Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo Nurse Receives National VA’s Excellence in Nursing Award

Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo Veterans have one more reason to feel good about their local healthcare services at the VA, as they now have a nationally recognized nurse providing their care. The Veterans Health Administration recently announced Anabel Quintanar, RN-BC, MSN as the national winner of the 2018 VA Secretary’s Awards for Excellence in Nursing and Advancement of Nursing Programs in the Registered Nurse staff role. The VA Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Nursing is the highest award for nursing within VA. There are local and regional winners chosen from hundreds of nominees and from there, one national winner is selected.

“What an amazing honor to have been selected,” exclaimed Quintanar. “I feel very blessed to work for the VA and our nation’s heroes.”

Quintanar is a Patient Aligned Care Team RN float nurse for the Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo CBOCs and is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in ambulatory care nursing. She has worked 10 years in ambulatory care and has been selected for her nursing knowledge and expertise by international publisher Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins to contribute to the company’s text books and other publications as a clinical editor for ambulatory care nursing.

During her tenure at the VA, Quintanar recognized the need for improved wound care for Veterans with complicated/atypical wounds. The severity of the wounds often prohibited patients from Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo to travel long distances to the Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center and VA West Los Angeles Medical Center Wound Care Clinics. Quintanar proposed the idea of conducting the Wound Care Clinic via CVT technology in the Santa Maria CBOC. The idea was accepted and the clinic continues to operate weekly saving local Veterans time and resources that otherwise would be used for travel.

Quintanar comes from nearby Guadalupe, California, a place she describes as “a small, migrant community town with many Vietnam-era Veterans.” Both her father and uncle were drafted in the Vietnam-Era war and she considers it an honor to serve Veterans.

“I personally don’t feel worthy of this award but this award represents all of my colleagues, family and Veterans,” explains Quintanar. “They are the backstory that got me here.”

Her passion for nursing services extends beyond the VA, Quintanar is the president and founder of Central Coast Nurse Professionals. Recognizing that the Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo areas lack nursing professional groups, she decided to create a professional organization in Jan 2017 with a goal of creating a local nursing community. Her mission is to work toward nurse empowerment through local communities by supporting the practice of nursing for all specialties and levels.

“We have many fantastic nurses at GLA that exceed expectations by a substantial margin! We are very proud of Ms. Quintanar for being a role model of how we display the honor and privilege each one of us should have in taking care of our nation’s heroes” said James Doelling, Associate Director, Patient Care Services & Nurse Executive

As part of her selection, Quintanar, along with the other awardees, will have her photo displayed on the VA Office of Nursing Services website and VAntage Point, VA’s official blog. She will also be formally recognized at a ceremony at VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System main campus in west Los Angeles on May 3rd. Congratulations!


U.S. Department of  Veterans Affairs

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