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Two Rutgers University Nurse Educators Nominated for ‘Beacon of Light’ Award


The Institute for Nursing, the foundation of New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA), announced today that it will honor two Rutgers University nurses for excellence in nursing, impact on profession and mentorship.

Shirley Smoyak, PhD, RN, FAAN, a public health professor at Rutgers University, and Martin Manno, PhD, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, NEA-BC, a clinical nurse at Virtua Health System, will be recognized at the Institute for Nursing Awards and Scholarship Gala on April 5, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency Princeton. One nurse from among the 14 outstanding nominees will be honored with the Beacon of Light award.

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“The Institute for Nursing Awards and Scholarship Gala is an event to celebrate nursing by recognizing nurses and community members who represent a passion for the profession, said Kate Gillespie, MBA RN NE-BC, chair of the Institute for Nursing and NJSNA president-elect. “These individuals demonstrate the passion and commitment to help other nurses through mentoring, coaching and giving back to the community through their compassion and desire to help others achieve their goals.”

Smoyak is a psychiatric nurse and health care sociologist. She also works as a member of the Rutgers University Division of Continuing Studies and the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research.

She has spent 50 years at Rutgers, teaching courses in nursing and social sciences and has been the editor of the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services since 1981. In her time as an educator, she has been a mentor and role model for generations of nurses and is known for her passion for the profession.

Smoyak is an author of several books and journal articles and well-known lecturer. She has lectured or been a guest professor in all 50 states as well as 15 nations. She chaired the court-appointed Doe v. Klein Monitoring Committee, which oversaw Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Morris Plains, N.J. She is also a charter member of the New Jersey Society of Certified Clinical Specialists in Psychiatric and Mental Health and a charter fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

She has received numerous honors, including being awarded the distinction of Living Legend by the AAN and an honorary doctorate from Kingston University in London.

Manno has more than 33 years of nursing experience, including academic nursing education, professional development and leadership.

“Dr. Manno is a highly-motivated nursing professional,” said Cheri Clancy, MSN, MS, RN, NEA-BC, CPXP, president of Cheri Clancy & Associates, LLC, who nominated him for the honor. “He utilizes his clinical, educational and leadership experiences as a foundation to inspire the next generation of nurses.”

He has worked as a clinical nurse specialist and director of nursing education at Penn Medicine and was the assistant vice president of clinical education and professional development at Kennedy Health. He has experience in program design, implementation and evaluation, evidence-based practice and research, academic and clinical instruction, and serves as a mentor.

“He is the epitome of a thought leader, as evidenced by his ability to empower and inspire diverse clinical teams,” Clancy said. “He led Kennedy Health’s nursing department to be recently recognized as one of the top five N.J. hospitals, receiving high marks from patient surveys in the category of nurse communication.”

Manno is also a part-time nursing faculty member at Rutgers University and a member of the School of Nursing Advisory Committee at Thomas Edison State University. He is the Burlington County coordinator of NJSNA and has published numerous articles in professional journals and presented at local, regional and national conferences.

The two nurses will be formally recognized on April 5, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency Princeton Hotel in Princeton, New Jersey with 12 other honorees and scholarship recipients.  To learn more about the New Jersey State Nurses Association, visit

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