UAB School of Nursing celebrates alumni, colleagues at annual dinner

School recognizes eight alumni, colleagues for outstanding contributions to the nursing profession, academia, and patients

alumni1The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing, along with the Nursing and Nurse Anesthesia Chapters of the UAB National Alumni Society, hosted the School's annual Alumni Night Dinner and Awards Ceremony Friday, September 25, 2015.

The dinner provided an opportunity for alumni to network and reconnect with fellow classmates and faculty. It also recognized the accomplishments to of a number of outstanding alumni. To see photos from the evening, click here

Cathy Rodgers Ward, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, Chief Nursing Officer at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center and the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, and who also holds an appointment as clinical faculty in the UCLA School of Nursing, was honored as the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient. Ward is responsible for nursing practice and nursing operations in these two hospitals. Ward has provided leadership and direction at UCLA for the past 30 years in various management roles. She earned her PhD from UCLA in 1995, the Masters of Science from Boston College in 1982, and Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the UAB School of Nursing in 1977.

Prior to the appointment at UCLA, Ward was Assistant Professor at Boston University School of Nursing on the Boston campus and the Overseas Campus in Germany. Other previous roles include Clinical Nurse Specialist at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Clinical Nurse in Cardiac Surgery at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Cardiovascular Nurse Clinician in cardiac surgery at UAB where she worked with John Kirklin, MD. In her capacity as Chief Nursing Officer, Ward spearheads the continual improvement of the nursing quality, safety, service and financial performance in her organization. She collaborates closely with medical leadership to ensure quality patient outcomes. Additionally, she oversees the competence of patient care staff from selection and orientation, develops standards of care to promote optimum patient outcomes, and aggressively approaches nurse recruitment and retention with proactive forecasting and monitoring. An experienced researcher who values evidence-based practice, Ward’s research has focused on the effect of varying models of care on the outcomes of hospitalized patients. Currently she is studying the effects of small, geographic teams on patient outcomes in hospitalized patients and on employee engagement. Ward has launched relationship-based care and implemented role-based practice throughout all units of her hospital. She has received many awards including the 2011 National Management Nurse of the Year, which allowed her to represent nurses nationally on the Nurses Float in the Rose Parade in 2012. As a token of appreciation, UAB School of Nursing Dean Doreen Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN, presented Ward with a bound copy of her nomination letters.

22230761349 00a555f8ed zThis year, the school added a new honor, the Honorary Lifetime Alumni Membership, to a nurse who has brought recognition to UAB and oncology nursing that continues to impact nursing today. Connie H. Yarbro, MS, RN, FAAN, was selected for the honor. Yarbro is a nationally recognized oncology nurse leader. During her time at UAB from 1972 to 1979, she worked alongside John Durant, MD, to build the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. Together, they traveled the state of Alabama to educate health care providers and patients about cancer and cutting-edge cancer therapies. Through her partnership with Durant, Yarbro helped establish the first physician/nurse practitioner patient care model that has become a standard of care at UAB and other highly acclaimed medical centers across the country. She is the founding editor of Seminars in Oncology Nursing. Her most recent position was with the University of Missouri’s Sinclair School of Nursing as an adjunct clinical associate professor. She has authored six oncology nursing textbooks, regularly presents at numerous professional meetings and has served as lead editor for prestigious publications such as Cancer Nursing Principles and Practice now in its eighth edition. Her service to the field of oncology nursing spans four decades and her many accomplishments have been recognized internationally, nationally, and locally. In 2010, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). Yarbro co-founded the ONS in 1975 and served as president from 1979 to 1983. In 1981, she helped establish the ONS Foundation that has since granted more than $24 million in funding to advance oncology nursing research, practice, and education across the country. In 2008 Yarbro received the 2008 Distinguished Merit Award from the International Society of Nurses—an organization she served as president from 1996 to 2002.

In addition, a number of other alumni were honored with awards for their service and dedication to nursing.

The Marie L. O'Koren Alumni Award for Innovation is named for the UAB School of Nursing's second dean, Marie L. O'Koren, who passed away in 2012. During her tenure as dean, O'Koren changed the landscape of nursing education in the state of Alabama. She led the UAB School of Nursing to become one of the top 20 nursing schools in the country and established a diversified master's program and the first doctorate in nursing program in the Southeast. She dramatically increased support for nursing education and research. The award recognizes alumni who, like O'Koren, have made innovative contributions to the field of nursing. The recipient this year was Marsha Howell Adams, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN, professor and Dean at the University of Alabama in Huntsville College of Nursing.

The Jo Ann Barnett Award for Compassionate Care honors UAB School of Nursing graduates who exemplify the best in nursing care by performing above and beyond job requirements on a regular basis. The award is named for Jo Ann Barnett, a BSN and MSN graduate of the UAB School of Nursing who was a champion for the highest quality of compassionate care for her patients and their families. When she passed away in 2002, the Nursing Chapter of the UAB National Alumni Society established the award to honor her legacy. The 2015 recipients are Rosemary P. Brown, BSN, RN, CPN, Department Director for Pediatrics at Children’s of Alabama; Melinda K. Ford, BSN, RN-BC, Assistant Nurse Manager, GI Surgical Unit, UAB Hospital and Flight Nurse, Aircrew Training Officer in Charge, Air Force Reserves; and Darrell A. Owens, DNP, ARNP, founder of the Palliative Care Services at University of Washington Medicine Harborview Medical Center and Northwest Hospital in Seattle, Wash., and clinical assistant professor of medicine and nursing at the University of Washington.

The Young Alumni Merit Award recognizes a young nurse leader who has received a degree from the UAB School of Nursing within the last 10 years and has demonstrated significant accomplishment and leadership in the field of nursing. The recipient for 2015 is Jeremy D. Jordan, MSN, CRNP, CPNP-AC, CCRN, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children’s of Alabama.

In addition, two more awards were added this year.

The Career Achievement in Nurse Anesthesia Award recognizes a nurse anesthesia graduate who has made significant contributions to the nurse anesthesia profession and has actively been involved in improving the quality and safety of patient care. The recipient of this award also exemplifies sustained efforts to lead and promote the nurse anesthesia profession. The recipient for 2015 is Pamela Binns-Turner, PhD, MNA, CRNA, founding Dean of the new Anderson University School of Nursing in Anderson, S.C.

The Rising Star in Nurse Anesthesia Award recognizes a nurse anesthesia graduate who has graduated within the last five years and demonstrates excellence as a clinical practitioner. Additionally, the recipient promotes quality health care and safety to their patients and families and contributes to the nurse anesthesia profession through service and outreach. The recipient for 2015 is Aaron L. Gardner, CRNA, nurse anesthetist at Guardian Anesthesia Services at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Ala. 

Click here to see photos from the event.

Read 7751 times Last modified on November 02, 2015

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