Reinforcing the public perception of nursing as the most trusted profession, President Joe Biden awarded Sandra Lindsay, DHSc, MS, MBA, RN, CCRN-K, NE-BC, a critical care nurse, a Presidential Medal of Freedom in July 2022 for her work in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lindsay served on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and was the first American to receive the COVID-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials. Lindsay is an advocate of vaccines and mental health care for healthcare workers.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor a civilian can receive. The president presents it to those who have made “exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavor.”

Lindsay was one of 17 Americans honored in 2022, among others ranging from athletes, to artists and educators.

“These 17 Americans demonstrate the power of possibilities and embody the soul of the nation—hard work, perseverance, and faith,” the White House said in a statement. “They have overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us, and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities—and across the world—while blazing trails for generations to come.”