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2017 Excellence in Leadership Award Winner: Jayne Willis

The mission of Sigma is to advance world health and celebrate nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Based on this mission, Theta Epsilon’s Nursing Excellence Awards were created in 2017. These awards are given to 1-3 members a year, depending on the number of nominations received, and each recipient receives a monetary prize. The award categories are Scholarship, Leadership, and Service.

Applications open each year from April 1st to May 21st. Self-nominations are accepted. The winners are announced yearly at Theta Epsilon’s Spring General Meeting. Click here for more information on our General Excellence Awards.

In 2017, the winner of Theta Epsilon’s Nursing Excellence in Leadership Award was Jayne Willis. Willis took the time to answer some questions about nursing and leadership.

How long have you been a Sigma member?

I was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau in 1994 when I completed my MSN at University of Florida.

How long have you a nurse?

I have been a nurse for 36 years. I was promoted to an assistant nurse manager 2 years after I graduated and have had progressive leadership roles throughout my career. I am currently the Chief Nurse Executive at Orlando Health. I have spent my entire career at Orlando Health and will celebrate 37 years of service to the organization in May of 2019. I started as a graduate nurse and have held positions as a staff RN, assistant nurse manager, nursing operations manager, patient care administrator, chief nursing officer and have served as the Vice President for Nursing since 2017.

What does leadership mean to you?

I have always been passionate about leadership and feel that I have the ability to make contributions to patient care by impacting the professional practice environment for nurses. I feel that my role is to remove barriers so that nurses can make their ultimate contributions to our patients.

What inspires you?

I have two heroes that I look to for inspiration in my life. One is Mother Teresa, who inspires me to “do ordinary things with extraordinary love,” and reminds us all that, “at the moment of death we will not be judged according to the good deeds we have done or by the diplomas we have received in our lifetime. We will be judged according to the love we have put into our work.” The second hero is Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing whose courage and wisdom continues to be applied to this day. She stated: “I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse.” I have a large portrait of Florence Nightingale on the wall of my office and I look to her teachings frequently to guide me as a nurse leader.

What advice do you have for other Theta Epsilon members who want to become more involved in leadership roles and activities?

My advice to Theta Epsilon members who would like to pursue leadership roles is to identify a mentor. I wouldn’t be the leader I am today without the support of my mentor who pushed me out of my comfort zone. Never lose sight of the reason we selected the noble profession of nursing. We are so blessed to be able to do this work and to have access to such high quality education to support our success.

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