Anne Arundel Medical Center Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer Sherry Perkins, RN, PhD, was awarded a Nursing Excellence Award for “Advancing and Leading the Profession” by Nurse.com Nursing Spectrum for the Maryland/Washington, D.C./Virginia region.
“I do what I do because I want what’s best for our patients,” said Perkins. “I couldn’t ask for a better team.”
Contenders are peer-nominated and included staff nurses, specialists, nurse practitioners, vice presidents, and nurse executives who work in settings as disparate as occupational health, education, intensive care, cardiology, and pediatrics. These nurses have found ways to raise the bar for their peers and for the quality of life of their patients. There were five finalists in each of the six categories for a total of 30 finalists. The Advancing and Leading the Profession category is for well-known and respected RNs who are visionary, innovative leaders and change agents who have moved the profession forward.
Perkins has strengthened the culture of nursing since her arrival at the health system in 2006. Her responsibilities include quality improvement, information systems management, human resources, and clinical and support services. Armed with executive nurse theory and a vision for nursing excellence, Perkins has worked to enhance the structure of nursing at AAMC, implementing several quality initiatives, nursing councils, evidence-based practice, and education opportunities, which have given nurses a voice.
Perkins has been a role model for the nursing profession by not only encouraging professional development in others but achieving her own goals, obtaining an advanced nurse executive certification last year. She completed the Iron Girl Triathlon in Columbia, Md. last year and has inspired more than a dozen nurses to compete this year. As a major advocate for patient and family centered care, Perkins has overseen efforts including open visiting hours, improved patient access to the medical record, and better care coordination and communication.
“I think what distinguishes Sherry is her ability to connect with everyone in the hospital,” writes the AAMC nurse who nominated Perkins. “When you talk to her, you feel like you’re the only thing that matters to her at that moment. She doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk. She is very visible as a leader and is seen throughout the hospital. She’s not sitting in an office somewhere. I am a neonatal nurse and she was on our unit one day and she fed a baby and even changed his diaper!”
She leads the statewide effort to improve nurses’ transition to practice and serves on the Maryland Hospital Association Council on Clinical Quality. She is President-Elect of the Maryland Organization of Nurse Executives and was recently named to the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Patient Safety Center.
This fall, Perkins will represent the region in the National Nursing Excellence Awards.