National League of NursingNational League of Nursing

The Voice of Nursing Education


The NLN bestows awards on individuals and organizations of stature and distinction within nursing education and the wider stage of American health care. The League’s core values of caring, integrity, diversity, and excellence provide the foundation for the pursuits these awards represent.

NLN President’s Award

The NLN President's Award reflects the priority the NLN gives to publicly recognizing leadership at a time and place designed to convey its importance to the widest possible audience of colleagues and peers in nursing education. Selected by the president of the NLN, past awards have been bestowed upon Polly Bednash, Linda Q. Everett,  Afaf I. Meleis,  Susan Hassmiller,  Courtney H. Lyder, Angela Barron McBride, Donna Shalala,  Daniel Inouye, Billye Brown, Amy Berman, Carrie Lenburg, Eleanor Elliot, Patricia Benner, and the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future.

The NLN Awards

Each year, the NLN Awards Committee seeks nominations from individuals and institutions who contribute to the NLN's mission: promoting excellence in nursing education to build a strong and diverse nursing workforce to advance the health of the nation and the global community. The NLN awardees are selected from a competitive field of nominees by the Awards Committee.

The NLN Awards are presented at the annual NLN Education Summit. Awards to be presented are decided annually. 

The NLN Mary Adelaide Nutting Award for Outstanding Teaching or Leadership in Nursing Education

An American educator, administrator, and author in the field of nursing, Mary Adelaide Nutting is considered the world's first professor of nursing.


  • Leads through scholarly activities
  • Contributes as a leader in nursing education
  • Encourages creative interactions with students from diverse backgrounds
  • Mentors and serves as role model for junior faculty.
  • Publishes scholarly works that advance nursing education knowledge
  • Is a member of the NLN

Past Awardees

2017: Jean Foret Giddens, PhD, RN, FAAN

2016: Pamela R. Jeffries, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF

2015: Donna Nickitas, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNE, FAAN

2014: Theresa M. “Terry” Valiga, EdD, RN, CNE, FAAN, ANEF

2012: Marion E. Broome, PhD, RN, FAAN; Patricia S. Yoder-Wise, EdD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, ANEF

2010: Lin Zhan, PhD, RN, FAAN

2008 Colleen Conway-Welch, PhD, CNM, FAAN, FACNM

2006: Diane M. Billings, EdD, RN, FAAN

2004: M. Louise Fitzpatrick, EdD, RN, FAAN

2002: Lois Malasanos, PhD, RN

The NLN Isabel Hampton Robb Award for Outstanding Leadership in Clinical Practice

Isabel Adams Hampton was the head of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, wrote several influential textbooks, and helped to found the organizations that became known as the National League for Nursing, the International Council of Nurses, and the American Nurses Association.


  • Inspires passion for clinical nursing
  • Promotes evidence-based practice by building practice-education partnerships
  • Encourages clinical expertise and interprofessional practice
  • Challenges students to expand their clinical knowledge base in new ways
  • Conducts scholarly research to assess learning outcomes that improve patient care
  • Fosters development of clinical reasoning in the culture of patient care

NLN Lillian Wald Humanitarian Award

Lillian D. Wald was a nurse; social worker; public health official; teacher; author; editor; publisher; activist for peace, women’s, children’s, and civil rights; and the founder and first president of the National Organization for Public Health Nursing. Her unselfish devotion to humanity is recognized around the world and her visionary programs have been widely copied.


  • Meets the ethical responsibilities of the nursing profession in keeping with the NLN core values of caring, integrity, diversity, and excellence
  • Improves the lives of those in need through selfless, courageous, creative, and compassionate acts
  • Cares for others regardless of personal risk or compensation
  • Embraces common moral decencies such as altruism, integrity, freedom, justice, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility, and compassion
  • Respects and embraces human diversity

The NLN Award for Public Policy Advancement

The public policy award honors deserving congres­sional leaders who contribute to the advancement of health care, nursing, and nurs­ing education in the United States.


  • Strong public advocacy and active leadership in support of quality health care for all; ethnic/ cultural/gender diversity; nurse workforce development or alle­viating the nurse faculty shortage.
  • Specific actions taken to advance health care policy and nursing education as delineated in the NLN Public Policy Agenda.


The honor will be awarded to a sitting member(s) of the US Congress for outstand­ing effort on behalf of nursing to advance health care and nursing education that benefits all of humanity.  The award may be presented for a specific achievement, act, or for a body of work extending over a period of years.

Number of Awards

One award will be given each year (which may be shared for joint efforts).

Nominations Committee

The Public Policy Committee reviews and discusses potential nominees, produces a summary report, and makes a recommendation to the NLN Board of Governors.

The Constituent League Leadership Awards

Each year, in two distinct categories, the NLN recognizes local leaders of constituent leagues who go the extra mile for their state, the NLN, and the nursing education community. The Outstanding Leadership of a Constituent League Award and the Innovative and Effective Membership Recruitment Award. The selection is based on nominations received from NLN-affiliated constituent leagues.