Volunteering On the Front Lines of Global Health
Chamberlain College of Nursing’s Distinguished Alumni Award honors a post licensure Chamberlain alumnus who embodies what it means to be an extraordinary nurse equipped with the values, behaviors and knowledge base required to lead positive change in today’s healthcare environment.
On August 1 at the summer post licensure commencement ceremony in Chicago, Chamberlain’s first ever Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Kathleen Burns, DNP, RN, whose 25-year nursing career has focused on making a difference for her patients and community.
Burns, who earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from Chamberlain in April 2015, is a clinical nurse specialist at Medina General Hospital, part of the Cleveland Clinic Health System in Medina, Ohio. She works within the patient, nursing and organizational spheres to improve outcomes and provide clinical expertise to effect system-wide changes to programs of care. She also serves as coordinator for the hospital’s certified primary stroke center.
Under Burns’ leadership, Medina Hospital’s stroke program was recognized in 2015 by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association with the Gold Quality Achievement Award. With her team of clinical experts, Burns is currently leading the pilot of an electronic early warning system to improve identification of and treatment for signs of early clinical deterioration in medical and surgical patients.
“It is such an honor to receive Chamberlain’s first Distinguished Alumni Award. I began my nursing career out of a desire to help others. I never imagined the path my career would take or the opportunities nursing would present over the years,” said Burns. “As I look back, I can see how the knowledge and experience gained with each role led to new challenges and growth opportunities.”
Burns utilizes her leadership and nursing skills and in her volunteer work with Boy Scouts of America. She worked with a national team of volunteers to develop and implement a medical services plan for more than 35,000 scouts, visitors and volunteers at a 10-day high adventure event.
“My volunteer work played a pivotal role in my development, allowing me to lead and interact with nurses from across the country and work collaboratively on an interprofessional team to address issues facing today’s youth,” said Burns.
From her professional role as a clinical nurse specialist to her volunteer efforts, Burns demonstrates integrity as she works to improve patient safety, care and outcomes. She sets high standards for herself and treats others with respect, serving as a positive role model for the nurses she mentors.
“Dr. Burns is an outstanding example of the impact Chamberlain’s graduates are having in communities around the country,” said Dr. Carole Eldridge, vice president of Chamberlain’s post licensure programs. “We are inspired by her clinical and volunteer work, and proud to have facilitated her doctoral education. This honor highlights the far-reaching influence of nurse leaders with graduate educations who use sound clinical and leadership knowledge to improve clinical practice.”
All post licensure Chamberlain alumni are eligible to receive this annual award. Each year, Chamberlain alumni will be asked to nominate a classmate or colleague for consideration by the selection committee. Nominations will then be reviewed by the Alumni Award Committee and the honoree will be selected from all entries.
“Obtaining my DNP from Chamberlain has elevated my nursing practice as I incorporate advanced leadership skills and concepts into programs and initiatives to improve patient safety and outcomes,” said Burns. “I am proud to be a Chamberlain alumna and would encourage all nurses to seek opportunities to grow and develop personally and professionally and consider advancing your nursing practice by earning a graduate degree.”