 

Original post 7/25/2018

If someone you know graduated from nursing school they likely have student loan debt. Chances are, they’re still paying it off. 

According to the AACN’s 2017 debt report, 69% of nursing graduates surveyed in 2016 took out federal student loans. They estimate the median anticipated amount of college loan debt to be between $40,000 and $54,999 for nursing school graduates. 

This doesn't even take into consideration private student loans. 

Another shocking statistic - as of 2017, Americans collectively owe $1.48 trillion in student loan debt. 

Bottom line, nursing school is expensive.

That’s why is giving away $1000 for one special nurse to put towards their student loan debt. Click here to view the contest official rules. 

YouTube Video

Top 10 Nominees - Stay Tuned For Announcements!   

Sara Rissolo, MSN, RN, CPAN

You could say that Sara Rissolo is a fan of school, because she not only teaches clinicals and lab for the local community college, Chesapeake College, but she is also currently earning her DNP through Wilmington University. And that’s in addition to her “regular” job working in her local hospital in the PACU. “She jokes that as long as she keeps taking classes, she won’t have to pay back her student loans,” her husband jokes. “And there are a lot of them!” 

Sara is putting all of that educational background and a 13-year career as a nurse to good use however, to serve her community. The mother of 5 founded a non-profit with the mission to provide safe, supportive, and affordable housing for people in recovery from substance abuse. Working together, she and her husband first opened The Gratitude House, a transitional recovery residence for men, last year, and last month she opened The Gratitude House for Women. 

The two residences combine the latest in substance-abuse recovery research and evidence-based practices in an innovative program to allow people coming out of treatment or jail a chance to get back on their feet and solidify their recovery. For her work at the Gratitude Houses, Sara was recently awarded a Governor’s Citation by the Mayor. 

Rachel Edmonson, RN, BS

Rachel Edmonson wrote the book on nursing. No, seriously, she did — her book, WWFD: What Would Flo’ Do- A Real World Nursing Guide to Surviving Nursing Orientation, has been adopted by nursing schools to assist new grads into making the transition into the “real” world.  

And in her own “real” world, Rachel is all about improving systems and fostering the community that is so necessary in nursing. After obtaining her BS in healthcare administration, Rachel moved up to management within 3 years of graduation from nursing school, where she instituted a new on-boarding program that won awards for her hospital and reorganized the staffing process to be more efficient.

Having returned to clinical nursing in neurosciences at St. David’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas, Rachel continues to be an “achiever’ and has established a social media platform, The Nurse Tribe, on Instagram to connect and empower nurses through social media, music, and continuing education. 

Tami Jennings, RN

From a small town in California, where she had to drive an hour and a half every day for school while caring for a young daughter and working at a local prison, Tami Jennings has shown a steadfast, unwavering determination. 

After graduation, that determination led to her move, not knowing a single soul, to Texas, where she began her official work as a nurse at a psychiatric hospital, not necessarily an easy task for a mother of a 5-year-old daughter. According to her nominator, Tami puts her heart into her work no matter what she is doing and now shows that same steadfast work ethic as a critical care nurse. From caring for dying grandmother's whose grandchildren never visited to caring for criminals, Tami shows the same compassion to each and every one of her patients. 

Tami recently welcomed her second baby into the world and is now furthering her education to become a college professor. “But for now she’s just ‘another’ superhero who doesn’t wear a cape but scrubs and a smile,” says her nominator. 

Joshua McCoy, RN

Some would say that ER nurse Joshua is a hero, but Joshua himself would most likely assure others that he is not. But that, according to the ER charge nurse who nominated him, would be typical Joshua, downplaying his own actions and staying humble. 

No matter whose story you believe, Joshua the Hero or Joshua the Humble, however, the facts are clear: in 2016, Joshua successfully intervened when a discharged jail clearance patient attempted to procure a law enforcement officer’s gun and prevented any further injury from happening. For his actions, Joshua was awarded the Daisy Award, but at least one person believes that he deserves a lot more than “a box of Cinnabons and a statue.” 

Victor Ulloa, RN

Mr. Victor M. Ulloa has dedicated his entire life to serving, both his patients and his country. Currently a Junior Team Instructor for the Practical Nurse Course at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Mr. Ulloa also retired from the military after 21 years of service in September 2000. 

During his time in service, Mr. Ulloa served in every leadership position ranging from Squad leader to First Sergeant. He served in combat during the Gulf War, during which time, he was awarded the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service, among many other numerous awards and recognitions.  

Mr. Ulloa served as a System Analysts and Manager for the North Carolina State Veterans Nursing Home after departing the Military, where he supervised the care for veterans with Alzheimer and other illnesses. Shortly after September 11, 2001, Mr. Ulloa returned to Federal Service to care for military personnel and their family members. He served as an emergency nurse at Womack Army Medical Center and William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC). While serving at WBAMC, Mr. Ulloa was selected as Nurse of the Year for 2011 and 2012. 

Mr. Ulloa wears the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service for his quick and professional actions leading rapid assessment and treatment of a patient with a life-threatening condition in Oct 2005. He also earned two Achievement Medals for Civilian Service and provided comfort care to children and family members using all available assets during an active shooter event at WBAMC in January 2015.

Shiotta Boyd, BSN, RN

At only the young age of 16, Shiotta Boyd became a mother. Her son suffered some difficulties at his birth, which led to him spending time in the NICU unit for failure to thrive as well as sepsis. Shiotta’s experience with the nurses who cared for her son during this difficult time in her life inspired her to decide to become a nurse too. 

Despite facing the struggles of being a single mother and a teenage parent, Shiotta graduated high school with a 3.7 GP and became a college student at Gannon University in Erie, PA. Throughout her college years, she had to overcome more obstacles, as it soon became apparent that her son was experiencing developmental delays. Shiotta worked with countless doctors and therapists before officially receiving the diagnosis of ADHD and autism for her son. 

Once again, the odds were stacked against her, but once again, Shiotta chose to use her situation to inspire. She faced her and her son’s health issues head-on and even agreed to participate in a program called Go College, in which she filmed a short video that went on to be shown to students with similar backgrounds and hardships to encourage them to succeed in their college journeys. 

Shiotta graduated college with a 3.5 GPA May of 2018, passed her NCLEX July 2018, and secured a position at a local hospital. “This woman has a lot going for her and I can only imagine the change this woman will make in the healthcare world,” notes her nominator. “She is a phenomenal woman a wonderful nurse.” 

Michael Baudoin, RN

Post-op and GI travel nurse Michael Voudin is not the type of nurse who decides as a child that a career in medicine is his future. Instead, Voudin decided that nursing was his calling while helping out during the Katrina hurricane in Louisiana. 

So, he heeded the call. Michael put himself through school all while raising his two young daughters as a single dad. From fetching his patient’s coffee to seeing the best in every person, Michael’s nominator explains that anything he does, he does with passion and places his patient and family first. “He has never had a bad patient nor has he ever had a patient not his ‘friend’ after their stay,” his nominator describes. Michael has even had patients turn up to the hospital months later to thank him for his car. 

Michael’s dream is to travel the United States and share his passion and touch as many people as possible through his nursing career.  

Amber Soucy, MSN, RN

What do Amber Saucy, a pair of drumsticks, and Led Zeppelin all have in common? 

Well, they all came together for one fateful night to make a giant difference in a patient’s life. Amber, who has been a nurse for 5 years, working both as a travel nurse and as a homecare nurse, showed just how dedicated she is to her patients when she contacted Jason Bonham, the drummer of Led Zeppelin, on behalf of her patient. Amber’s patient is an individual living with ALS whose favorite band just happens to be Led Zeppelin, so you can imagine her patient’s astonishment when he watched a personalized video from Jason Bonham himself, encouraging him to keep fighting. Jason had made the video at Amber’s request, but Amber wasn’t done yet. 

Fast forward one year and Jason Bonham announced a tour stop in Boston with his new band.  Amber contacted Jason again and was able to get free tickets for her patient and his family to attend the concert.  If that wasn’t enough, Amber spoke with the tour managers and managed to be invited backstage for a personal meet and greet. Jason stated he wanted to personally meet Amber’s patient because remaining so positive and strong while battling with ALS for fourteen years was truly inspiring and humbling. Jason then proceeded to give Amber’s patient signed drumsticks, a drum pad and even upgraded their tickets to the front section of the concert venue.

Reflecting on this experience, Amber stated: “Being diagnosed with ALS is like going to the casino knowing that every hand you're dealt is a losing one.  Well, on that concert day, I was able to deal with my patient a winning hand; ALS doesn't get to win.”

Darcy Maupin, MSN, RN

After losing her father when she was only 19, Darcy decided she wanted to become a nurse to make him proud. She started in the Emergency Department in a Level One Trauma hospital and after that, she has never looked back. After working for several years, Darcy became the Emergency Department Manager, where she not only manages her unit and staff but works with them. 

Darcy’s nominators describe how she is always taking care of her staff, whether that is staying up late to make cupcakes for her staff or picking up a shift when they are short-staffed. And if being an exemplary manager that always goes above and beyond wasn’t enough, Darcy also graduated in 2017 with her Master's degree. After graduating, she was offered a job as an ED director at a large hospital in the city and a considerable pay increase. Despite clearly being capable of the job, Darcy couldn't help but think of her staff and the countless people in their small community that frequented her ER and know her by name and vice versa. She elected to stay with her team and now has over 26 years experience as a nurse at KentuckyOne Health St. Joseph Berea. 

“Darcy really is the epitome of what nursing stands for,” her nominator, also a nurse, says. “What Florence Nightingale set out to do so many years ago, to help the wounded and inflicted regardless of circumstance, to CARE!!! I too am a nurse and wish I was just half the nurse she is and will continue to be.”

Till Manthey, RN


What kind of nurse is Till Manthey? Well, Till Manthey is the kind of nurse who, when he’s not working or attending classes at West Chester University, where he’s pursuing his BSN degree, is spending his time volunteering on nursing missions through Project Helping Hands and other similar do-good organizations. Despite traveling to destinations such as Cambodia and the Virgin Islands, Till brings his own medical supplies in order to better care for the patients in desperate need of medical care. 

In addition to the life-saving care he provides, Till’s nominator notes that the experiences he brings through his volunteer programs ultimately benefit the community and those around him too. And Till doesn’t just stop when his mission is up; instead, he continually strives to improve his skills by taking emergency healthcare courses through various government agencies such as FEMA. 

This emergency experience has proved invaluable to Tim’s clinical skills. For example, Till is always one of the first nurses in the room during a code (regardless if it’s his patient or not), and is always willing to provide assistance if needed. Till's leadership is seen throughout the floor and is currently working with management to improve the preceptor program for new nurses. In essence, his nominator sums up: “Till is a wonderful teammate, and embodies every value, trait, and skill that the foundation of nursing was built upon. I am truly lucky to have him as a teammate, and know him as a friend.”

Official rules 

NEXT UP: Boston Red Sox & Nurse Hero Contest. 

Email Signup

Find a job, learn, connect and laugh.

Try us out.

Join our newsletter