The Advanced Practice Nurse Hero Award recognizes outstanding contributions by nurses of advanced practice, including nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthesiologists, nurse midwives, and clinical nurse specialists. Nominees in this category are positive role models in nursing, demonstrating innovative ideas in nursing practice and show strong leadership in interpersonal skills with colleagues and patients.
Kim Zilske, DNP, ARNP, Chair of UTHSC College of Nursing Alumni Board, presented the 2023 Advanced Practice Nurse Hero Award to Dr. Sara Wilkinson. Sara is a nurse anesthesiologist at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital. Sara is described as an excellent coworker and a kind provider who demonstrates the peak of what a CRNA should be. As a preceptor, she so impressed students that she received the inaugural Memphis Student Nurse Association Preceptor of the Semester Award. Sara is tireless in rallying CRNAs, physicians, and RNs to support CRNA practice. An alumna of the UTHSC DNP program in nurse anesthesiology, Sara was a remarkable student throughout her academic career, serving in leadership roles on campus and in community organizations while also winning multiple awards at the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiologists conference in 2017. These included the Student of Excellence Award, the Dean and Fred Hayden Memorial National Scholarship, and the AANA Poster Competition. In addition to her work as a CRNA, she is also an active member of UTHSC’s College of Nursing Alumni Board.