Children’s nurse smiling in the hallway

A Letter from our Chief Nursing Officer, Linda Cole

Linda Cole

Ever since my mom handed me a book about nurses with stories from as far back as the civil war, I learned about nurses’ dedication to other people, and I realized I wanted to be a part of a profession this special. To this day, I see that same fire in the hearts of our nurses at Children’s. Whether new graduates or experienced nurses, our nurses embrace an enduring commitment to exceptional care and providing a meaningful experience for our patients and families—even through the challenges of a global pandemic—that continues to blow me away each day.

As a national leader in pediatrics with an essential role in our community, I’m honored to advocate for our nurses and frontline staff in my role as Chief Nursing Officer at Children’s. The unique skills, knowledge and compassion our nurses embody truly makes the care we provide stand out. The results of their hard work invite thousands of expressions of gratitude from families each year. This quality of care is also why the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) has designated Scottish Rite and Egleston as Magnet hospitals and Hughes Spalding as a Pathway to Excellence hospital.

Our nursing Professional Practice model encapsulates the professional identity of our nurses—the definition of what it means to be a Children’s nurse and how we provide the highest-quality patient-centered care for our patients and families. Our professional practice model not only guides us in evaluating our professional nursing practice, but it also supports our nurses in advancing in their careers. Despite the many challenges we have faced throughout healthcare recently, the impact of our nurses will continue to show in the outcomes of our patients and their families for years to come. I invite you to see just a few of the amazing outcomes and stories in the latest annual nursing report.


Chief Nursing Officer

Egleston and Scottish Rite Hospitals Receive Second Prestigious Magnet® Designations

Conferred by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the world’s largest and most prestigious nurse credentialing organization, Magnet Recognition Program® designation is the highest international distinction a healthcare organization can receive for nursing care.

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Professional Nursing Practice at Children's

The professional practice model (PPM) is a framework that serves as a guide for defining, overseeing and evaluating professional nursing practice to ensure and support the advancement of the nursing profession at Children’s. The PPM, also referred to as our practice framework, represents nurses’ professional identity through the following eight components that describe how nurses at Children’s practice, collaborate, communicate and develop professionally to provide patient-centered care of the highest quality:

professional nursing practice model at Children's

Care Delivery

The foundation of practice begins with care delivery, making sure patients and families remain at the center of practice. Relationship-based care (RBC) is our model of care delivery that cultivates nurses’ key relationships with patients, colleagues and each other.

Healthy Work Environment

To find balance within the key relationships of RBC, nurses and interprofessional partners foster a caring and healing environment and have the resources required for safe, patient-centered care delivery.

Improving Outcomes

Creating and sustaining a culture of safety is vital to improving outcomes and the level of care provided to patients.


Transformational leaders provide strategic vision for nursing through leadership support and advocacy, and they empower nurses at all levels and across all settings to share in decisions that affect their practice.


Nurses are committed to lifelong learning and have opportunities for professional development. Nurses teaching and developing their peers is essential to passing the profession on to the future.

Research and Evidence-Based Practice

Clinical inquiry and evidence-based practice enables nurses to identify new knowledge, apply innovative approaches to care delivery and implement the best care for patients.


Professional recognition and valuing nurses for their contributions to the practice support professional advancement. Nurses are committed to serving patients in the community through healthcare outreach.

Nursing Practice

Demonstrating professional accountability through practice standards supports autonomous nursing practice. Advanced nursing practice demonstrates clinical expertise and encourages top-of-license practice.

By the nature of the profession, nurses are committed to lifelong learning. By offering high-impact programs with a reduced time commitment, Children’s provide critical training and development for our nurses, without compromising the time needed to do their jobs effectively.

We provide a comprehensive onboarding program for experienced nurses and recent grads.

At Children’s, we teach you everything you need to know about being a pediatric nurse. Whether you are an experienced nurse switching from adult care to pediatric care or a recent graduate, we have the resources and tools to help you make a successful transition.


Advancing Your Nursing Career

The Children’s My Nursing Career Path Program offers direct patient care nurses a variety of development opportunities and allows nurses to build a customized career portfolio based on their interests. The purpose of the program is to promote career development and raise the bar of professional excellence among clinical nurses while also providing recognition and advancement opportunities.

The program outlines flexible criteria for demonstration of excellence within four domains of professional nursing practice at Children’s: practice, engagement, development and outcomes. Clinical nurses can earn points by documenting their roles and specific projects. The program provides suggested learning activities for clinical nurses who wish to further explore related development opportunities.

My Nursing Career Path Levels

  • Clinical Nurse 1 (CN1)
  • Clinical Nurse 2 (CN2)
  • Clinical Nurse 3 (CN3)
  • Clinical Nurse 4 (CN4)
  • Clinical Nurse 5 (CN5)

Education Assistance

Children’s encourages learning, development and continuing education and understands the value of supporting employee growth. In addition to an extensive course catalog provided through the Learning Department to help employees learn new skills, Children’s also offers a program for educational assistance. Employees seeking to further their education may be eligible for financial assistance for classes through the Children’s Education Assistance Program. Regular full-time and part-time employees with at least six months of service to Children’s are eligible to apply for the program.

Looking for upcoming CME opportunities?

Children’s offers a variety of continuing medical education (CME) opportunities, including conferences, workshops and web-based programs.

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In the 2023-2024 U.S. News & World Report “Best Children’s Hospitals” survey, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta was ranked among the nation’s Top Pediatric Hospitals. Children's has four specialties ranked in the top 10 and eight specialties ranked in the top 20. For the 4th year in a row, Children’s was also ranked the No. 1 pediatric hospital in Georgia.

The report ranks hospitals for excellence in outcomes, program structure and national reputation in 10 pediatric specialty areas—with the survey questions created and refined by content experts in each field. Children’s ranked in each of the 10 specialty areas.

The Magnet Recognition Program recognizes healthcare organizations worldwide who demonstrate superior nursing standards in the delivery of quality patient care, leading to the highest levels of patient safety, quality and patient satisfaction.

Egleston and Scottish Rite received initial designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet® Recognition Program in November 2018 and February 2019. Both received their second designations in June 2023 and October 2023, respectively. This illustrates our nursing staff’s dedication to consistently delivering the highest levels of patient safety, quality and customer service for our patients and their families. Egleston and Scottish Rite are among only 46 Magnet-recognized pediatric organizations in the country.

Pathway to Excellence is the premier designation earned by organizations that demonstrate a commitment to creating a practice environment where nurses flourish because they experience job satisfaction, professional growth and development, respect and appreciation.

Hughes Spalding received initial designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Pathway to Excellence® Program in December 2019.

The ENA Lantern Award recognizes emergency departments that demonstrate exceptional and innovative performance in leadership, practice, education, advocacy and research.

  • Scottish Rite ED: 2019 through 2022
  • Egleston ED : 2021 through 2024

Established in 2003, AACN’s Beacon award recognizes top hospital units that meet standards of excellence in recruitment and retention; education, training and mentoring; research and evidence-based practice; patient outcomes; leadership and organizational ethics; and creation of a healthy work environment. The Beacon Award’s three levels of designation—gold, silver, and bronze—recognize hospital units that exemplify excellence in professional practice, and patient care and outcomes.

Our Cardiac Cath Lab and Pre-Post Recovery Unit is one of only four in the country to receive a Beacon Award for Excellence and the only pediatric catheterization lab to receive a gold-level award. Three Children’s units are recipients of the silver-level award, demonstrating continual learning and effective systems to achieve optimal patient care.

Recipients of the silver-level award demonstrate continual learning and effective systems to achieve optimal patient care.

  • Scottish Rite TICU – through 4/2024
  • Scottish Rite Aflac Inpatient Unit/5 South – through 10/2026
  • Egleston Aflac 3 East/BMT – through 5/2024
  • Egleston PICU – through 6/2024

The DAISY Award

The DAISY Foundation awards the great work nurses do every day and raises awareness of the importance of nursing to the treatment and care of those who are critically ill. Each month, two DAISY Awards may be given to a nurse at Children’s who works collaboratively with others; serves as a role model for the nursing profession; communicates clearly and effectively with all co-workers and patients; makes a special connection with a patient/family and makes a significant difference in the life of a patient.

The DAISY Team Award

The DAISY Team Award honors collaboration by two or more people, led by a nurse, who identify and meet patient and/or patient family needs by going above and beyond the traditional role of nursing. Daisy Team Awards are given annually at Children’s to recognize that while an idea to achieve better patient and family outcomes may start with one individual, it often takes an entire team to implement successfully.

The DAISY Nurse Leader Award

The DAISY Nurse Leader Award recognizes directors, managers, assistant nurse managers, educators, case management, nurse supervisors and other leaders who have gone above and beyond in their impact on compassionate patient care. The Daisy Leader Awards are given annually at Children’s to recognize leaders who create an environment where compassionate, skillful care thrives.

The Hope & Will Award allows leaders and employees to recognize individuals for exceptional, above-and-beyond contributions that exemplify Children's Values in action. This award recognizes employees demonstrating behaviors such as extraordinary effort to support their team, outstanding patient experiences or a strong commitment to excellence.

Children’s health educators created the annual Golden Apple Awards Program to help celebrate extraordinary accomplishments in health education.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution honors Georgia’s top nurses for making significant contributions to nursing and healthcare, promoting the professional image of nursing and being an advocate for accessible, affordable and safe patient care.

The Georgia Excellence in Nursing Awards recognize nurses whose leadership and contributions have made an impact on their community and the profession of nursing. The event is a tribute to the men and women who make healing their mission.

Celebrations represents one of the ways Children’s is committed to recognizing and rewarding employees for modeling our values, helping us to achieve our Strategy or fulfilling our Promise. Through Celebrations, colleagues are able to recognize each other for their dedication and hard work.

Shared Leadership

Shared Leadership is an interprofessional, collaborative governance structure where members share in decision-making that impacts professional practice and the work environment. Children’s Shared Leadership structure includes councils at the system, campus, and unit levels. These councils play a vital role in ensuring nurses and interprofessional collaborative partners have an active role in making decisions that impact professional practice. Through Shared Leadership, members are responsible and accountable for defining, implementing, and evaluating professional practice. The structure of Shared Leadership is part of the Leadership component of our Professional Practice Model (PPM), where nurses share in decisions that affect nursing practice.

Nursing Leaders at Children's

Chief Nursing Officer

Angela Vangarelli, MSN, RN, CPN, NE-BC
Vice President, Nursing and Hospital Operations, Scottish Rite Hospital

Cheryl Head, MBA, BSN, RN, NE-BC
Vice President, Nursing and Hospital Operations, Egleston Hospital

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is dedicated to advancing the science of pediatric nursing. Children's recognizes that a robust program of nursing research is essential to the provision of the highest quality patient care and the overall advancement of nursing as profession. The program of Research and Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) provides the necessary resources and leadership to ensure that care delivery is data-driven and systematically evaluated.

Within this program, the nurses at Children's are provided with:

  • Expert support to develop and test innovative, cost-effective practice and models of care
  • Continuous mentorship and educational activities
  • Access to research literature and understanding a system of review to determine best practice
  • Clinical research support
  • Technical and methodological assistance such as data management, IRB protocol development and survey design

Children's Nursing Research Department awarded J&J Research Grant

A team of Children’s nurses aim to create an interactive nursing communication application to overcome language barriers and help clinical staff efficiently respond and provide care to limited English proficiency (LEP) patients.

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