AONL Press Releases

AONL Names Sharon Pappas Its Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Press Release

Chicago (March 23, 2023)

The American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) today announced Sharon Pappas as the 2023 recipient of its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. The award honors an AONL member recognized by the nursing community as a significant leader in the nursing profession and served AONL in an important leadership capacity. AONL will honor Pappas during the opening plenary May 2 at its annual conference in Anaheim, Calif.

As chief nurse executive at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, Pappas is a member of Emory Healthcare and the Woodruff Health Science Center’s senior leadership teams responsible for nursing practice across Emory’s hospitals, ambulatory care and post-acute agencies. With five Emory Healthcare operating units designated as Magnet®, she works to establish this same nursing excellence as a distinctive competency throughout Emory Healthcare. She is also a faculty member for the Emory School of Nursing.

Pappas served on the National Academy of Science, Engineering, & Medicine Committee on Systems Approaches to Improve Patient Care by Supporting Clinician Well-being, which issued a report being used to measure burnout and improve work conditions for nurses and others in health care on a national scale. Pappas previously served as a member of the AONL Board of Directors and currently represents AONL on the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Magnet® Recognition. She recently chaired the AONL Workforce Subcommittee on Leadership.

Pappas is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and past chair of its Expert Panel on Building Health System Excellence. She has received numerous honors including the AONE Research and American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Exemplary Academic Practice Partnership awards. She earned her Ph.D. at University of Colorado, Denver, Master of Science in Nursing from Georgia College and bachelor’s degree from the Medical College of Georgia.

About the American Organization for Nursing Leadership

As the national professional organization of more than 12,000 nurse leaders, the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) is the voice of nursing leadership. Our membership encompasses nurse leaders working in hospitals, health systems, academia and other care settings across the care continuum. Since 1967, the organization has led the field of nursing leadership through professional development, advocacy and research that advances nursing leadership practice and patient care. AONL is an affiliate of the American Hospital Association. For more information, visit