Award Recipients

2019 Recipients

Distinguished Alumnus Award
Lynne Buchanan, PhD, APRN-NP, BC
BSN 1979, MSN 1983, Post-Master Certificate 1999


Dr. Buchanan earned her Associate Degree in Nursing from Iowa Western Community College in 1974; and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1979 and Master of Science in Nursing in 1983 from UNMC. She received her PhD from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1989. She received a post-master certificate in Adult Health as an advanced practice registered nurse practitioner (APRN-NP) from UNMC in 1999 and is an AACN board certified primary care nurse practitioner since 2000.

After academic appointments in Colorado and after working as a quality improvement coordinator for Aramco Oil Company in Dhahran Saudi Arabia, in 1998 she joined the Omaha Division of the UNMC College of Nursing. She served as an Assistant Professor, then Associate Professor and was appointed for tenure in 2009. She was the MSN Area Coordinator for Adult Gerontology in 2012 and became the MSN Director and Co-Director of the BSN-to-DNP Program in 2016.

She is certified as a Tobacco Treatment Specialist through the Mayo Clinic. Her practice is in the area of adult gerontology, health promotion, prevention and secondary screening intervention. She consults for tobacco treatment at the Nebraska Medical Center, VA Hospitals and nationally. She has delivered multiple presentations most recently at the Midwest Nursing Research Society Conference in Kansas City and the Telehealth Everywhere Conference in Minneapolis. She has more than 25 peer reviewed publications and book chapters.

Service includes the 1998-2000 task force for development of the advanced practice nurse umbrella legislation act. She was appointed 2002-2007 by the Department of Health and Human Services to the State Board of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. She is a member of the Nebraska Nurse Practitioners, the American Nurses Association, and the Midwest Nursing Research Society. 

Dr. Buchanan is interested in primary care partnerships in rural and underserved populations. She is currently the principle investigator of a $1.2 million Health Resources and Services Administration grant to increase the rural workforce numbers and preparation. She has current funding for and is a pioneer in the development of the inaugural telehealth learning laboratory and curriculum in the College of Nursing aimed at graduate and nurse residency students. She has past grants in technology use for care delivery using a personal digital assistant for managing nicotine addiction.

Dr. Buchanan lives in Elkhorn, NE with her spouse Richard who recently retired from the banking industry as Compliance Officer at Mutual of Omaha bank. Together they have four children and eight grandchildren. Their hobbies are traveling, golf, bird watching, gardening and reading. They are members of the Bethany Lutheran Church and do volunteer work in their spare time.

Nursing Excellence Award
Michelle Young, MSN, RN
BSN 2009, MSN 2013


Michelle (Shelly) Young joined Great Plains Health in North Platte, Nebraska in 2005 as a nursing assistant. She completed her Associate Degree in Nursing from Mid-Plains Community College and graduated from the UNMC College of Nursing in 2009 with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and in 2013 with her Master of Science in Nursing.

Shelly began in the Medical Surgical Unit as a primary nurse, pediatric nurse and pediatric nurse educator. Along with her career goals of becoming more involved in the leadership side of nursing, she has taken on the Clinical Manager role and now the Director of Acute Care at Great Plains Health. She manages over 70 employees and oversees the clinical ladder program and the Daisy Award.  

She believes that strengthening herself as a leader will strengthen her department and ultimately lead to a better patient experience and better outcomes for patients. She is consistently reviewing processes and policy in order to identify improvements that will directly impact patient care, including hourly rounding and call-light procedures.

Shelly and her husband Kevin have been married for 27 years and have three children; Sierra, Jenna and Sage and one grandchild; Jaide.

Honorary Alumnus Award
LaDonna Tworek


LaDonna Tworek has been and Administrative Associate at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing Dean’s Office since 1990.  She has served under four deans including Dr. Rosalee Yeaworth, Dr. Ada Lindsey, Dr. Virginia Tilden and now Dr. Juliann Sebastian. She has also assisted two interim deans, Dr. Catherine Todero and Dr. Janet Cuddigan. Ms. Tworek started at the UNMC College of Nursing in 1980 as a Staff Assistant in the Continuing Nursing Education Department under the leadership of Mrs. Lorraine Hedman and later Dr. Bevely Hays.

She received the College of Nursing Staff Excellence Award in 2008 and was honored to be the inaugural recipient of the Ada M. Lindsey Professional Staff Award in 2019. 

Ms. Tworek grew up on a farm near Silver Creek, Nebraska and moved to Omaha to attend business college.  Her daughter and son-in-law live in Nebraska City and she is blessed with four beautiful granddaughters ranging in age from 22 to 8.

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