Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Nursing Administrator Receives Nursing Excellence Award

March 31, 1999

In recognition of her contributions at the local, state and national levels, a nursing administrator at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center received the "NurseWeek" Nursing Excellence Award in the category Advancing the Profession.

The award, presented during a ceremony Saturday, March 13, recognized Linda Burnes Bolton, a registered nurse who holds a master's degree in nursing as well as both master's and doctoral degrees in public health. Dr. Burnes Bolton started as a staff nurse in labor and delivery at Cedars of Lebanon 28 years ago, in the days before that hospital merged with Mt. Sinai to form Cedars-Sinai. Touching most rungs of the career ladder through the years, she now serves as vice president and chief nursing officer of Cedars-Sinai Health System and Research Institute. She has held the CNO position since July 1996.

According to the letter nominating her for the award, Dr. Burnes Bolton is "the consummate professional. She possesses exemplary leadership skills and a keen ability to motivate and inspire her staff to achieve excellence. Dr. Burnes Bolton is a knowledgeable, compassionate individual. She is resident consultant to management and administrative personnel relative to clinical practice, quality improvement, employee competency and clinical research issues."

The nomination was submitted by Joyce Spalding, R.N., and Marilyn Shirk, R.N., on behalf of members of the recruitment and retention committee. Information in support of the recommendation was readily available because Dr. Burnes Bolton recently received the medical center's prestigious President's Award.

In fact, she has consistently been recognized for her commitment, leadership and compassion. A previous recipient of the Cedars-Sinai Morris Press Humanism Award, Dr. Burnes Bolton has received certificates of merit from both the Human Relations Commission of the City of Los Angeles and the American Heart Association. She is included in Who's Who in American Professional Nursing and has been inducted into the African-American Hall of Fame. She also received the National Black Nurses Association's Trailblazer Award in recognition of her scholarly work to improve the health of communities. Dr. Burnes Bolton was recently named Woman of the Year by the YWCA of Santa Monica for her contributions to women in the community. A role model and mentor, she passes along words of wisdom that helped shaped her life. "I tell young women -- and men -- what I was told when I was 5 years old and learning to swim at the YWCA pool: 'Find something you really like to do, and keep at it.' I made my commitment to nursing, and I've never been sorry."

In fact, it was at that early age in Tucson, Ariz. -- a time when she was in and out of hospitals because of severe asthma -- that she set her sights on a career in health care. "The people who always made me feel better were the nurses, and that finally pushed me into nursing as a career," she says.

As part of her administrative role, Dr. Burnes Bolton makes a point of visiting patients daily to obtain feedback from patients and nurses on the quality of care provided in the organization. We work to assure that staff have what they need to provide quality care. It is the bedside nurse in collaboration with other members of the patient care team that we need to involve and listen to in our efforts to improve care stated Burnes Bolton. Patients say to me, 'I can tell that your nurses care about what they're doing because of the way they take care of me,'" she says.

Among the achievements that led to Dr. Burnes Bolton's nomination are her participation in a variety of professional organizations, including the Center for Nursing Leadership; the American Nurses Association; Sigma Theta Tau; the American Organization of Nurse Executives; the Association of California Nurse Leaders; The Black Congress of Health, Law and Economics; The Society of Research Administration; The Agency for Health Care Policy; and the Research Advisory Council. She served as the sixth president of the National Black Nurses Association, Inc., which represents more than 150,000 African-American nurses and student nurses in the United States. During her career, she has authored numerous articles, books, book chapters, videos and audio tapes.

Serving as a volunteer on dozens of local, regional and national health boards and committees requires a great deal of traveling and consumes considerable energy, but improving the well-being of all members of society is a passion for Dr. Burnes Bolton. "At the end of the day, I can see that we've improved people's access to healthcare. That's gratifying."

Dr. Burnes Bolton holds a bachelor's degree in nursing from Arizona State University, a master's in nursing, master's in public health, and doctorate in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Thomas F. Zenty III, senior vice president and chief operating officer, says no one is more deserving of recognition than Dr. Burnes Bolton. "Throughout her years at Cedars-Sinai, she has served with uncommon professionalism and an untiring devotion to her patients, her staff and her profession. Because of her level of care, commitment and involvement, her positive influence is felt not just here at Cedars-Sinai but throughout the community and the field of nursing."

Noting that Carissa Drucker, a registered nurse in home care at Cedars-Sinai, was a finalist in the Patient Advocacy category, Zenty says he is pleased that two representatives of the medical center were among the 49 finalists and winners at Saturday night's ceremony. "A sincere interest in the details of a patient's life are more important today than ever before as more and more patients look to nurses for comfort and care in the home," says Zenty. "Carissa personifies the spirit of nurses whose touch and attention make all the difference in patients' lives every day."

Publishing every two weeks, "NurseWeek" is mailed to all 225,000 active registered nurses throughout the state. The publication has presented awards for nursing excellence since 1992, although this is the first year awards have been available in a variety of categories, according to Whitney Wood, managing editor.

She says "NurseWeek" received about 350 nominations in seven categories: Clinical Care, Innovation, Advancing the Profession, Community Service, Managing or Administrating, Mentoring or Teaching, and Patient Advocacy. Nurses were nominated by their peers, and a panel of outside judges -- all nurses -- selected the winners and finalists. The full list will be printed in the April 5 issue.
"NurseWeek" covers issues, trends and news in health care. Its mission is "to provide readers what they need to succeed in their careers." In addition to the print magazine, "NurseWeek" produces continuing education products, conducts regular career fairs, and provides other support to the nursing community.

To arrange a media interview, please call 1-800-396-1002 (Please do not publish this number in stories.)

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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