We are proud to congratulate Riverside's 2017 Virginia Nurses Foundation Leadership Excellence Award winners. Find details below.

Award winners

Riverside College of Health Careers

Robin Robin NelhuebelNelhuebel, PhD, RN, RT(R)
Award Category: Nursing School Dean/Director
Dr. Nelhuebel is an effective nurse leader with a distinctive set of personal qualities: integrity, courage, initiative and an ability to handle stress. She is respected for her ability to communicate, collaborate and problem-solve effectively and creatively. She has a welcoming spirit with the desire to do the right thing for the right reason. She is a strong voice for nursing and health care, while also being an advocate for the patient and community.


Riverside Doctors' Hospital Williamsburg

Arlene MArlene Messinaessina, RN, MSN, CCRN, CPHQ
Award Category: Chief Nursing Officer
Arlene is incredibly supportive and fosters an environment of respect and teamwork. As the Chief Nursing Officer at Riverside Doctors’ Hospital, she leads with her own example of compassion and care for our patients. In fact, it is not beneath her to put on scrubs and join us in the ranks of providing patient care at the bedside. This is what sets her apart — this dedication and commitment of putting patients at the center of what we do.


Riverside Walter Reed Hospital

TTim Kisnerimothy Kisner, RN
Award Category: Direct Patient Care Leader — Patient Experience
Tim Kisner has a large presence in our busy community ER. Patient and teammates often refer to him as the “big guy with the big heart.” His energy and love of nursing show with each patient interaction. Tim is the first one to take on challenging situations in the emergency room. He has an infectious smile and his ability to calm and reassure patients and families is like none other and a true gift.

Others nominated

Riverside Doctors' Hospital Williamsburg

Margaret Atkins, RN-BC, MSN, OCN
Award Category: Nursing Informatics
Meg is a unique individual with a balance of important qualities that will support her continuing to excel in the nursing profession. She is always a team player and able to focus on the patient as the center of everything she does. Meg sets high standards for herself with a purposeful drive, providing good communication to the people who can help her achieve positive results.

Jane Burnette, RN, MSN, CEN
Award Category: Nurse Manager/Director
In the first nine months of opening, Jane helped lead the ED team and hospital to meeting the requirements for successful certification of RDHW as a Primary Stroke Center. Jane’s team often receives excellent customer reviews for the services and care they provide. Jane’s visionary and consistent leadership has enabled many of this department’s accomplishments.

Michelle Carter, RN
Award Category: Direct Patient Care Leader — Patient Experience
Michelle continues to care for the patients even when they are not under her service. She goes above and beyond! It’s not just about discharges, it’s about all the hard work that Michelle does to make a difference and support families. In her RN Case Manager nursing role, Michelle takes on daily challenges effortlessly with compassion and confidence in partnership with her patients. She is a true advocate and exemplifies this at Riverside Doctors’ Hospital Williamsburg day after day.

Elisa Lemmon, RN, MSN, CMSRN
Award Category: Nurse Educator
Elisa's care was life-changing for the patient who shared this story: “I was in a horrible accident that left me with a broken hip and a body full of pain. Before my surgery I was on the medical floor where this nurse cared for my needs. This nurse helped me prepare for my surgery. This nurse’s admirable spirit gave me hope to continue living despite my very own broken spirit. This nurse was sensitive to my needs and displayed the true meaning of what being a nurse represents. As a result of compassion, I am moving forward in my recovery.”

Jacquoline McCall, RN
Award Category: Direct Patient Care Leader — Patient Experience
Jacquie is an exceptional nurse. She is highly skilled, dedicated and compassionate. As Charge Nurse, Jacquie is a wonderful resource for many of our staff nurses for any questions about nursing. She is recognized for her clinical competence by the way she empowers staff with the clinical knowledge and technical skills they need to provide safe and quality patient care.

Cathryn Mitchell, RN, BSN, CPHQ
Award Category: Direct Patient Care Leader — Patient Safety
Cathy is a highly effective and qualified nurse working as our Stroke & Clinical Quality Outcomes Coordinator. Cathy joined RDHW in 2012 before our opening in May of 2013 as a part of our leadership team with oversight of quality and safety. She quickly brought to us her skills as a strong clinical nurse with an emergency department background and her love for understanding and pursuing high quality outcomes and processes.

Mira Shata, RN
Award Category: Direct Patient Care Leader — Patient Experience
The ultimate patient advocate, there is nothing Mira will not do if it benefits the patient or the nursing unit. Mira has a wonderful rapport with physicians, staff and peers of all disciplines. She is knowledgeable, well respected, and a team player. Mira is also loving and devoted to her patients. She gives exceptional care to them and offers support to their families. She serves as a mentor and is a fantastic preceptor. She genuinely cares about our patients, staff, families and coworkers.

Riverside Lifelong Health and Aging Related Services

Theresa Farley, RN
Award Category: Direct Patient Care Leader — Patient Safety
Theresa currently serves as the Clinical Educator for four long-term care facilities and one assisted-living facility. She is a trusted part of her nursing homes and is seen as a leader by the leadership team and front-line employees. She is an integral part of the Lifelong Health Education Team, providing guidance to other educators and mentoring new educators. She is active on the systemwide IV Committee, which works to standardize IV products and procedures to improve patient safety.

Cheryl Rudolph, LPN
Award Category: Direct Patient Care Leader — Patient Safety
As a proponent for defining the nursing care and needs required for our residents, Cheryl bases staffing decisions on acuity, not raw patient numbers, to support the best patient care. For many of our residents this is their home. This makes her the champion for our staff, residents and patient safety. Due to her compassion, efforts and skills, Cheryl has earned the respect, gratitude and trust of the staff, residents and family members.

Riverside Regional Medical Center

Sharon Easter, RNC, CDE
Award Category: Direct Patient Care Leader — Patient Experience
Sharon goes above and beyond to assist staff and patients. She identifies, assesses and implements improved standards of care for diabetic patients, but also provides and reinforces education with the nursing staff about diabetes management. She has the ability to connect with each patient at their level and finds creative ways to help them live with their disease and not let the disease take over their life. Both patients and staff are inspired by her kindness and compassion. She exudes positive energy and uses that to help all those she comes in contact with.

Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital

James Abbott, RN, CMSRN
Award Category: Direct Patient Care Leader — Patient Experience
James demonstrates a commitment to serving patients and makes an impact on the patient experience through compassionate care, effective communication and an attitude focused on exceeding expectations. James was also nominated as a Champion of Caring by the family member of a patient who wrote, “I had the opportunity to witness first-hand the kindness and compassion James Abbott showed to my great uncle, age 92. James was gentle in his manner, his tone and touch while holding my great uncle’s hand when talking to him.”

Sarah Shotwell, RN, BSN, IBCLC
Award Category: Direct Patient Care Leader — Patient Experience
Sarah has made a tremendous difference to women in our community. She has certainly improved the delivery of health care beyond our own facility as many of the outpatient consults and support group members have been patients from other facilities. She has strengthened our department and our community by helping give our babies the best start in life.

Riverside Walter Reed Hospital

Betty Distel, RN
Award Category: Direct Patient Care Leader — Patient Experience
In February 2017, a young pregnant woman presented to the ER with fever and flu-like symptoms. The patient reported that “Betty was the kindest nurse she ever met” and that not only did she give her excellent care, but she exceeded expectations through the care of her son. Betty made sure that not only her patient was fed, but also provided food for the son. She took the time to find items around the ER to entertain him, cartoons on the TV, and a special popsicle. The patient expressed that she did not just feel like a number or a diagnosis but she felt loved.

Kaley Edwards, RN
Award Category: Direct Patient Care Leader — Patient Safety
Patient safety is in the forefront of every nurse’s mind, but few nurses take it to exceptional levels. Kaley is one of those nurses who is driven by patient safety. She has a great eye for detail and demonstrates a commitment to question any safety concern. Kaley is a role model and resource for not only our ER, but the entire hospital.

Meredith Holaday, RN
Award Category: Direct Patient Care Leader — Patient Experience
Meredith is committed to providing compassionate care for each patient she comes in contact with. She takes time to listen and help answer her patients' concerns, as well as those of their families. Meredith also advocates for her patients and anticipates their needs by being attentive and listening with empathy. Because of her commitment to providing excellent patient care, she has been recognized by patients and their families as a Champion of Caring numerous times for living out the Riverside mission of “caring for others as we would care for those we love.”

Cheryl Riley, MSN, RN, CNE
Award Category: Nursing Informatics
Cheryl has a talent for connecting at the most human level to care for those in need and teach important skills. One example is helping an anxious staff member calmly undertake the challenges that come with a new charting system. She does all of this calmly and reassuringly and makes it all look effortless. She serves a role model to all around her, not only in the world of informatics, but in nursing as a profession.

Michelle Shepeluk, RN, BSN, CCRN
Award Category: Direct Patient Care Leader — Patient Experience
Michelle is one of those people that you connect with soon after you meet her. She embraces the art of caring. One specific example of how Michelle impacted patient experience through compassionate care is when she created a pillow and cushions for a quadriplegic patient who was devastated when his favorite jersey had to be cut in order to provide care. Michelle not only took the patient’s jersey home to make cushions and pillows but also went online to purchase a new jersey for the gentleman.