Emory’s Sharon Pappas receives statewide award for ‘outstanding contributions’

As chief nurse executive, the Georgia native oversees Emory Healthcare’s more than 8,000 nurses

As chief nurse executive of Emory Healthcare, Sharon Pappas “brings her passion for patient care to the center of all our decisions,” said Dane Peterson, interim CEO, president and COO of the health care system.

That passion was recognized Monday when Pappas received the prestigious Hospital Hero Award from the Georgia Hospital Association for her contributions not only to health care, but to the field of nursing in particular.

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“Emory and the entire health care industry are fortunate to have Sharon Pappas’ expertise and her passion for the well-being of nurses and patients,” GHA president and CEO Earl Rogers said in a university press release. “Her efforts and support have benefited Emory’s recruitment and retention efforts, and she has made an indelible impact. She is a most-deserving recipient of this award.”

Pappas has been with Emory Healthcare since 2016, but her nursing career has spanned more than 40 years. As chief nurse executive, the Georgia native oversees Emory Healthcare’s more than 8,000 nurses across 11 hospitals and more than 250 clinic locations.

“Sharon provides exceptional leadership to our nursing team and also serves as a well-respected leader across the entire organization,” said Dane Peterson, interim CEO and president and COO of Emory Healthcare. “She brings her passion for patient care to the center of all our decisions. Sharon has embraced and built upon our foundation of nursing excellence and is leading our nursing team to next level. She is very deserving of this Hospital Hero recognition from the Georgia Hospital Association.”

Emory leaders said Pappas was instrumental in keeping their nurses healthy, both physically and emotionally, during the pandemic.

“While nurses cared for patients and their families, she worked tirelessly to implement resilience and well-being programs to keep the nursing workforce healthy,” the press release states. “In collaboration with chief nursing officers at each Emory hospital, she supported nursing operations to make sure nurse staffing was optimized throughout the system, sometimes innovating as needed.”

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In addition to serving as one of the authors of the 2019 consensus report, Taking Action against Clinician Burnout, Pappas has written several publications that contributed to improving health care cultures through inclusion in decision-making, respect and leadership.

“I am so appreciative of this honor from the Georgia Hospital Association, and I share this recognition with my fellow nurses who have demonstrated strength and resilience throughout the pandemic,” Pappas said. “I am grateful to all of our nurses at Emory Healthcare, and thank them all for the leadership and excellent care they provide to our patients.”

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