The Rita D. Zielstorff Nursing Informatics Leadership Award


         (Past Recipients and Nominating Criteria below)


2024 Sandra McPherson DNP, RN-BC, CPHIMS, PMP

Dr. Sandra McPherson, DNP, RN-BC, CPHIMS, PMP, is the recipient of the 2024 Rita D. Zielstorff Nursing Informatics Leadership Award. Her remarkable contributions to nursing informatics exemplify excellence in nursing practice, true leadership, and innovation in healthcare technology.

Dr. McPherson's educational background and extensive qualifications uniquely position her as a leader in nursing informatics. She holds a Bachelor's and Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Rhode Island, a Doctorate in Nursing Practice from the University of Minnesota, and several postgraduate certifications.

She spearheads major initiatives such as implementing Epic and McKesson clinical health record systems across multiple healthcare facilities. Her expertise in facilitating Meaningful Use initiatives and regularly analyzing scorecards is instrumental in ensuring compliance and optimizing healthcare delivery.

As Chief Nursing Information Officer and Director of Clinical Informatics, Dr. McPherson manages large-scale projects including Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE), Bedside Medication Barcode Scanning, and system replacements, showcasing her strategic vision and project management skills. Her ability to negotiate contracts with healthcare IT vendors and lead clinical informatics teams highlights her strong leadership capabilities.

Dr. McPherson's commitment to process improvement and workflow optimization is evident in her Lean IN Circle Group member role. She coordinates staff training sessions and ensures clinician acceptance of new software implementations. Her proactive approach to system sustainability and disaster preparedness underscores her dedication to maintaining operational continuity in challenging circumstances.

Dr. McPherson's educational achievements and professional affiliations further demonstrate her commitment to advancing nursing informatics. She is actively involved in organizations such as the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC), the New England Nursing Informatics Consortium (NENIC), and the Healthcare Information and Management Society (HIMSS). Her dedication to professional development and collaboration is evident in her work at Sacred Heart University and Western Governors University.

Dr. McPherson has become an invaluable asset since assuming numerous leadership roles, including a Board position, within the Northeastern Nursing Informatics Consortium (NENIC) in 2011. Her significant contributions are most evident within the Education and Development Committee, where she plays a pivotal role in the success of the annual Trends in Clinical Informatics symposium. In her committee role, she leads a subcommittee responsible for securing event sponsors, demonstrating remarkable organizational skills and strategic foresight. Her efforts ensure the financial viability of the organization while maintaining affordable registration fees through fostering strong partnerships across more than 80 organizations annually. Dr. McPherson's unwavering commitment to advancing NENIC's goals and her exceptional leadership within the Education and Development Committee underscore her worthiness for recognition and commendation.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Dr. McPherson is a prolific presenter and author, sharing her insights and expertise with peers and colleagues. Her contributions to conferences, symposiums, and publications enrich the clinical informatics community and inspire innovation in healthcare technology.

 Dr. McPherson's qualifications, education, professional experiences, presentations, and affiliations exemplify her outstanding leadership in nursing informatics. Her dedication to driving transformative change and improving patient outcomes makes her a deserving recipient of the 2024 Rita D. Zielstorff Nursing Informatics Leadership Award. Congratulations Dr. McPherson!


Past Recipients

     2023 Diane Menasco, MSHI, BSN, RN, CPHIMSS

     2022 Sarah C. Rosetti RN, PhD, FACMI, FAMIA, FAAN

     2021 No Recipient (Deferred due to COVID )

     2020 Ardie Henry MS, RN, NI-BC

     2019  Karen Bavuso MSN, RN

     2018 - Deb Furlong MS, RN

     2017 - Mark Sugrue MSN, RN, NI-BC, FHIMSS, CPHIMS

     2016 - Mary Kennedy MS, RN, NI-BC

     2015 - Denise Goldsmith MS, MPH, RN, FAAN

     2014 - Patricia Dykes PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI


The New England Nursing Informatics Consortium (NENIC) invites and requests nominations of individuals for the Rita D. Zielstorff Leadership Award. This award recognizes a NENIC member who exhibits exceptional leadership and provides an outstanding influence on the discipline of nursing and contributes to the field of nursing informatics in the spirit of Rita D. Zielstorff.

The award recipient will be selected by the NENIC Board of Directors and will be announced at the Fall Education and Networking Program in October 2020.

The nomination criteria for candidate evaluation include but are not limited to:

  • Served as a Nursing Informatics Leader at a public or private organization, institution, or company;
  • Served as a national or regional Nursing Informatics leader in the greater New England area;
  • Respected and recognized as a role model by Nursing Informatics peers;
  • Active supporter, advocate, and recruiter for NENIC per NENIC's mission;
  • Provides outstanding voluntary leadership to the association and the Nursing Informatics field;
  • Contributed to the NI field through publications and/or presentations

Nominations should include the following: 

  • Nominee Name
  • Title
  • Professional Designations
  • Organization
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number

Using 500 words or less in total, provide the following information about the nominee:

  • Give a brief biographical summary of the candidate.
  • Explain how the nominee actively supports the NENIC mission and makes outstanding contributions to the educational and leadership principles for which NENIC stands.
  • Describe how the nominee has demonstrated leadership in nursing informatics and/or engaged in the advancement of the best use of information and management systems for the betterment of healthcare.
  • Please include a recent resume or Curriculum Vitae of the nominee.

Please mail to [email protected]