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Houston faculty members awarded highest Nursing Honor

Heather Hines, Reporter

aan-logocreditedThree of TWU’s Houston campus faculty have been chosen by the American Association of Nurses to be inducted as nursing fellows at its annual conference in Washington, D.C. on October 17th.

Associate Professor of Nursing Joan Edwards and adjunct faculty members Deborah Simmons and Patrick Palmieri will be three of 163 nursing fellows added to the academy this year. Nursing fellows are distinct members of the nursing community dedicated to improving the profession. They must be nominated and submit an application demonstrating two major works that made a positive advancements in nursing. 

Edwards said: “It’s a huge honor. There are very few nurses in the world who get it, and there are many people that have done many amazing things and aren’t on this list.” 

She added: “Out of 6,000,000 nurses in this world there are only 2,200 [nursing fellows], a drop in the bucket, and I’m one them! I can’t believe it.”

The accomplishments that are submitted must be outside the nominees’ occupation, meaning a nurse must perform them on his or her own time and must make advancements in specified areas of the profession.

Edwards worked with policy and program changes in Indonesia and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. She is credited with helping the government reform its nursing education practice to meet the World Health Organization’s global nursing standards and turning AWHONN into an organization with global outreach. 

Edwards said: “This will give me access to the movers and the shakers in governments. Where we might have been blown off before, it opens doors, so I can use it for good. Being a nursing fellow is recognized all around the globe. There isn’t any higher honor a nurse can get.” 

Simmons’ recognition as a fellow came from her dedication to safety on a national and state level, but she acknowledges that without help from other nurses, she would never have received this honor. 
Simmons said: “You have to reflect back on your own journey to see what got you here and realize you didn’t do it on your own.”

She added: “You need other people to help you be successful. I’m very grateful for everyone who helped me along the way.”

Palmieri was unavailable for comment, but according to a TWU press release we received recognition through his work advancing the quality of health care in the U.S. and Peru. While these nurses are thrilled about their appointment as fellows, they plan to continue working, using their accomplishments to advance their professions even further. 

Simmons shared: “I think this makes me even more committed to changing the work environment for nurses.” 

She concluded: “Giving back to your profession makes you see the impact. My hope is my students will be inspired by it and see that everyone has an obligation to give back to the profession.”

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