CNL Award Winners

CNL Vanguard Award

2021 Winner

Latasha Kast, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNL, Advanced Clinical Education Specialist for Critical Care, UPMC Passavant

Latasha Kast is an Advanced Clinical Education Specialist for Critical Care at  UPMC Passavant. Latasha  provides on-boarding, education, mentorship, and leadership support to nurses in her role as an Advanced Clinical Education Specialist for Critical Care. She previously worked in progressive clinical and leadership positions within Trauma/Vascular Step-Down, Surgical Trauma ICU, and Neurovascular ICU. Additionally, she serves on the CNL Advisory Board at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. Ms. Kast was selected for this award for her commitment to nursing practice by leading and developing several quality improvement projects to improve patient outcomes, including hair washing to reduce surgical site infections in neurosurgical patients.

Honorable Mention

Sinai Hospital CNL Team; Elizabeth Krug, MS, RN, PCCN, CNL, Nursing Outcomes Leader, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore; Kristen Liberto, MS, RN, CCRN, CNL, Nursing Outcomes Leader, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore; and Sarah Stanley, MS, RN, CNL, Nursing Outcomes Leader, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore

The Sinai Hospital CNL Team is comprised of Elizabeth Krug, Kristen Liberto, and Sarah Stanley who all work as Nursing Outcomes Leaders at the Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. These individuals were nominated for this year’s award to acknowledge the additional value that accrues to patients and organizations when teams of CNLs collaborate with interprofessional colleagues, across units and divisions within a hospital. Integral to optimizing the full potential of CNL practice, as demonstrated by the Sinai Hospital CNL team, is taking a strategic approach to redesigning patient care at the interface of education and practice with CNLs, who bring both their unique, individual clinical expertise and preparation for advanced clinical leadership to the urgent need to transform the delivery of health care.

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CNL Educator Award

2021 Winner

Rosemary Hoffmann, PhD, RN, CNL, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Hoffmann has been on faculty at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing since 1995 and since 2008, has served as the program coordinator for the Clinical Nurse Leader area of concentration leading to an MSN. As a result of Dr. Hoffmann’s success with the Model A CNL program, University of Pittsburgh is also now creating a Model C MSN Entry into Practice Program which will take effect within the next year. Dr. Hoffmann was selected for this award because she personifies the idea of expanding the role of the CNL and being able to think holistically. She is praised by her colleagues for having a particular skill in challenging her students and peers to think bigger by using their credentials and skills as a CNL to become problem solvers and patient advocates.


Grace Buttriss, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, CNL, CNL Program Coordinator, Queens University

Dr. Buttriss brings extensive experience in nursing education and practice to her role as an Associate Professor for Queens University of Charlotte. She developed the Advanced Physical Assessment Chapter in the Clinical Nurse Leader Certification Review Text Editions 1 and 2 and is a Manuscript Reviewer for the Journal of Clinical Nursing and The Journal of Nursing Care Quality, where she has served on the Editorial Board as the CNLA President. Dr. Buttriss was nominated for this award because of her efforts in helping pave the way for CNLs across the nation including through her research on "Role Transition for Clinical Nurse Leaders and New Graduate Nurses" which has been instrumental to the CNL role. 

Honorable Mention

Dianna Sorenson, PhD, MBA, MN, CNS, RN, CNL, Professor of Nursing, CNL Track Coordinator and DNP Program Coordinator, Morningside College

Dr. Sorenson is a licensed CNS and certified CNL. In her leadership role as CNL track coordinator, Dr. Sorenson developed the CNL program at Morningside College and spearheaded programmatic assessments and evaluations across both MSN CNL program and DNP transformational leadership program. Under her leadership, the Morningside College’s CNL program was ranked among the best in the nation by nursing advocacy organization and US News. Dr. Sorenson was nominated for this award because she demonstrates innovation in her pedagogy to facilitate CNL development and translation into practice by pioneering a CNL distance mentor program to augment learning opportunities.

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