Letter From The President

Dear NMCNE Community,

 The New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence (NMCNE or The Center) is celebrating its 20th year anniversary this year.  Our organization was founded to convene and facilitate dialogue and action that results in excellence in nursing education, practice, and work environment.  

Since 2005, NMCNE has hosted an annual celebration, known as the Nursing Excellence Awards, to recognize the tremendous contributions the nurses of our state provide.  Over the years, 3,323 nurses have been nominated for excellence awards and 382 nurses have been recognized as excellence award honorees.  This year’s award ceremony will take place on April 15th at the beautiful Sandia Resort and Casino.  

In addition to our efforts to recognize nurses, the Center supports nursing education and nursing faculty.  Our annual Nurse Educators Conference brings New Mexico nursing professionals together to learn about new advances in practice, network, and continue to provide the best education possible to our current and future nursing colleagues.  In addition, the Center’s nursing Nightingale Scholarship program has been active since 2007, awarding over $175,000 in scholarship support to those seeking education in nursing.  

We are so proud of what our organization, with the support of tremendous nursing professionals, has been able to accomplish in our twenty year history. We look forward to continuing our strong traditions of cultivating and recognizing nursing excellence in New Mexico.


Robert Middleton, MSN, MBA, RN, CENP
2023 NMCNE Board President and Treasurer

20 Year Timeline

NEA 20YR Timeline Page 1 NEA 20YR Timeline Page 2


20th Anniversary of the NM Center for Nursing Excellence
An Exhibit Commemorating 20 Years 

 2023 marks the 20th Anniversary of the NM Center for Nursing Excellence. We are excited to celebrate with you on April 15 at the Sandia Resort and Casino as part of the Nursing Excellence Awards Gala. Beginning at 5:30 PM, during the reception and silent auction, we will be exhibiting the artwork of past Nursing Excellence Awards, stories from our founders and fond memories from the past 20 years. 

 If you have ever been a nominee, a recipient of an award or a member of the nursing community, we invite you to attend this tribute to the hard-working nurses of our state and allow us to share how the NMCNE became the cornerstone of recognizing nursing excellence in New Mexico. 

Our Hummingbird Circle

 The Hummingbird Circle enables the Center to celebrate nurses whose wings helped to lift up and carry our work farther to benefit the nurses we serve. The founding board members of the NM Center for Nursing Excellence are our inaugural Hummingbird Circle.

 We will be recognizing these members at this year’s Nursing Excellence Awards. Please join our Reception & Silent Auction where we will be screening group interviews with our Hummingbird Circle. The interviews tell the story of how The Center began and sheds light on the collaboration, resilience and vision that went into forming this profound organization.

Hummingbird Circle Participants:  Hummingbird Circle Interviews
Fran A'Hern-Smith
Kathy Davis
Susan Fox
Joie Glenn
Jerry Harrison
Patricia Hurst

Nursing Excellence Awards Artwork Through The Years
Art by De Haven Solimon Chaffins

The New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence has been
hosting the Nursing Excellence Awards since 2005. An exhibition of the artwork from all
18 of those awards programs hung on display at the Nursing Excellence Awards Gala
on April 15 at the Sandia Resort and Casino.

REFLECTION: Nursing Excellence Awards Exhibition of Artwork Through The Years
2005 - To Present 

Local artist, De Haven Solimon Chaffins has shared her remarkable talent with the New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence for 18 years. The art she designs for the awards program represents her very personal tribute to nurses, and the artwork changes every year. 

Since birth, Skye was a chronically ill child. The PICU and the Pediatric unit became our second home. This is how we became accustomed to seeing the nurses. I packed a small sketch book and would draw in between feedings and procedures. Trying hard to concentrate on the good instead of the bad. 

For me, the Hummingbird has always represented the messenger. At times, the Hummingbird(s) in this collection would be depicted coming out of a storm. The storm, being seen as an illness. Or at times, the Hummingbird would also be seen with a deity, animal effigies, or alone. A depiction of prayer, a need for extra help, and or solitude. 

This is how I saw Nurses; fluttering from patient to patient. Their iridescent wings illuminated by the Sun, bringing with them medicine, prayers and compassion. At times, I also saw nurses shed tears; this became a depiction of rain – rain nourishing the landscape, washing away sadness. 

Everything depicted in the imagery of this body of work is symbolic with a special meaning. Our little Skye, the Nurses, and Healing. 

De Haven Solimon Chaffins
Laguna & Zuni Pueblo

 NEA Artwork on Exhibit

NEA Artwork on Exhibit

NEA Artwork on Exhibit

A Selection of NEA Artwork before the show


2022 Nursing Excellence Awards Poster Orders

De Haven has shared her remarkable talent with us since our award program began. The art she designs represents her very personal tribute to nurses, and it’s important to mention that the artwork changes every year. Signed prints of De Haven’s beautiful artwork are available for purchase at the link below. Each poster is $25 and includes a mandatory shipping and handling fee of $10. 

Purchase a Poster Here