AONL Press Releases

AONL Announces Recipients of Annual Membership Awards

Press Release

Chicago (April 26, 2023)

The American Organization for Nursing Leadership today announced the recipients of its 2023 awards, which highlight AONL members, a hospital, a state affiliate and an honorary member demonstrating exemplary leadership practices. AONL will honor the recipients during its annual conference May 2-4 in Anaheim, Calif.

Our Lady of the Lake to Receive AONL Prism Diversity Award  
The AONL Prism Award, sponsored by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recognizes an organization that has advanced diversity efforts within the nursing profession, the community or organization. Our Lady of the Lake Health, a Baton Rouge hospital within the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, implemented a Dialogue on Race series for leadership and staff, embedded social determinants of health questions in nursing assessments and patient records, connected patients to community-based social services and implemented organizationwide resources for hearing impaired individuals, English as a second language patients and interpretation services.

Matson to Receive the Pamela Austin Thompson Emerging Leader Award
The emerging leader award, named after AONL CEO Emeritus Pamela Austin Thompson, recognizes an engaged AONL member who exhibits significant potential as a future health care leader and demonstrates exemplary leadership within his or her organization, community and the nursing profession. Megan Seston Matson, DNP, RN, is an assistant nursing director at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston. Matson worked to improve new graduate nurses’ ability to recognize a deteriorating patient and activate rapid response, as well as to improve critical care nurse orientation. She also worked to assess the impact of proactive rounding by rapid response nurses to support inpatient nurses and improve care. She also chaired a hospital committee charged with providing meaningful recognition of patient care associates, medical assistants and emergency services assistants. Matson was the first bedside nurse to serve on the AONL Board of Directors and chaired AONL’s Young Professional Voices program.

Mook to Receive AONL Exemplary Leadership Award
The AONL Exemplary Leadership Award recognizes a nurse leader who significantly influenced professional nursing practice, leadership and the professional development of others. Patricia Mook, MSN, RN, is enterprise vice president, nursing operations and professional development at Advocate Health, headquartered in Charlotte. Mook is a transformational leader, influencing care delivery and the professional development of thousands of nurses. She led the implementation of a virtual nurse observation care model, increased the diversity of her nursing leadership team and spearheaded efforts to create a new enterprise shared governance model. Mook is helping to shape the future of nursing through her participation in three AONL Foundation Think Tanks focused on technology and care delivery innovation. She is a founding member of AONL’s Nurse Leaders in Advocacy program, a fellow in AONL and is board certified as an advanced nurse executive with the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Johnson and Johnson’s Lynda Benton to Receive the AONL Honorary Member Award
The AONL Honorary Member Award recognizes an individual who supports AONL’s mission and contributes to advancing health care through the association’s core business. A champion for nursing and nurse leaders, Lynda Benton, senior director, global community impact, leads the strategy for Johnson & Johnson’s 125-year commitment to advocating for, elevating and supporting the nursing profession, working with partners to elevate awareness of the value and impact of the nursing profession through advertising and storytelling; working to catalyze a workplace culture and environment where nurses can thrive through Nurse Innovation Fellowships, hackathons, mental health and wellness resources, and grants through the Johnson & Johnson Foundation to evaluate innovative care delivery models; and working to diversify the nursing profession at all levels and prepare student to succeed by supporting nursing scholarships for diverse students, providing nursing leadership development support, and educational resources for students and all nurses. Benton serves on the AONL Workforce Committee, co-leading the positive practice environment subcommittee. 

Organization of Nurse Leaders of New Jersey to Receive AONL Affiliate Achievement Award 
The AONL Affiliate Achievement Award recognizes an AONL affiliate promoting nursing leadership and its influence in advancing nursing practice, patient safety, quality, recruitment and retention and serves as a model for other states or regions with similar interests. Organization of Nurse Leaders of New Jersey supported the creation of hospital-based councils empowered to make evidence-based decisions to improve nurses’ work environments and patient care. In response to efforts to regulate nurse staffing through nurse-to-patient ratio legislation, members of the affiliate formed a task force for all stakeholders to develop alternative ways to address staffing concerns. After examining the available research, they created the first hospital-based nursing workforce environment and staffing councils in New Jersey and piloted them in nine hospitals. Their success fueled the establishment of such councils in another 36 health care organizations in the state.

About the American Organization for Nursing Leadership

As the national professional organization of more than 12,000 nurse leaders, the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) is the voice of nursing leadership. Our membership encompasses nurse leaders working in hospitals, health systems, academia and other care settings across the care continuum. Since 1967, the organization has led the field of nursing leadership through professional development, advocacy and research that advances nursing leadership practice and patient care. AONL is an affiliate of the American Hospital Association. For more information, visit