Sabrina Downs


Sabrina has more than 35 years of experience in nursing. She has a diversified background including clinical experience in med-surg, critical care, oncology, and palliative/end-of-life care. She has held a variety of leadership roles in multiple settings. Key leadership accomplishments include program development of a comprehensive cancer care program that achieved accreditation from the American College of Surgeons, and she served as the Associate Nursing Officer during the successful merger of two large hospital systems.  

Sabrina also served as the Director of Professional Practice and Magnet® Recognition at Vanderbilt University Hospitals and Clinics (Vanderbilt University Medical Center).  She led the organization to be the first system in Middle Tennessee to achieve their first Magnet® designation. Under Sabrina’s continued leadership and oversight, Vanderbilt achieved their second and third designations.  She also led them through a successful document submission for a fourth designation.  Sabrina has a strong commitment to the recognition of clinical nurses as integral members of the healthcare team.

As the Director for Magnet Recognition, Sabrina provided leadership for the development of their first Professional Practice Model, building sustainable models for peer review, nursing research, and nursing quality. To achieve and sustain Magnet® designation, Sabrina is committed to the development of effective, sustainable programs that achieve measurable, desired outcomes.

Sabrina also led Vanderbilt to achieve the organization’s first recognition as one of the “Best Workplaces for Men in Nursing” bestowed by the American Association for Men in Nursing (AAMN). The AAMN is a professional organization that works to improve gender diversity and inclusion in nursing. The organization has successfully sustained this recognition for the third time. She also co-led the system-wide implementation of the Daisy Award that acknowledges nurses’ clinical skills and compassion provided to patients and families. This valued recognition program is now sustained and overseen by the clinical nursing staff.

Sabrina received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Murray State University, a master’s degree in nursing from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and a master’s in business administration from Belmont University. Sabrina has been a member of various professional organizations and has held multiple national certifications. Additionally, she is a certified Nurse Executive (NE-BC) through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She has also published and lectured on various clinical and leadership topics.