Loretta Ford to Receive AACN Pioneering Spirit Award

Ford — co-founder of the first nurse practitioner education program— will be honored for developing an interprofessional education model of nursing practice now used around the world

Released: 12-Mar-2014 9:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)
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Newswise — Loretta C. Ford, RN, PNP, EdD, FAAN, FAANP, co-founder of the first nurse practitioner education program, will receive the AACN Pioneering Spirit Award.

The award, from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), will be presented at the 2014 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition, Denver, May 17-22. This AACN Visionary Leadership Award recognizes significant contributions that influence high acuity and critical care nursing and relate to the association’s mission, vision and values.

During the past 60 years, Ford has become an internationally known nursing leader whose visionary efforts expanded the scope of practice in public health nursing and led to the development of the nurse practitioner role.

As a public health nurse in post-World War II rural Colorado, Ford realized that nurses with specialized training and advanced education could provide much-needed patient care.

She joined the faculty of the University of Colorado School of Nursing in 1961 and began working with a physician colleague in the medical school to develop a visionary model of advanced nursing practice. Together, they created the first pediatric nurse practitioner education program, with an interprofessional approach that was ahead of its time.

Ford joined the University of Rochester, New York, in 1972 as founding dean of its nursing school. For the next 17 years, until her retirement in 1989, she continued to refine and expand nurse practitioner education to include those caring for patients in high acuity settings.

To recognize her contributions to the school and the profession, the university named its new nursing education wing in her honor in 2006.

Her pioneering implementation of the unification model brought faculty expertise to the practice setting and practice experts to serve as faculty, creating a partnership across disciplines that remains an integral component of interprofessional education.

Her far-reaching contributions to acute and critical care nursing, as well as nursing as a whole, have influenced policy, finance, clinical practice, ethics and scholarship.

A diploma graduate of Middlesex General Hospital, New Brunswick, N.J., Ford was a staff nurse with the U.S. Army Air Force at several military bases during World War II before completing her bachelor’s and master’s studies in public health nursing from the University of Colorado School of Nursing, Boulder. She continued her studies to earn a doctoral degree in education from UC.

Ford has been recognized internationally by a host of prestigious organizations — most recently the American Association of Nurse Practitioners — with awards and honorary doctorates.

She currently consults and lectures on the historical development of the nurse practitioner role and issues affecting advanced practice and healthcare policy.

About the AACN Pioneering Spirit Award: The annual AACN Pioneering Spirit Award recognizes significant contributions that influence high acuity and critical care nursing regionally and nationally, and relate to AACN’s mission, vision and values. Recipients of this Visionary Leadership Award come from business, academia and healthcare, and receive a plaque and $1,000 honorarium at the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition. Other Visionary Leadership Awards, AACN’s highest honor, include AACN’s Lifetime Member Award, Honorary Member Award and the Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career.

About the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition: Established in 1974, AACN’s National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI) represents the world’s largest educational conference and trade show for nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients and their families. Bedside nurses, nurse educators, nurse managers, clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners attend NTI.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969 and based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN joins together the interests of more than 500,000 acute and critical care nurses and claims more than 235 chapters worldwide. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. www.aacn.org; facebook.com/aacnface; twitter.com/aacnme


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