Nominations are now closed

Nominations are now closed

About the Nursing Excellence GEM Awards program

At, recognition of nursing excellence has been an important part of our company mission for nearly 30 years. We're proud that we have a national program to honor nurses and the extraordinary contributions they make to patients, the nursing profession and the healthcare system. Our GEM (Giving Excellence Meaning) Awards program is unique in that all of the nurses we recognize each year are nominated, selected and honored by nurses.

Each year, we send out a call for nominations in our magazines and online at Hundreds of nurses come forward to tell us about their RN colleagues who they see in action each and every day, making important differences in the lives of those they serve. Nominations come in online at, and are blinded, reviewed, judged and ranked by panels of nurse executives and members of regional and national advisory boards during the various phases of the program. Thirty regional finalists are selected and honored by their colleagues, families and friends at GEM Awards events in six cities during May and June. The six regional winners, one from each category, who are announced at the GEM events are later judged again and six national winners are announced at the end of the summer and honored in congratulatory receptions at their workplaces.

Nurse nominees may work in clinical practice, education or management; they may be in the inpatient or outpatient setting; and they may have staff, administrative or executive roles. Some may be employed by hospitals, schools or nursing homes while others may work in home care roles or in diagnostic centers. They may be part of professional organizations, clinics, private practices or businesses, or they may give of themselves in special humanitarian and volunteer service roles to others at home or in different parts of the world. No matter the position, the setting or the specialty, all of the nominees are nurses who are doing great things, raising the bar on service and quality and improving outcomes in ways that make them excellent, outstanding, amazing and inspirational.

To encompass the wide variety of roles they may play, and to include a variety of specialties and patient care settings in our program, nurses may submit nominations in six different categories:

Advancing and Leading the Profession: An RN who is well-known and respected as a visionary, innovative leader and change agent, who moves the profession forward through work in patient care administration, education or research, or strengthens it through other professional activities, endeavors or contributions.

Clinical Nursing, Inpatient: An RN who demonstrates superior clinical nursing knowledge and expert skills, and applies both in ways that measurably impact the quality of care and improve patient care outcomes in any inpatient clinical setting or nursing specialty.

Education and Mentorship: An RN who contributes to nursing's body of knowledge through formal nursing education, skills training or continuing education, or who guides, supports or influences nurses' career development in meaningful, measurable ways.

Home, Community and Ambulatory Care: An RN who exemplifies outstanding clinical knowledge and nursing expertise in caring for patients in settings outside the hospital in professional home care nursing, home hospice, sub-acute and intermediate, or in other ambulatory community, industrial, or school nurse roles.

Patient and Staff Management: An RN who makes significant contributions to the management, supervision or direction of the environment of care and the performance of staff, demonstrating an ability to lead, influence and improve outcomes of care in any inpatient or outpatient setting.

Volunteerism and Service: An RN who gives of self in outstanding humanitarian and/or heroic ways by providing nursing care, skills and expertise in outreach to the community, either at home or abroad, to improve the lives, well-being, and healthcare of others.

Special Rising Star Award: An RN for less than five years who possesses superior nursing skills, is knowledgeable about current nursing and healthcare issues, demonstrates strong leadership characteristics and goes above and beyond normal role demands to make a difference and affect change.