News: Late AACN President Thornby Honored at NTI

Editorial Contact:
Kristie Aylett
AACN Communications
(228) 229-9472

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses to bestow Flame of Excellence Award on Denise Thornby

Denise Thornby — former director of education and professional development, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System — recognized posthumously for advocating for healthy work environments and changing the face of high acuity and critical care nursing

Flame of Excellence Award honors sustained contributions to acute and critical care nursing at a high level and with broad reach

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — May 8, 2013 — The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) will present the Flame of Excellence Award posthumously to Denise Thornby, RN, MSN, NEA-BC.

Thornby’s family will accept the award in her honor at the 2013 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition, Boston, May 18-23. The Flame of Excellence Award honors sustained contributions to acute and critical care nursing at a high level and with broad reach.

Prior to her death in 2012, Thornby retired from Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond, Va., with more than 35 years of dedicated service as a clinician, a unit manager and ultimately as its director of education and professional development. In this role, she ensured that her organization would remain at the forefront of professional excellence in nursing.

Individually, Thornby mentored and coached hundreds of nurses whose contributions to high acuity and critical care nursing bear witness to her passion for her chosen profession. She also was adjunct faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, where she earned her MSN in 1985.

Thornby’s professional accomplishments include local and national honors for nursing excellence in critical care practice and nursing leadership. Her thoughtful and appreciative leadership was a hallmark of her influential tenure on the AACN Board of Directors, during a time when significant projects were launched, such as the Healthy Work Environment initiative, the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence and specialty certification for nurse managers.

As AACN president from 2000-2001, Thornby challenged the AACN community to have the courage to make waves. Throughout her career she led by example, influencing thousands of colleagues across healthcare and changing the face of high acuity and critical care nursing.

A highly sought-after speaker, Thornby was beloved for her authentic leadership, skilled communication, creativity and wit.


About AACN’s Flame of Excellence Award: AACN’s Flame of Excellence Award recognizes consistent high-level outcomes with a broad reach in acute and critical care nursing. Selected from the AACN Circle of Excellence Society, Flame of Excellence Award recipients promote patient-driven excellence through skilled communication, collaboration and decision making that transform thinking and achieve visible results. Award recipients receive a $500 honorarium and a crystal replica of the AACN vision icon at the 2013 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition, May 18-23, in Boston.

About the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition: Established in 1974, AACN’s National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI) represents the world’s largest educational conference and trade show for nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients and their families. Bedside nurses, nurse educators, nurse managers, clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners attend NTI.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969 and based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN joins together the interests of more than 500,000 acute and critical care nurses and claims more than 235 chapters worldwide. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, Calif. 92656-4109;
Phone: (949) 362-2000; Fax: (949) 362-2020; www.aacn.org; facebook.com/aacnface; twitter.com/aacnme