Ellen Kissinger, M.S.N., RN, N.E.-B.C.

Ellen Kissinger, M.S.N., RN, N.E.-B.C.

Ellen Kissinger, M.S.N., RN, N.E.-B.C.
Magnet Program Director


This nomination comes from the voices of patients and nurses current and past. It is with great honor that this nomination for a Daisy Lifetime Achievement award is presented for Nurse Ellen Kissinger. Ellen has a lifetime of achievements, contributions, and relationships that have had meaningful impact on patients, families, nursing practice, nurses, and UC Davis Health. This nomination is to recognize her lifetime impact to nursing and the organization she dedicated her career and passion to – UC Davis Health!

Ellen started at UC Davis Health in Pediatrics on July 18, 1988 where she was a clinical nurse at the bedside. Her probationary evaluation from Lynne Boehret and Angie Marin reads:

“performance surpasses all expectations, continues to function at a high standard. Copes well with the environment and stress of East 7”

Ellen was a crucial member of the clinical and leadership team in Pediatrics. She was part of the leadership team that introduced primary nursing to UC Davis Health. She cared for thousands of patients and families of all ages and diagnosis. Ellen had a particular interest in children with oncological diagnosis and developed therapeutic relationships with her patients and families. She has unique skills of meeting the development and coping needs for the hospitalized child. She would be seen in the playroom or the hallways with her patients (wagons, strollers, toy cars, IV pole in tow); always aware of her responsibility as a Pediatric Nurse, to minimize the impact of hospitalization. In observation of Ellen in the clinical space, she thrived in her role and supported her team around her, elevating clinical practice and building highly effective teams.

Ellen contributed to the leadership role with the unit move in 1999 to Davis 7 Pediatrics with on boarding and orientation of the dozen nurses hired to support the additional beds. Ellen also was a mentor to many nurses supporting their professional growth. On January 1, 2005 Ellen was appointed an acting ANII that later became permanent. As an ANII, she was a visual leader on the unit with strong advocacy skills and clinical excellence. About the same time, as a full-time nurse and mother of three, Ellen made the professional commitment to return for her master’s degree. This demonstrated her professional commitment to nursing and love for education.

In 2011, Ellen made a career change and commitment to be our Magnet Program Director (MPD) to lead the journey of re-establishing our Magnet designation. As (MPD), Ellen was an essential contributor in establishing our Professional Governance structure, our Professional Practice model, improving our quality metrics, professional development programs, gratitude/recognition programs and influencing organizational morale. This came full circle when in October 2013 UC Davis submitted a Magnet application and in January 2014 received Magnet designation. This day was a party! Ellen coordinated a celebration unlike no other to celebrate the organization and nurses shared accomplishment. Ellen has gone on to lead two further Magnet applications and redesignations – one September 2018 and June 2023.

Ellen has also served as a historian with publishing the UC Davis Nurses and the Nursing Annual report for over 10 years – celebrating widely the work and accomplishments of others. She has also served as our Daisy Program coordinator for over ten years assuring the work of all UC Davis Nurses is celebrated. She has attended more Daisy celebrations than any of us in this room and has captured the moments of joy and gratitude quietly from the corner of the room. Today we take the time to celebrate you – Ellen – a nurse for your lifetime of achievements. Your legacy at UC Davis Health includes the impact of how you have made all of us