VCU School of Nursing

Educating nurses from entry-level through the doctorate. Ranked in the top 4% of undergraduate nursing programs nationally.

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Linda Talley, vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., and a 1988 graduate of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, is the first recipient of the Paul A. and Veronica H. Gross Achievement in Nursing Award.

The award was created to recognize the value of an undergraduate educational degree and experience in professional nursing, coupled with a graduate degree. It recognizes a professional registered nurse affiliated with either VCU academic schools on the MCV/VCU campus, or with an accredited post graduate institution’s graduate studies program. The recipient has made substantial contributions to their institution, the health care industry, the community, nursing education or within the entrepreneurial marketplace.

Paul A. Gross established the award with a $100,000 gift to help motivate VCU students, faculty, staff and alumni to broaden their career and educational path. 

“We are so grateful that Mr. Gross provided such a meaningful gift that will allow us to recognize excellence among our alumni,” said Jean Giddens, Ph.D., a professor and dean in the School of Nursing. “I’m pleased to present the first award to an alumna who is an outstanding nurse leader dedicated to improving health care.”

The award recipient ordinarily would be recognized during the school’s commencement ceremony. Since commencement ceremonies went virtual in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19, Talley received virtual recognition from the school along with a plaque and monetary award.

In her role at Children’s National, Talley oversees nursing and is responsible for advancing nursing practice and research. She initially joined Children’s National as a staff nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit and then progressed to various positions of increasing responsibility. Before serving as interim chief nursing officer, she was vice president of nursing for critical care, the heart institute, and nursing systems. In that capacity, she played a key role in Children’s National becoming a Magnet-designated hospital, led the Beacon certification for the hospital’s critical care units — a distinction held by very few in the country — and developed and implemented a multidisciplinary simulations program. Earlier, she served as director of nursing systems and neonatal services and as nurse manager in the neonatal intensive care unit., neonatal transport team, and the ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) Program.

Talley has authored numerous publications and presented nationally on nursing quality, safety and workforce outcomes. She serves on a variety of councils and committees. including the ACGME Health Administration Advisory Group and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA), Annual Leadership Conference Member Advisory Committee. Talley was a 2019 American Academy of Nursing fellow.

Talley earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from VCU School of Nursing and a Master of Science in Health Care Administration from the University of Maryland.  She is a board-certified nurse executive and a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton Nursing Leaders Program.

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