The North Dakota Center for Nursing held its Third Annual Conference last week in Bismarck! Nearly 250 people attended the conference and Legendary Nurse Awards Celebrations.

The conference kicked off with a keynote presentation titled, “Building a Culture of Health in North Dakota”, presented by Monica Ptacek, RN, MSN, CENP, CNE, and Tara Brandner, DNP, FNP-C.

A major topic of discussion this year included information on the Governor’s Nursing Workforce Shortage. Presentations from the North Dakota Center for Nursing and Department of Commerce shared data and insight on the state of the nursing workforce in North Dakota.

In addition to a multitude of conference breakouts, attendees were also able to vote on poster presentations. Congratulations to Teresa Buck, Emily Mnyama, Gabrielle Sickler, Virginia Sickler, Karissa Van Horn and Analena Valdes from Dickinson State University on their poster titled, “Will Using an Accurate Pain Assessment Toolkit Improve Nursing Assessments of Pain to Facilitate a Decrease in Opioid Prescriptions?”

All conference materials and powerpoints can be accessed on our conference page at:

A major highlight of the conference included the Third Annual Legendary Nurse Awards. The Legendary Nurse Awards were created in 2015 to honor nurses or nurse advocates who have made significant contributions to the nursing profession in North Dakota. 14 nurses and nurse advocates from across North Dakota were honored at this year’s awards.

The list of the 2017 Legendary Nurse Awardees are as follows:

ND Legendary Nurse Award: Leadership

Kim Mertz, BNSc, Bismarck, ND
Billie Madler, BSN, MSN, DNP, FAANP, Bismarck, ND
Carla Hansen, MSN, CENP, CCRN, Fargo, ND
Annie Eliason, MSN, RNC-OB, Bismarck, ND

ND Legendary Nurse Award: Faculty Achievement

Jenna Herman, DNP, MS, BA-RN, Bismarck, ND

ND Legendary Nurse Award: Nurse Executive

Deborah Swanson, MSN, BSRN, Grand Forks, ND
Doris Vigen, BSRN, Mayville, ND

ND Legendary Nurse Award: Evidence Based Practice

Sara Stetz, MSRN, Fargo, ND
Megan Carlblom, MS, BSRN, SCRN, Fargo, ND

ND Legendary Nurse Award: Advocacy

Tara Brandner, DNP, FNP-MS, Ashley, ND

ND Legendary Nurse Award: Preceptor

Christopher Lunde, BSRN, Jamestown, ND

ND Legendary Nurse Award: Volunteer

Tara Wilkens, BSRN, Bismarck, ND

ND Legendary Nurse Award: Champion for Nursing

Senator Tim Mathern, Fargo, ND
Amanda Remynse, Bismarck, ND


Thank You Conference Committee

The North Dakota Center for Nursing would like to thank the conference planning committee for their help in organizing this year’s conference. Our committee list includes the following individuals (listed alphabetically):

  • Sandy Boschee
  • Ryan Day
  • Whitney Fear
  • Katherine Halvorson
  • Carla Hansen
  • Julie Hanson
  • Melissa Hanson
  • Jenna Herman
  • Loretta Heuer
  • Amanda Holland
  • Jennifer Jacobson
  • Jen Jensen
  • Tessa Johnson
  • Dana Kitsch (Committee Co-Chair)
  • Norma Kiser-Larson
  • Wendy Knopp
  • Mary Anne Marsh
  • Susan Pederson
  • Gabriell Petri
  • Glenda Reemts
  • Karen Robinson
  • Heidi Selzler-Echola
  • Jackie Smith
  • Tami Such (Committee Co-Chair)
  • Jamie Thongphet
  • Sylvia Wages


Thank You Conference Sponsors

A big thank you to our conference sponsors who helped make this year’s conference and award ceremony a success!