Our Team

Vicki George, PhD, RN, FAAN

Vicki-GeorgeVicki George is noted for her specialization with helping organizations achieve Magnet® status, shared governance models, peer review, strategic planning, clinical leadership, innovation and complex systems. She is a researcher, writer and speaker and has published two books on peer review, a shared governance toolkit and numerous peer reviewed journal articles on nursing.

Vicki has been a Chief Nurse Executive for more than 23 years and is a nationally and internationally known consultant with extensive experience on creating professional practice environments. She has a proven track record in managing wide-scale change through a robust change model and team approach.

George was CNO at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, an academic medical center located in Lebanon, New Hampshire and lead them through Magnet re-designation. As the SVP/CNO for Catholic Health Initiatives, a 68-facility health system based in Denver Colorado, she developed their first system-wide Shared Governance Structure. While the Regional VP/CNE for Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin, Dr. George led the first hospital system to Magnet designation in 2001 and first five Magnet hospitals in Wisconsin.

Vicki began her long association with the Magnet® program as an appraiser and then shifted her focus to consulting with organizations to facilitate achievement of Magnet Recognition®. Vicki has assisted more than 90 organizations, both nationally and internationally, to obtain Magnet Recognition®.

Examples of Dr. George’s international work includes collaboration with Dr. Tim Porter O’Grady on nursing and whole systems on shared governance in Brazil, Dr. Kodier and the leadership exchange in Japan, and Dr. Linda Aiken on the journey to nursing excellence in Russia. In addition she has consulted on professional practice environments in Seoul, Korea; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Beirut, Lebanon; Qatar; and Singapore.

Barb Haag-Heitman, PhD, RN, FAAN, PHCNS-BC

barb-haag-heitmanBarb has more than 25 years of leadership experience in both acute and long-term care settings. During those years, she worked closely with clinical staff, physicians and organizational leaders to create cultures of sustainable quality outcomes and service excellence. Creating motivating professional practice environments and relationship building/team training are key components of these cultures.

Barb began her close affiliation with the Magnet® program in 2001 while working in Aurora Healthcare in Milwaukee, WI, the first healthcare system to achieve Magnet Recognition®. Barb’s experience with organizations on the Magnet® and Pathway to Excellence® journey spans more than a decade and she has helped dozens of organizations achieve their designation goals. She also works with Long Term Care facilities to help them achieve the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Awards based on the Malcolm Balridge Award criteria for quality in performance excellence.

Barb is a researcher, writer and speaker with expertise and a proven track record in application of novice to expert across all areas of nursing. Her vast experience includes whole systems peer review, whole systems shared governance, implementation of evidence-based practice, nursing research programs, and family centered care. She has authored two books, developed a shared governance tool kit, and published numerous peer-reviewed publications.

Her work is known nationally and internationally and she has worked with nurses in New Zealand, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

Vickie Moore, MSN, RN, NEA-BC


Vickie Moore has over 35 years of acute care nursing experience, as well as 20 years of consulting experience and 13 years experience as the chief nursing officer of Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Atlanta, leading them to become one of the first Magnet® hospitals in the nation. Vickie is a published author on the topics of shared governance and organizational reengineering. Moore has guided dozens of organizations through the Magnet® designation and re-designation process.

Her consultation experience includes a variety of healthcare organizations including large academic, tertiary, specialty, community, religiously affiliated, government, and critical access hospitals. Vickie has provided consultation on performance improvement to implement structural and process changes to improve outcomes and reduce cost of providing care in acute settings. She developed the structure and guided the process to implement one of the earliest nursing case peer review programs in the country. Vickie has provided guidance on written documentation to support the Magnet application and coached physicians, executives, and staff to achieve successful on-site appraisal.

Vickie is noted for her experience as a CNO of an organization with one of the most mature models of shared decision-making, clinical advancement and professional accountability. She has the ability to skillfully guide others to create structures and processed for true shared decision-making. She has expertise in evaluating models for best cultural fit, developing bylaws, and providing support and guidance to ensure effective decision-making as the model matures.

One of her unique skills is her ability to leverage her knowledge and experience in critical care systems and processes to address the requirements for empirical outcomes for magnet designation and re-designation.

Vickie is nationally and internationally recognized for her work on shared governance, peer review, transformational leadership, innovations to bring about clinical transformation and technology integration to facilitate improvement in patient outcomes Vickie has consulted and lectured in the Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM) to help bring the tenets of cultural empowerment and excellence in nursing to Jamaica, British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Belize, and Trinidad and Tabago.

Fran Hicks, PhD, RN, FAAN

Fran-HicksFran Hicks is an experienced nurse executive with a background that includes clinical practice, teaching, academic administration, board leadership, and experience as a healthcare consultant. Her clients include healthcare organizations, nursing associations, regulatory agencies, state governmental agencies, academic institutions, corporate boards in the public and private sectors, and individuals. She is committed to facilitating organizations in the development of programs designed to achieve desired outcomes and sustainability to achieve Magnet® Pathway to Excellence® designations.

Fran brings a unique perspective that incorporates her years of educational clinical experience and her strong foundation in education principals; professional practice theory, principles and standards; and practical implementation of change projects. Fran focuses on the advancement of professional nursing practice through development and evaluation of professional practice models and care delivery systems. She also has unique experience in program evaluation, outcomes measurement, research, grant writing, peer review, strategic planning and continued competence.

Fran has a proven track record of effective national leadership and philanthropy in a variety of organizations. She has over a decade of affiliation with the Magnet® and Pathway to Excellence® Programs.

Kathleen M. Stolzenberger, PhD, RN

Katheen-StolzenbergerKathleen Stolzenberger is a nationally recognized nurse leader who is widely respected for her expertise and influence in advancing professional nursing practice. Her career spans both academic and clinical appointments in progressive leadership roles. She served as President of the Connecticut League for Nursing for several years and was actively involved in forging statewide coalitions to advance nursing education.

Kathleen served as Director of Professional Practice and Magnet Project Director at Middlesex Hospital in Connecticut for over 14 years. She led the organization to its first Magnet designation in 2001 when it became the 35th Magnet facility in the country and the first Magnet hospital in Connecticut. In 2005 and again in 2008, she authored their Magnet documents that were accepted on initial submission. Kathleen guided the organization through successful site visits that earned Middlesex Hospital its second and third Magnet designations and is assisting them to prepare for a fourth designation in 2013.

Since 2006, Kathleen has consulted with over 50 hospitals to advance professional practice and strengthen the nursing work environment. She provides expert services to organizations applying for ANCC Magnet designation as well as to those invested in building the infrastructure for nursing research, peer review, and shared governance. Kathleen served as an ANCC Consultant from 2007 to 2012 before joining Nursing Consulting Partners. In that capacity, she assisted more than 30 hospitals in achieving Magnet designation and guided dozens more in preparing for the Magnet journey. Among these were freestanding specialty organizations, children’s hospitals, and acute care facilities of every size and configuration. Many clients retain her services repeatedly for interim assessments, preparation for re-designation, and guidance in addressing document deficiencies for re-designation when identified by the ANCC Commission.

Kathleen’s research interest is the practice of direct care nurses and the unit and organizational context in which it occurs. An educator at heart, she has a special talent for engaging staff nurses in understanding the real meaning and impact of the Magnet Model in everyday clinical practice. Kathleen is adept at helping organizations develop and integrate professional practice models that hold relevance and meaning for practicing nurses. In 2005, she co-authored a chapter in Leadership Competencies for Clinical Managers: The Renaissance of Transformational Leadership by Barker, Sullivan, and Emery.

Kathleen has earned a reputation as a dynamic speaker and engaging presenter. She has presented at four of the most recent ANCC Magnet Conferences, including the 2012 pre-conference ANCC Research Symposium. She is a frequent keynote speaker during leadership retreats and Nurses Week activities and is the recipient of several leadership awards.

Maricarmen Luhrsen, MSN, RN, NE-BC

Maricarmen Luhrsen has more than 15 years of nursing experience in the acute care settingLuhrsen, Maricarmen_pp and has spent the past 7 years in various leadership roles.  She successfully led the design, implementation and sustainment efforts of an organization-wide interdisciplinary shared governance structure that was recognized as an exemplar in practice by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.  She has led Torrance Memorial Medical Center in California to their initial Magnet® designation in 2011 via web-based submission as the Magnet Program Director.  Maricarmen has helped many other organizations successfully submit their documents via a web-based submission as well. She continues her work in California with Torrance Memorial as both the Magnet Program Director as well as the Director of Patient Experience.  Over the past 2 years, she has led the organization to develop strategies to improve patient experience scores significantly through the utilization of the organization-wide shared governance structure as well as clear alignment from the senior executive level to physicians to the bedside.  Maricarmen has also developed strategies to successfully engage staff and support managers in interpreting clinical quality data to identify and prioritize countermeasures that lead to organizational success.

Maricarmen specializes in Magnet® document website submission, Magnet® champion engagement, Magnet® site visit preparation, interdisciplinary shared governance, physician and staff engagement, peer review, implementation of patient/family centered care through the design and development of patient/family advisory councils and the interpretation of data to improve practice.

Colleen O’Brien Smith, MSN, RN, NEA-BC

Colleen_webColleen Smith is a visionary nurse executive with a strong background in strategic planning, leadership development, and succession planning and has a solid background in all operational aspects of acute care including pat ient flow, care coordination and facility design. Colleen is a Wharton Nurse Fellow and holds certification in advanced nursing administration through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She received both her BSN and MSN from the University of Connecticut School of Nursing. In 2011 Colleen was awarded Connecticut Hospital Association’s Distinguished Service Award which recognizes individuals with extraordinary service to the healthcare field with significant contributions or achievements in governance, management or clinical services. As CNO of Middlesex Hospital in Connecticut for 16 years, Colleen led the organization to achieve its initial Magnet designation in 2001 followed by two successful redesignations in 2005 and 2010. From 2007-2012 she served ANCC as a Magnet® Program Appraiser.

Colleen’s experience includes oversight for Homecare, Hospice, and Palliative Care, and Disease Management Programs. Given her emphasis on creating a supportive workplace and an empowering culture, Colleen is keenly focused on building smart interdisciplinary teams to accomplish organizational objectives. She is a perceptive, decisive leader committed to preserving quality patient care in an era of spiraling fiscal constraint.

Isis Montalvo, MBA, MS, RN

Isis Montalvo - Head Shot

Isis is an award winning, outcomes-driven healthcare executive with expertise in nursing quality, business management, program development, health care policy and education. She is an accomplished enthusiastic team builder and creative problem solver with strong organizational skills and an outstanding work ethic. Isis creates elegant solutions, increases program value and consistently achieves goals. Her expertise includes program and product development, healthcare business consulting, strategic planning, facilitation and process improvement. She is a skilled presenter who consistently receives excellent ratings for providing content in a meaningful and impactful way.

In her role as Director, National Center for Nursing Quality at the American Nurses Association (ANA), she advocated for nursing quality and patient safety, provided measurement services in developing and reporting nursing measures, and facilitated collaborative learning on a national level. She provided strategic direction and oversight to the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators® (NDNQI®) for over eight years, leading program development and tripling hospital participation to over 2000 hospitals.  She established and co-chaired the NDNQI Research Council and led the establishment and planning of ANA’s Nursing Quality conference and quality educational offerings.

Isis has over 20 years of hospital experience in multiple areas of clinical and administrative practice, with a focus on performance improvement. She is a member of multiple professional groups, including Sigma Theta Tau and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Societies. She has published multiple articles and books on nursing quality improvement. Isis received an AJN publication award for the book – NDNQI Case Studies in Nursing Quality Improvement (2011), along with a STC publication award for the book -Transforming Nursing Data into Quality Care: Profiles of Quality Improvement in U.S. Healthcare Facilities (2007).