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Public Health Nurse of the Year Awards

Public Health Nurse of the Year

Our state winner is Nguyet Nguyen, RN, BSN, MPH from Arlington County Health District. Included in the picture are from left to right – Joanne Wakeham, Director, Public Health Nursing, Dr. Marissa Levine, State Health Commissioner, Nguyen Nugyen, PHN Nurse of the Year, Bob Hicks, Deputy Commissioner for Community Health Services, Dr. Reuben Varghese, Director, Arlington Health District and Margaret Ostafin, Nurse Manager, Arlington Health District.


Virginia Department of Health Public Health Nurse of the Year Nguyet Nguyen

Nguyet “Nga” Nguyen, public health nurse supervisor in the Arlington County Public Health Division, received this year’s Virginia Department of Health Public Health Nurse of the Year award. Nguyen’s nearly 35 years of service underscore her dedication to public health. She began her public health career as a field nurse and went on to serve as a refugee public health nurse and coordinator, chest clinic coordinator, tuberculosis (TB) program coordinator and most recently as the nurse supervisor for the Community Health Protection Bureau in the Department of Human Services for the Arlington County Public Health Division.

The Awards

The Public Health Nurse of the Year Awards recognizes the brightest and the best of those practicing public health nursing in Virginia. the two levels of awards given are: Regional Public Health Nurse of the Year and the Virginia Department of Health Nursing Council Public Health Nurse of the Year. The Regions consist of districts located in the central, north, southwest, and eastern areas of Virginia.


  • VDH Nursing Council issues the nomination packets by electronic mail to Nurse Managers in January. An agency wide e-mail will be sent notifying everyone of the beginning of the cycle.
  • The Districts must make their selection and submit the nomination packets to the Regional Council Chairs by February 17 for selection of the regional award(s).
  • The Regional Chairs must forward their selection of the Regional Public Health Nurse of the year to the Chair of the Nursing Council by March 31
  • The Chair of the Nursing Council will forward those packets to the Chair of the Public Health Nurse of the Year Selection Committee Immediately.
  • The Selection Committee must make a selection by April 17.
  • The Chair will submit the name of the winner, a brief synopsis of his or her achievements to the Council Chair and the Director of Public Health Nursing by April 24.
  • The Commissioner of Health and the Nursing Council will recognize the winner at the May meeting of the Nursing Council.
  • Whenever possible, the Director of Public Health Nursing will arrange for recognition of the state winner by the Governor of Virginia.

Nomination Process

  • Any Public Health Nurse in any capacity in VDH may nominate a public health nurse for these awards.
  • Public Health Nurses, PHN Seniors, Supervisors, Managers, Coordinators and Nurse Practitioners may be considered for these awards.

Please contact your Nurse Manager or Regional or State Council representative for forms.

The nomination packet consists of:

  • Nomination for Award Cover Sheet - used by the person nominating an individual. The cover sheet is to identify the person nominated. The Regional Chair will assign a number to use as an identifier if the packet becomes separated and each page will have that number written on it.
  • The nominator may consult with the nominee’s supervisor.

Nomination for Award - used by the person nominating an individual and accompanies the cover sheet. The pages may be completed directly on the nomination form or in a separate synopsis for each category.

Total number of pages may not exceed 3 : Please include only 3 letters total of support or copies of awards or certifications.

Criteria for Nomination:

  • Outstanding activities or accomplishments within job duties or role functions that exemplify the standards of public health and reflect the knowledge of public health theory and practice.
  • Customer services or community service activities that show professional leadership and promote a positive public health image through advocacy.
  • Extraordinary accomplishments in public health practice outside of job duties or role functions.

Selection Process

The Selection Committee of the VDHNC Public Health Nurse of the Year will select the Public Health Nurse of the Year from the pool of Regional winners according to the above cycle.

  • The Regional Council will determine the composition of the Regional Council Selection Committee and how the selection is made.
  • When the selection has been made, the Chair of the Regional Nursing Council will submit the name to the Nurse Manager or in the case that the Nurse Manager is the winner, to the nominator in the district. The Regional Chair will also notify the Chair of the VDH Nursing Council.
  • The districts and the regions will choose the manner in which the winners may be honored. The districts and the regions are encouraged to include the Director of Public Health Nursing and members of the VDH Nursing Council in their celebrations.
  • The Regional Council will select a representative to sit on the VDHNC (State) Award selection committee. The Chair will submit that name to Chair of the VDHNC and the selected nominee’s packet by March 31.

The VDHNC PHN of the Year Committee

The VDHNC Chair will call for formation of a committee and selection of a Committee Chair at the January VDHNC meeting.

Sitting members of the VDHNC will be the members of the PHN selection process committee as a “committee of the whole. “

The Chair of the Nursing Council will appoint a Chair of the PHN Selection Committee from the Council.The Council Committee Chair will:

  • Oversee the selection process including revising and implementing the guidelines and the selection criteria
  • Ensure the announcement of the upcoming selection cycle in the late fall
  • Send out electronic packets to the Nurse Manger and VDHNC distribution lists and ensure the packet is posted to the intranet web page
  • Convene the VDHNC (State) Award Selection Committee to make the annual selection of the state winner
  • Assist with planning the State award presentation ceremony, including; extending invitations to the winner’s nurse manager, health director, nominator, co-workers, family and friends and any others suggested by the Council or the district. Also inviting all regional winners and their families, coworkers and friends.

The Director of Public Health Nursing will invite the Commissioner Health and Deputies to the presentation ceremony.

The Nursing Council and the Chair of the PHN of the Year Selection Process will offer assistance and support to the Regional Councils in honoring their nominees.

 VDHNC (State) Award Selection Committee

 The VDHNC (State) Award selection committee will be comprised of one representative chosen by the each Regional Council (4) and the PHN of the Year recipient from the previous year. The committee will use the Rating Form to document the selection process.

The selection committee members are not eligible for the award.

The Chair of the VDHNC PHN of the Year Committee will be a nonvoting member of the selection committee.

The VDHNC PHN of the Year Committee Chair will notify the VDHNC membership, the Regional Council Chairs, and all the nominees of the selected candidate.

Last Updated: 05-11-2015

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