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National Awards Program

Through the National Awards Program, the American Nurses Association (ANA) identifies those who exemplify the very best in the profession of nursing; honors their contributions to the nursing profession and the field of health care; and recognizes the positive difference that they have made in the lives of their colleagues, patients, families, as well as the communities in which they live. 


A primary goal of the ANA National Awards Program is to promote the outstanding accomplishments and significant achievements of individual registered nurses in the delivery of health care to those in the nursing profession as well as to other health professionals, government officials, and the public. The ANA National Awards Program also identifies and recognizes champions of nursing  –  leaders who have made significant contributions in support of the nursing profession despite not being members of the nursing profession. 


September 1, 2023 – The Call for Nominations for the American Nurses Association (ANA) National Awards is underway. If you are considering nominating yourself or a colleague for an ANA National Award, please review the National Awards Program Guide.  The Guide includes important information, such as:

  • A description of each award, including eligibility requirements and selection criteria;
  • An overview of the award nomination process, including tips for submitting a strong nomination and a link to the online nomination form; and
  • Timelines for the submission and review of award nominations.

National Award Categories

Awards for Distinguished Practice in Nursing recognize excellence in nursing research, nursing education, or nursing practice, and outstanding professional contributions of an ANA member in the areas of research, education, clinical care, direct patient care, or public health.  

  • Distinguished Direct Patient Care Award, inspired by Mary Ellen Patton, recognizes an individual registered nurse who provides exemplary direct patient care and contributes to the advancement of nursing practice by demonstrating a commitment to personal leadership development and serving as an inspirational role model for others.
  • Early Career Nurse Leader Award, for significant accomplishments and contributions by emerging members of the nursing profession. 

  • Foundations of Nursing Practice Award, inspired by Jessie M. Scott, recognizes an individual registered nurse for achieving outstanding accomplishments in nursing research, nursing education or nursing practice.
  • Public Health Service Award, inspired by Pearl McIver, recognizes the exceptional leadership and outstanding professional contributions of a public health nurse in shaping the role and advancing the practice of public health nursing.

Awards for Nurse Exemplars promote and underscore ANA's continuing dedication to the principles of nursing ethics and the highest standards of nursing practice.

  • ANA Hall of Fame Award, for extraordinary contributions to the nursing profession over a sustained period through distinguished service, steadfast leadership, exceptional mentorship, effective advocacy, and innovative efforts that have had an enduring impact on the health and/or social/political history of the United States..
  • Leadership in Ethics Award, for demonstrating the highest standards of ethics and leadership in his/her daily practice, serving as an ethical role model, and promoting ethical dialogue and/or scholarship.

Awards for Nursing Champions recognize outstanding accomplishments in the area of advocacy for the profession of nursing and for ANA.

  • Advocacy Award, inspired by Barbara Thoman Curtis, Hildegard Peplau and Shirley Titus, recognizes the individual registered nurse who embraces the role of advocate as part of his/her professional identity.

  • Champion of Nursing Award, recognizes the contributions of an extraordinary leader or organization who is not a member of the nursing profession.

Awards for Nursing Pioneers recognize outstanding contributions to social justice that removed barriers and advanced a culture of equity and inclusion in the profession of nursing.

  • Luther Christman Award, for substantial contributions made by an individual man in nursing to the profession of nursing in areas that include, but are not limited to, practice, research, education, public policy and/or community service.

  • Mary Mahoney Award, for significant contributions, by an individual registered nurse or a group of registered nurses, to integration within the nursing profession.

For questions about the ANA National Awards Program contact

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The American Nurses Foundation is a separate charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation does not engage in political campaign activities or communications.

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