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Lurie Children’s CNO selected as Distinguished Alumni Award winner

Brian M. Stahulak

Brian M. Stahulak, BSN ’97, senior vice president and chief nursing officer of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, has been awarded the 2020 Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor given to a UIC Nursing graduate.

Stahulak, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, has spent his entire career at Lurie Children’s, formerly Children’s Memorial, beginning as a floor nurse in a liver transplant unit and moving up in seniority. Since 2016 he has served as chief nursing officer, where he has responsibility for 1,800 nurses and more than 300 advanced practice providers at the five-time Magnet-designated facility.

“He stepped into the CNO position at a critical time and has been instrumental in continuing to advance nursing while engaging nurses throughout the organization,” wrote Karen Richey, DNP, MBA, RN-BC, associate chief nursing officer at Lurie’s, in her nominating letter. “He understands the value and importance of exemplary nursing that contributes to improving the lives of the patients and families we serve and focuses on improving quality outcomes for patients and the well-being of our nursing teams.”

During his time as chief nursing officer, he has brought on more than 500 additional nurses to staff a significant growth of inpatient and NICU beds and a doubling of the hematology/oncology/stem cell transplant unit. Under his leadership, the organization completed its fifth Magnet designation, joining the less than 1% of hospitals nationwide that have been recognized five times and the first in Illinois.

Stahulak has also championed programs to allow Lurie nurses to continue their education, shifted to a Nursing Professional Governance model to give nurses a stronger say, and actively looks for ways to support and engage staff nurses.

“Mr. Stahulak is a dynamic, visionary and innovative leader who leads with heart,” wrote Diana Halfer, senior director, clinical and organizational development at Lurie Children’s. “He immediately connects with employees and physicians at all levels of the organization. He is a leader to watch.”