Program Directors of the Month

PTAP Program Directors of the Year



Children's National Hospital

Simmy King is the Chief Nursing Informatics and Education Officer at Children’s National Hospital and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at The George Washington University, School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. King leads the development and strategic implementation of information systems, technology, and education to advance clinical practice. She has produced measurable outcomes in nursing education and technology adoption to support academic progression, prepare practice-ready nurses and to advance diversity within the nursing workforce.

Since 2021, Dr. King as served as an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Practice Transition Accreditation Program appraiser. In addition, she serves as Treasurer for the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) Board of Directors, At-Large Member for the Virginia Organization for Nursing Leadership (VONL) Board of Directors and as a Commissioner for the City of Fairfax, Commission for Women. As a Commissioner, she advises the mayor and city officials on legislative and policy matters relating to women and girls; advocating to address their needs, eliminate discriminatory structures and practices, and to advance equity.

Dr. King holds a DNP from The George Washington University, an MBA/MHA from the University of Maryland, Global Campus and a BSN from the University of Toronto.

 What did it mean to you to be awarded the Program Director of the Year?

Receiving this award was an incredible honor. For me this award is not just a recognition of my role as a Program Direction, but rather a reflection of the incredible team and program we have at Children’s National. Our Transition to Practice Program has been committed for more than two decades to meet the needs of nurse resident and ensure their success as they transition into practice, that makes me very proud.

 What do you feel are key elements to being a successful program director?

  • The elements that support my success include having leadership buy-in about the value this program brings to our organization, having a strong team and collaborating with all stakeholders.
  • Building relationships with nurse residents has been is vital to my success and the program’s success. It is through these connections that I can develop a deep understanding of what they need to succeed. This allows me to be a strong advocate for the resources needed to have a sustainable and successful program.
  • Use a data-driven approach, whether it is quantitative or qualitative data, formative or summative...use this data for continuous improvement, to spark innovation and creativity, and share what you learn with others. We have built this incredible community of accredited programs, there is so much to learn from each other, seek guidance and mentorship, and to share and adopt best practices.

 What words of encouragement do you have for current program directors?

As a Program Director you have led your program to accreditation and you exude excellence. I hope you remind yourselves every day of the extreme importance of the work you are doing. You are influencing the future of healthcare, the healthcare workforce and health outcomes.


Massey_Ann_MUG_RGB__002_.jpgKim Failla, PhD, RN, NE-BC, NPD-BC

Sharp HealthCare

Dr. Kim Failla is Director for Sharp HealthCare’s Terrence and Barbara Caster Institute for Nursing Excellence and Clinical Associate Professor at University of San Diego. Kim is also an appraiser for the American Nurses Credentialing Center Practice Transition Accreditation Program.

In the director role, she oversees the system nurse residency, transition in practice, preceptor, and mentor programs at Sharp HealthCare. Dr. Failla is active in the Association of California Nurse Leaders where she is chair of the Nursing Research and EBP Committee. She is a presenter at regional, national, and international conferences. 

 What did it mean to you to be awarded the Program Director of the Year?

 It was an honor and a joy to be awarded the Program Director of the Year. There were many worthy candidates, and I am certain that the nomination committee had difficulty in selecting the awardee.

 What do you feel are key elements to being a successful program director?

 Two key elements to being a successful program director include advanced education, and a mindset of continuous process improvement. Because PTAP accredited program standards require the identification of program goals and quality outcomes, having an advanced education helps in identifying, analyzing, interpreting, and reporting data (my organization uses the statistical program – SPSS). Regarding continuous process improvement, my healthcare organization values and embraces Lean Six Sigma and in 2019, I became a Green Belt to help with improving processes by increasing efficiency and operational performance.

 What words of encouragement do you have for current program directors?

 Stay involved with all healthcare organization functions. By keeping attuned to what’s going on in other areas of your healthcare, a program director can build highly effective transition programs. Never stop learning! Put yourself out there by getting an advanced education, by becoming certified, and through conference offerings. Be involved! Join applicable professional organizations because networking and collaboration are key to knowing what is going on locally, nationally, and frankly, globally.