UTSW’s great 8: Nurses inducted into DFW Great 100

L to R (standing): Farida Minner, Shannon Chalk, Todd Bailey, Shannon Dunleavy, Linda Chan, Kelli Holzwarth, Liffy Cherian. Susan Hernandez (seated)

This year, eight UT Southwestern nurses join the ranks of the Dallas-Fort Worth Great 100 Nurses.

“We are very proud of these outstanding nurses, whose expertise, leadership, and compassion are being recognized with the prestigious DFW Great 100 Nurses Award,” said Dr. John Warner, Executive Vice President for Health System Affairs. “They are part of an exceptional nursing program, and we are grateful to them and to each of our UT Southwestern nursing colleagues for the significant, positive difference they make in the lives of the patients and families who entrust their care to us.”

Each year, the DFW Great 100 organization honors 100 registered nurses from across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex who were nominated by their peers for being role models, leaders, community servants, compassionate caregivers, and significant contributors to the nursing profession. The nurses recognized come from all practice areas in nursing including acute care, subacute care, school nursing, nurse leaders, academics, and many more.

UTSW’s eight Great 100 of 2018 were selected from more than 800 nominations submitted by patients, families, colleagues, teachers, and co-workers.

“I am so proud to work alongside such terrific nurses here every day,” said Victoria England, MBA, B.S.N., RN, NE-BC, Associate Chief Nursing Officer for Nurse Excellence. “I’m also honored to serve as president of DFW Great 100 Nurses while these eight UT Southwestern nurses are recognized for bringing passion, intelligence, and innovation to the job. Each of these nurses is amazing, and truly a Great 100.”

The 2018 DFW Great 100 inductees were honored at a reception and dinner on April 18 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.

Here’s a quick look at UTSW’s newest Great 100 members:

Todd J. Bailey

M.S., B.S.N., RN, NE-BC, Associate Chief Nursing Officer

Years as a nurse: 23

Specialty: Administration/Cardiology/Critical Care

Why did you go into nursing?

Nursing offers a challenge every day. Every environment I have worked in has been unique and allows me to interact with people from every walk of life. There has been a variety in my career – from the bedside to administration. What other career brings excitement and the ability to serve other people in times of their greatest need?

What does being named a Great 100 Nurse mean to you?

I am honored and humbled to be among so many great nurses. Many of my friends and peers have been honored in the past. I am proud to work alongside them and grateful for the recognition!

Shannon Chalk

B.S.N., RN, CCRN-CMC, Assistant Nurse Manager – Surgical ICU

Years as a nurse: 18

Field of specialty: Critical Care

Why did you go into nursing?

I was always fascinated with the science of the human body. I knew that as a nurse I could use my knowledge to help patients and families understand what was happening during a crisis. The combination of science, compassion, and teaching led me to nursing.

What does being named a Great 100 Nurse mean to you?

Recognition as a Great 100 Nurse is one of the highlights of my career. I am honored to be recognized by my peers for the work that I’ve done. So many fantastic leaders and nurses are represented, and I am humbled to be included with this amazing group.

Linda Chan

B.S.N., RN, OCN, Staff Nurse, Inpatient Surgical Oncology Unit

Years as a nurse: 28

Field of specialty: Oncology

Why did you go into nursing?

Way back in elementary school, it was a privilege to go to the library for good behavior. I happened on a book series about a home health nurse and her impact on patients and the community. That was my first inspiration. I went on to practice home health for 14 years and then moved to inpatient oncology when my children went away to college.

What does being named a Great 100 Nurse mean to you?

Receiving a nomination and being recognized as a Great 100 Nurse is a huge honor. For peers to make time to write a nomination is an enormous compliment. Then, to be selected as a Great 100 Nurse from such a large pool of qualified, diverse, and compassionate nurses goes beyond words. I treasure this moment and this award as a highlight in my nursing career.

Liffy Cherian

M.S.N., AG-CNS-BC, APRN, OCN, Clinical Nurse Educator

Years as a nurse: 23

Specialty: Oncology, Bone Marrow Transplant

Why did you go into nursing?

Even though I started in nursing thinking of it as just another profession, I slowly started falling in love with it. Now when I look back I do not think I could have chosen a better profession. I love what I am doing and I believe God wanted the best for me. 

What does being named a Great 100 Nurse mean to you?

I am humbled to be presented this great honor and to be part of such an awesome group of dedicated, compassionate, and caring nurses. I am also blessed to know I have touched lives and made a difference to them.

Shannon Dunleavy

B.S.N., RN, CCRN, Staff Nurse, Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit

Years as a nurse: 2½ years

Specialty: Neuro ICU

Why did you go into nursing?

My grandfather was a neurosurgeon. He always talked about the nurses he worked with and how they were the real “lifesavers.” His kind words about nurses made me want to be one of those lifesavers.

What does being named a Great 100 Nurse mean to you?

It’s a tremendous honor. It is a testament to the environment I work in, the supportive peers around me, and the leaders who have guided me.

Susan Hernandez

MBA, B.S.N., RN, UT Southwestern Health System Chief Nurse Executive

Years as a nurse: 22

Specialty: Health System leadership

Why did you go into nursing?

My mother would say I wanted to be a nurse from a very young age, but for me, the moment of truth came through a nurse named Paula. I watched her provide great care for my aging granddaddy as he was treated for heart disease. I wanted to be Paula. She was smart, kind, funny, compassionate, and focused when it counted. She also realized the need and value of caring for not just the patient, but the entire family. I knew I wanted to support others through their own challenging times with grace and professionalism.

What does being named a Great 100 Nurse mean to you?

It is humbling to be named a Great 100 Nurse. I am a product of the support and mentorship from countless other “great” nurses during the course of my career, and I have developed a passion for lifting the vision of nurses around me so that they recognize their own greatness.

Kelli Holzwarth

B.S.N., CMSRN, Staff Nurse, Surgery

Years as a nurse: 3 years in June

Specialty: Urology, Gynecology, and Plastic Surgery

Why did you go into nursing?

Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Nursing is a beautiful gift because it allows you to not only help heal a patient physically, but also touch the heart and soul of the patient and family. Being able to provide hope, healing, and encouragement to a patient in a dark and stressful time is truly a blessing.

What does being named a Great 100 Nurse mean to you?

Being a “Great 100 Nurse” is an honor because it recognizes excellence in every sense. Excellent patient-centered care. Excellent patient advocate. Excellent professionalism. Excellent leadership and mentoring. Excellent customer service. Excellent community involvement. Excellent teamwork. Excellent professional growth. I love what I do, but to be recognized for my efforts and achievements with this prestigious award is truly wonderful.

Farida S. Minner

B.S.N., RNC-NIC, RN Charge

Years as a nurse: 38-plus

Specialty: Neonatal Intensive Care

Why did you go into nursing?

I come from a family of nine, and from a family of nurses from many generations. One thing I can say is that being a nurse has enhanced my passion and compassion. This profession allows me to have this great attitude, knowing that I’m always proud of “taking care of others first before me.”

What does being named a Great 100 Nurse mean to you?

I am so humbled with great honor to be one of the Dallas-Fort Worth Great 100 Nurses. This is an award that will be embedded in my heart. It will be a reminder in my life that I have made a big difference in my profession, my patients, my colleagues, and my family and friends.