Taking Your Time with Freda Lyon: An Examiner Spotlight



Congratulations on being a 2020 Rookie of the Year! How do you feel? 

[FL] I was extremely honored to be nominated and then to be selected.  While participating in the preparation for the site visit and the site visit itself, I just hoped that I was contributing to the evaluation. I never expected this honor, I was just part of a team.  I had great mentors in Dawn Team Lead and Anthony [Napolitano], the Results lead, and I owe this honor to their leadership.

Your Team Leader, Dawn Antinori, said you “wanted an opportunity to learn the ‘results’ Category, so Anthony [Napolitano] mentored” you. You “not only completed the analysis, but led the 7.1 results call with the applicant.” What drew you so much to results? 

[FL] I love DATA, and the story the data can tell. The results section gives the organization the ability to shine and really tell their journey of improvement and innovation.    I learned so much from Anthony about the analysis of the results section.  Our site was easy to work with and loved the probing questions which made leading 7.1 easy.  It was a wonderful learning experience and I look forward to the future as a Florida Sterling Examiner. 

What advice can you give for a new Examiner that would like to learn more about any given Category?

[FL]   The prep and site visit really are team sports.  Utilize the team, especially those with previous experience in the category you are interested in to bounce thoughts and analysis of the application around.  Do not be afraid to voice your interest or expertise in a particular topic.  The most important thing is you have to put in the work.  The applicant has put a lot of work in the application and the journey, they deserve our attention to detail and participation. 

As the Vice President of Emergency Services for Wellstar Health System, what improvements do you attribute professionally and personally to the Sterling framework? 

[FL] The minute I returned from the site visit I was immediately in the middle of preparing for COVID-19.  The Sterling Framework gave me tools to assist in the preparation and response of the system to COVID.  I find myself utilizing the framework to form my thoughts and responses as I work within my organization and even at home.

With everything going on in regards to the pandemic, how do you unwind and make time for yourself?  

[FL] Early on in the planning phase of our response to the pandemic there was very little downtime, which made unwinding and making time for myself more important.  I scheduled time during the day to go take a long walk or go to the gym at work in the middle of the day, which worked very well.  My husband when I would come home took great care of me, cooking etc. so that I could spend my time home relaxing.

What advice would you give healthcare workers struggling to maintain personal and professional balance right now?

[FL] The best advice is to take care of yourself, take time to exercise, walk, run, or whatever you prefer to do.  Pay attention to what your body and mind is telling you. Lastly, spend time connecting with your family, even if it is by phone, facetime etc.   I will say that Wellstar has provided our team with many tools to stay mentally healthy during this time. I am blessed to work for such a wonderful organization who cares for its team members.

What has 2020 taught you? 

 [FL] 2020 has been very difficult with different challenges that we in healthcare and even in the U.S. have not faced in over a lifetime.  I have learned the importance of human contact and connection.  I have learned that as a member of team working together, we can face any problem, respond, and learn from it and move on.  The pandemic has been difficult, and we have lost many to COVID.  The country is divided with racial and cultural tension, it is a conversation and problem that has not been addressed in the open, I hope and pray that our country comes out on the other side of this situation more united, and accepting.  I have learned that actions speak louder than words and that silence is the problem. 


Freda Lyon, DNP, RN, NE-BCFAEN serves as Vice President of Emergency Service for WellStar Health System, the largest health system in Georgia.  In her role, Lyon is responsible for strategic planning, evidenced-based practice, patient experience, as well as recruitment and retention for the System’s 10 Emergency Departments.

With more than 630,000 visits a year, WellStar sees more emergency patients than any other health system in Georgia.  In addition, WellStar Kennestone Hospital operates the second busiest emergency department in the state.  As part of her role, she oversees WellStar’s emergency preparedness initiatives and serves on local, regional, and national emergency preparedness committees.

She is a Past President of the Georgia ENA 2016 and Metro Atlanta ENA 2015.  She serves as the Injury Prevention Chair for the State of Georgia Emergency Nurses Chapter.  Throughout her career Lyon has served on many state and local committees to improve care of the emergency department and trauma patients.  During her 37-year career, she has held numerous leadership positions in healthcare across the Southeast.



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