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Nurses Honored & Celebrated at NCNA Annual Convention

September 20, 2022

RALEIGH, NC - Nearly 500 registered nurses from across the state gathered in Raleigh on September 15-16 for the North Carolina Nurses Association’s (NCNA) 115th Annual Convention. The event primarily provides an opportunity for professional development, continuing education, and networking, while also serving as a chance to honor nurses and those outside the profession who have made significant impacts on healthcare.

“It seems like every time we get together it gets better. This year, the energy is so high; the engagement, the enthusiasm. It fills my cup meeting new people, seeing them network and connect,” said NCNA President Meka Douthit EL, DNP, RN, NE-BC. “This is the place where we advocate for education, practice, policy, and so much more. There is something for everybody.”




During the Awards Luncheon, NCNA inducted a past president into its Hall of Fame, named seven award winners, and celebrated the graduation of its 10th Leadership Academy.

Awards Granted

  • Hall of Fame: Dr. Ernestine Small, from Memphis, TN. A trailblazer who served as NCNA’s first Black president, Dr. Small was the first Black faculty member of UNC-Greensboro, the first Black board member of the North Carolina Board of Nursing, and was instrumental in helping NCNA pass important changes to the Nurse Practice Act in the early 1980s. Go here to watch her acceptance speech.
  • Practice Nurse of the Year: NCNA member Ladsine Taylor, from Salisbury
  • Administration Nurse of the Year: NCNA member Libby Carver, from Graham
  • Joanne S Stevens Political/Legislative Nurse of the Year: NCNA member Stacy Yancey, from Asheboro
  • Mentorship in Nursing Award: NCNA member Leslie Sharpe, from Cary
  • Outstanding Service Award: NCNA member Christy Swinson, from Fayetteville
  • Legislator of the Year: Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham
  • Legislator of the Year: NCNA member Rep. Gale Adcock, D-Wake

Leadership Academy Graduates

  • NCNA member Gari Leigh Adams, from Pinnacle
  • NCNA member Liz Bell-McClure, from Hillsborough
  • NCNA member Sherry Bernardo, from Iron Station
  • NCNA member Stephanie Brogdon, from Durham
  • NCNA member Patricia Coe Hoosier, from Dobson
  • NCNA member Jermecka Covington, from Spring Lake
  • NCNA member Kristie Davis-Collins, from Greensboro
  • NCNA member Kimberly Delgado, from Greenville
  • NCNA member Autumn Henson, from Clemmons
  • NCNA member Trynequa Jones, from Wake Forest
  • Jessica Metzler, from Waxhaw
  • Whitney "Laurel" Meyer, from New Bern
  • NCNA member Tunisha Mosley, from Wendell
  • NCNA member Diane Parker, from Wrightsville Beach
  • Tara Shumard, from Marshville
  • NCNA member Christy Watkins, from Williamston
  • NCNA member Trish West, from Concord

This year’s Convention focused heavily on the state of healthcare in 2022; while society at-large has moved past the coronavirus pandemic, nurses are struggling with serious workforce shortages, burnout, and increasing violence/abuse at the workplace. NCNA’s Statewide Membership Forum, which is designed to help guide the association’s priorities, was dedicated entirely to workplace violence and verbal abuse. Attendees considered the impact these issues have had on their workplace and ways that NCNA can help support a comprehensive culture of safety and zero-tolerance to abuse and violence in healthcare settings.

“Over the past few years, these issues have been getting worse and our members have increasingly been sounding the alarm,” NCNA CEO Tina Gordon said. “Nurses need to be heard and they need to know they’re not alone with their concerns, and I’m glad NCNA was able to support our members by giving them a platform on this incredibly important topic. This conversation gave us critical input we can take to our partners in healthcare systems, at the regulatory level, and in the North Carolina General Assembly to better address these issues.”

Previous Statewide Membership Forums have centered around nurse resiliency and burnout; implicit bias and health inequities; human trafficking; and the opioid epidemic. The Annual Convention typically gives NCNA and its members a chance to prepare for the challenges and opportunities that will shift with the new year, and NCNA feels confident it will continue to gain momentum heading into 2023.


Chris Cowperthwaite, APR
Director of Communications & Outreach
(919) 821-4250 or

As the leading professional organization for North Carolina’s registered nurses, we equip nurses at all stages to thrive in an ever-changing healthcare environment. NCNA helps keep North Carolina nurses on the cutting edge of nursing practice, policy, education, and more. Join us as we work to advance nursing and ensure high-quality healthcare for everyone.

Established in 1902, NCNA provides continuing education, networking and legislative advocacy for registered nurses throughout North Carolina. For more information, please visit

The North Carolina Nurses Association serves the changing needs of its members, addresses nursing issues, and advocates for the health and well-being of all people.