Illinois 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leaders Award Winner Highlight: Kelly Perez

Meet Kelly Perez, the APRN Coordinator for Inpatient Pediatric Units at Advocate Children’s Hospital. As a leader, mentor and advocate for pediatrics, Kelly has made a remarkable impact on the healthcare industry. She has been nominated for the class of 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.

Kelly Perez: A Rising Star in Pediatric Nursing

In the nursing industry, individuals stand out for their dedication, innovation, and leadership. Kelly Perez undoubtedly falls into this category. Her remarkable achievements and transformative contributions have earned her the well-deserved recognition of the American Nurses Association’s 40 Under 40 Award.

A Beacon of Clinical Expertise

Kelly Perez’s influence and expertise run throughout Advocate Children’s Hospital. As an Advanced Practice Nurse Coordinator, Kelly is not only well-respected but also acknowledged as a clinical expert. Her ability to approach every challenge with innovative thinking has not only revolutionized practices but has also elevated patient care to new heights.

One remarkable example of Kelly’s innovation is her role in redesigning the Children’s Hospital Early Warning score algorithm. This endeavor aimed to streamline patient care processes by reducing unnecessary hurdles. Kelly’s approach was anything but conventional—she assembled a multidisciplinary team of nurses and physicians, invited feedback, and facilitated shared decision-making. The outcome was a redesigned system that not only supported patients but also enhanced the overall clinical practice.

A Leadership Force for Pediatric Care

Kelly’s leadership extends beyond individual projects. She spearheads the Advocate Aurora Health Pediatric Subspecialty Committee, a role that involves coordinating pediatric practice initiatives across a network of more than twenty hospitals within the health system. Kelly’s confidence and adept leadership enable her to unify diverse teams, facilitating consensus on evidence-based pediatric practices that can be implemented across various care sites and resource levels.

In addition to her leadership prowess, Kelly advocates passionately for the pediatric population within an adult-centric hospital system. She ensures that every new initiative and product change aligns with the best interests of pediatric patients—a testament to her unwavering commitment to their well-being.

A Mentor and Advocate for Excellence

Kelly’s dedication to mentorship and professional growth is an embodiment of her commitment to nursing excellence. She serves as a mentor to clinical nurses and her fellow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). Her guidance has been instrumental in driving evidence-based practice (EBP) initiatives, ranging from pupillometry in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) to redesigning PICU orientation practices. Her pursuit of excellence led her to earn a Doctor in Nursing Practice (DNP) in Pediatric Primary Care, a reflection of her determination to push the boundaries of her capabilities.

A Pillar of Clinical Policy Excellence

Kelly’s influence isn’t confined to patient care; she also plays a vital role in shaping clinical policies and procedures. Her participation as a pediatric nursing representative on the system clinical policy and procedure committee ensures that the expertise of pediatric clinical professionals is incorporated into policy development, review, and approval processes. Her upcoming role as co-chair of the new clinical policy and procedure committee highlights her commitment to upholding policy excellence.

Creating Global Impact

Kelly’s dedication isn’t restricted to her local community. Her involvement with the Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN) showcases her dedication to collaboration and continuous learning. She frequently collaborates and benchmarks with other pediatric institutions, sharing insights and best practices. Kelly’s commitment extends globally as well—her participation in a medical missionary trip to Haiti exemplifies her unwavering dedication to improving healthcare access and quality for vulnerable populations.

In recognition of her accomplishments, Kelly has also had the honor of presenting at the SPN national conference, sharing her insights on implementing early warning score systems across multiple hospital sites within the health system.

Kelly Perez: A Champion in Pediatric Nursing Leadership

Kelly Perez’s tireless dedication, innovation, and leadership have illuminated the path for pediatric excellence within Advocate Children’s Hospital and beyond. Her commitment to evidence-based practice, mentorship, and compassionate care positions her as a true beacon of nursing leadership. As she receives the ANA’s 40 Under 40 Award, it is a clear acknowledgment of her exceptional contributions to the nursing profession and her unwavering dedication to enhancing patient care and outcomes. Kelly Perez is a remarkable individual whose impact on pediatric nursing will undoubtedly resonate for years to come.

Congratulations to Kelly Perez and Advocate Children’s Hospital 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 Kelly 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!