Susan Swart
On Friday, November 4, 2022, Dr. Susan Y. Swart, EdD, MS, RN, CAE, was awarded the 2022 Joan L. Shaver Outstanding Illinois Nurse Leader Award. Dr. Swart, Executive Director of ANA-Illinois, received the award at the 25th Annual Power of Nursing Leadership event hosted by the University of Illinois-Chicago College of Nursing at the Hilton Chicago.

About the Joan L. Shaver Outstanding Illinois Nurse Leader Award

The Joan L. Shaver Outstanding Illinois Nurse Leader is highly influential in shaping quality health care in the state of Illinois. The award is named after UIC College of Nursing Dean Emerita Dr. Joan Shaver, who established the Power of Nursing Leadership event in 1998 to celebrate excellence in nursing. This award honors the hard work, commitment, and dedication necessary to serve the health care needs of the people of Illinois through supremely skilled leadership and the courage to break through barriers. It symbolizes the celebration of individual achievement and represents excellence in nursing leadership for our state.

Recognized Nursing Leader Across Illinois

Throughout her career as a nursing association leader, speaker, and advocate, Dr. Susan Y. Swart has demonstrated a relentless commitment to empowering and supporting nurses, building coalitions, developing nursing leaders, and engaging in policy work to advance the nursing profession in the state of Illinois and across the United States.

She currently serves as Executive Director for ANA-Illinois, Illinois Nurses Foundation, and Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing (ISAPN). Prior to 2012, she was Executive Director and Director of Nursing Practice of the Illinois Nurses Association. She became a Certified Association Executive in 2012.

Advancing Nursing in Illinois

Under her leadership, ANA-Illinois has become the recognized leader in health policy and has grown from an organization of 900 members to well over 5000.  When asked what she is most proud of Dr. Swart points to the passage of the Nurse License Plate which is a legacy that will grow and fund grants and scholarships for nurses under the Illinois Nurses Foundation.

As Executive Director of ISAPN, Dr. Swart’s work was instrumental in passing the 2017 State of Illinois Nurse Practice Act, granting full practice authority to advanced practice nurses. Following its passage, Dr. Swart led negotiations to remove obstacles within the act that put undue burden on nurses seeking full practice authority. Her policy work, skill with navigating difficult conversations, and coalition building contributed to the passage of an empowering and important piece of legislation that was a watershed moment for nurses in Illinois.

From legislative wins one day to advocating for nurses with hospital administrators the next, Dr. Swart lifts nurses’ voices in every sphere. Her deep commitment to nurses also means she regularly employs her in-depth knowledge of nursing regulation, rules and policies in Illinois to help individual nurses navigate issues in their workplaces. She is a leader, guide, and support for nurses in every sense of the word.

Mentoring Emerging Nursing Leaders

Dr. Swart’s leadership includes mentoring emerging nursing leaders as well. In 2018, she received her Doctorate of Education in Ethical Leadership. Her dissertation, titled “The Relationship Between Clinical Leadership and Professional Identity in Novice Nurses,” focused on the development of clinical nurse leaders. As Executive Director of two statewide nursing associations, she helps recruit and develop association board members, guiding and supporting nurses as they step into statewide leadership.

Advancing Nursing on the National Level

As part of her commitment to advancing the nursing profession, Dr. Swart has served on the national ANA Board of Directors. She is currently serving her second term as Vice President of the board. Her national advocacy work with the American Nurses Association (ANA) board includes the Nurse Staffing C/SNA Advisory Group, the Bylaws Committee, ANA-Political Action Committee Chair and the Value Pricing Pilot Advisory Group. In 2018, she developed a two-day Executive Enterprise annual conference centered around association management best practices for CEOs, executive directors, and state directors with the ANA Enterprise.

Her professional memberships extend beyond ANA and ISAPN. Dr. Swart is an active member of Kappa Sigma Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau International, Illinois Organization of Nursing Leaders, American Organization of Nursing Leadership, and American Society for Association Executives.

Dr. Swart is a highly regarded speaker and presenter. She speaks with student organizations, state nursing associations, universities, and conferences across the country. Her policy work and association leadership has received many awards over the years. Most recently she was awarded the 2022 AANP State Award of Excellence – NP Advocate.

Dr. Swart has spent her career empowering nurses across the state and nation and is on the forefront of mentoring the next generation of nurse leaders.