2015 Nurse of the Year

| Saturday, October 17, 2015

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Distinguished Nurse of the Year recognized for achievements in nursing in Minnesota and internationally

St. Paul, MN, October 17, 2015 —

A former refugee who spent the past 25 years putting the patient first both here in Minnesota and her native Vietnam is the 2015 Distinguished Nurse of the Year.

Thuy-Tien Truong, a cardiac nurse at Fairview Southdale Hospital, was awarded the night’s most prestigious honor Saturday, October 17 at the March of Dimes sixth annual Nurse of the Year Awards at St. Paul’s RiverCentre. Truong co-founded Impact Heath Vietnam, a non-profit that coordinates educational and collaborative experiences between medical professionals in the U.S. and Vietnam.

“Tien goes above and beyond for her patients, creating exceptional patient experiences,” says Donna Blaul, Troung’s manager at Fairview Southdale Hospital. “She inspires her peers through her missionary and volunteer work. She is a continuous learner and she coaches, mentors and encourages team members to reach higher levels of performance. Above all, Tien does all of this with grace and humility.”

Through Truong’s work with Impact Health Vietnam, a doctor who studied with a physician at the University of Minnesota, recently returned to Vietnam to set up a cardiac cath lab that has saved several thousand Vietnamese people.

“Thirty years ago, I came to the United States as a refugee who escaped a war-torn country without money, with no English, without a home. But not without hope and a dream,” said Troung. “I give service to my patients, my co-workers, my students, my community and my native country because of a life-long promise to serve. It is a great honor to receive the March of Dimes Distinguished Nurse of the Year award.”

Truong says her goal is to focus one life at a time – one patient, one family, one co-worker, and one student at a time.

The Distinguished Nurse of the Year is awarded to an outstanding nurse whose practice, over the past 10 years, demonstrates significant contributions to nursing through professional, community, and personal achievements.

The March of Dimes Nurse of the Year awards recognize nurses throughout Minnesota in a variety of roles. Awards were given in 15 additional categories. The full list of winners include:

Advanced Practice – Melanie Kuelbs, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

Care Management – Carmelita Nelson, Hennepin County Medical Center

Community Health Nursing – Bonnie Brueshoff, Dakota County

Education & Research – Diane Salentiny Wrobleski, Mayo Clinic

Innovative & Non-Traditional – Janet Tomaino, Essentia Health-Duluth

Leadership – Linda Chmielewski, St. Cloud Hospital CentraCare Health

Mental Health – Angela Thomas, Regions Hospital

Neonatal – Kimberly McFarlane, Fairview Ridges Hospital

Pediatric – Meghan Braden, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

Rising Star – Meghan Battista, Fairview Ridges

Rural Health – Sharon Schwantz, CentraCare Health Long Prairie

Staff Nurse - Critical Care – Xiaomei Peng, Fairview Southdale Hospital

Staff Nurse - General Care – Pamela DeWitt-Meza, Hennepin County Medical Center

Surgical Services – Mary Matteson, Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare

Women’s Health – Sue Steen, Maple Grove Hospital

Distinguished Nurse of the Year - Thuy-Tien Truong, Fairview Southdale Hospital


More than 400 nurses were nominated for the awards. The remarkable efforts of these individuals often go unsung, and the March of Dimes is proud to celebrate nursing excellence.

Nurse of the Year raises much needed funds to support the March of Dimes work to help pregnant women give their baby a fighting chance to be born full term and healthy. It funds the research that is finding the causes of preterm birth and bringing new treatments into hospitals and clinics.

The 2015 event is chaired by Deb Ryan, Vice President Patient Care at St Francis Regional Medical. Sponsors include Allina Health, Capella University, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Fairview Health Services and University of Minnesota Health, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, HealthPartners/Regions Hospital, Hennepin County Medical Center, Maple Grove Hospital, Medica, Minnesota Organization of Leaders in Nursing, North Memorial Health Care, St. Cloud Hospital, UCare and UnitedHealth Group.

The March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org.



About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

Visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org for more information. Visit shareyourstory.org for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.