40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leaders Award Winner Highlight: Stephanie Zidek

Meet Stephanie Zidek, an award-winning nursing program director at Advocate Aurora Health. She was an author in healthcare journals, and transformative nursing leader. She has been nominated for the 2023 Illinois Nurses foundation 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leaders Award. Designed to highlight young nurses that are making a lasting difference in the healthcare industry, this award celebrates those who shape the future of nursing. 

Stephanie Zidek: Transforming Nursing Leadership and Innovation

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving field of healthcare, visionary leaders are essential to driving positive change and improving patient outcomes. Stephanie Zidek, the program director for the New Graduate Nurse Residency Program (NGNRP), exemplifies this kind of leadership. With her innovative approach, she has not only reimagined the NGNRP but also revolutionized the concept of nursing leadership and professional development.

Pivoting in the Face of a Pandemic:

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020, Stephanie was faced with a significant challenge. Determined to continue supporting new graduate nurses amidst the crisis, she swiftly pivoted the NGNRP to a hybrid model. By combining instructor-led virtual sessions with self-paced learning, she ensured that nurses received the necessary guidance and support during these challenging times. This adaptive approach showcased Stephanie’s commitment to her profession and her unwavering dedication to the well-being of her team.

Community Engagement and Social Impact:

Stephanie understands the importance of community engagement and its role in nursing practice. To foster a sense of social responsibility among her team, she established the inaugural Hackathon within the Nursing Education Professional Development department. This innovative event aligned with the organization’s nursing strategic plan and focused on addressing social determinants of health. Through a partnership with a local non-profit organization serving youth, Stephanie created volunteer opportunities for all NGNRP participants. The team contributed their time and efforts to various food pantries, making a tangible difference in the lives of those in need.

Commitment to Professional Growth:

A true advocate for lifelong learning, Stephanie Zidek sets a standard for professional development. Currently pursuing a PhD in nursing leadership and wellbeing, she demonstrates a dedication to advancing her knowledge and expertise. Stephanie actively engages with professional organizations such as the Association for Professional Development (ANPD), where she serves as a board member. Additionally, she contributes to the nursing community through her involvement with the Nursing Professional Development (NPD) Scope and Standards of Practice Committee, her authorship of the 2022 ANPD Leadership Chapter on Human Relations, and her participation in the ANPD Podcast.

Recognitions and Awards:

Stephanie has been recognized as a rising star within the nursing community, honored as part of the American Organization for Nurse Leadership – Young Professional Voices Class of 2021. In 2023, she received the prestigious ANPDs Belinda E Puetz Award, further highlighting her dedication to pursuing excellence in nursing practice. These accolades are a testament to Stephanie’s remarkable achievements and her significant impact on the field.

Transformational Leadership:

As a leader, Stephanie Zidek fosters a collaborative and empowering environment for her team. She understands the importance of aligning individual interests and passions with organizational goals. Stephanie encourages her team members to share best practices, embrace stretch assignments, and explore innovative technologies. She also emphasizes the development of leadership potential and skills through a dedicated leadership development series. By caring for her staff in the same compassionate manner she would care for her patients, Stephanie creates a culture of respect, growth, and excellence within her department.

Stephanie Zidek: An Innovative Nursing Leader and Rising Star in the Healthcare Industry

Stephanie Zidek stands out as a transformative force within the nursing profession. Through her visionary leadership, she has reimagined the NGNRP, championed community engagement, and encouraged professional growth and development. Her commitment to excellence and patient-centered care has set a new standard for nursing leadership. Stephanie’s influence extends beyond her immediate team, raising the bar for nursing and NPD practice as a whole. Collaborating with Stephanie is an enriching experience that leaves a lasting impact on those fortunate enough to work alongside her. When you work with Stephanie, you are better for it. 

Congratulations to Stephanie Zidek and Advocate Aurora Health for this prestigious honor! The Illinois Nurses Foundation 40 Under 40 Award for Emerging Nurse Leaders is proven to open career doors for its recipients. INF is proud to celebrate nurses like Stephanie who have made a lasting impact in the healthcare industry. 

For more information on the INF 40 Under 40 Award Ceremony, click this link.

Illinois Nurses Foundation: Support Education, Advocation, and Recognition for Nurses

The Illinois Nurses Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports nurses through various programs, empowering them, promoting excellence, and advancing the nursing profession while also recognizing and celebrating the remarkable achievements of young nurses through the INF 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leaders Award, highlighting their talent and potential for the field’s growth and evolution. Donate to INF today and you can help empower nurses and improve healthcare!