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Dallas healthcare leader, alumna receives Shining Light Award

Kim Chaudoin | 

President Candice McQueen presents Susan Hernandez the Shining Light Award in Dallas.

The latest stop on the Be A Light tour was Dallas, Texas, on Tuesday, June 20, where alumni, prospective students, donors and friends gathered to hear the latest updates from Lipscomb University. 

As President Candice McQueen has challenged the Lipscomb community to be a light, at each stop on the tour someone in that community is selected to receive the Shining Light Award to recognize someone whose life — and light — shines brightly in the community and in their service to others. 

Lipscomb alumna Susan Hernandez (’90), health system chief nurse executive for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, was honored as the recipient of the Shining Light Award for the impact that she is making in the Dallas area and beyond. 

“I feel incredibly humbled by this honor. God has given me the opportunity to work in a field that I am passionate about,” said Hernandez. “I know I am doing exactly the work that I am intended to do. Thankfully, my Christian roots and connections to incredible people from my days at Lipscomb University have supported me to become the person I am today and allow me to use the gifts I have been given.”  

Hernandez, who is also a graduate of Lipscomb Academy, was a member of the Bison Cheerleading program and of Pi Delta social club while pursuing her undergraduate degree. She has been an avid supporter of her alma mater. In addition to her support for Lipscomb’s Riley Jean Tomlinson Endowed Scholarship, she also serves as an advisor to the School of Nursing, further showcasing her devotion to nursing education. 

Known for her long-standing service and commitment to nursing, Hernandez leads over 5,000 clinical care team members, including the nursing practice for approximately 3,500 nurses throughout two University Hospitals and over 60 ambulatory clinics in the UT Southwestern Medical Center system.

In June 2014, Hernandez joined UT Southwestern as chief nursing officer for University Hospitals, before assuming her current role in 2016. During her tenure at UT Southwestern, she has led the transition of nursing from St. Paul University Hospital to William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital and has expanded the nursing education program to enhance the quality of care across all disciplines. She also led an important external review of nursing practice by a panel of acclaimed national experts tasked with developing a plan to create a culture of nursing excellence at all sites of patient care at UT Southwestern. Prior to her work at UT Southwestern, Hernandez had a 20-year career at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which included serving as the chief nursing officer at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital.

Hernandez is known for her passion for the wellbeing of not only patients, but also staff, and advocates for the voice of the nurse through all levels of the organization. Much of her focus has been on supporting and advocating for the growth and development of nurse leaders and supporting clinical nursing excellence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In addition to her work in the UT Southwestern system, she has also served in leadership roles with North Texas Organization for Nursing Leadership and DFW Great 100 Nurses. Currently, she serves as President of NTONL and is president-elect of DFW Great 100 Nurses. In addition, she mentors clinical nurses and nurse leaders at UT Southwestern and in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She views her work in nursing as a vocation through which she serves others and lives out her faith.  

In addition, Hernandez supports Way-FM Christian radio, Hospital Hospitality House and Genesis Women’s Center. Hernandez and her husband, Edward, live in Dallas.