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2020 Nurses of Influence Award Celebration

2020 Nurses of Influence Award Celebration

Honoring nurses and nursing advocates

In honor of Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday and the 2020 Year of the Nurses and Midwife, as declared by the World Health Organization, the UW School of Nursing celebrated the 2020 Nurses of Influence of Award Celebration. View the celebration below.

We presented seven awards to outstanding graduates and other exceptional individuals in the greater nursing community.  Thank you for your dedication and commitment to nursing locally and globally. Congratulations to all our awardees!  

2020 Nurses of Influence Awardees

Distinguished Alumni Award  

This award recognizes a UW School of Nursing graduate whose career in nursing exemplifies excellence in clinical practice, leadership in professional organizations, outstanding accomplishments, and contributions to the community.

Jose Pares-Avila,  (BSN’09, DNP ’08, MN ’07) nurse practitioner, Associate Professor at the University of South Florida College of Nursing in Tampa, FL

Jose Pares-Avila

Jose was recently appointed Associate Professor at the University of South Florida College of Nursing in Tampa, FL where he relocated recently. He is part of the MSN and DNP programs offering Adult-Gero primary care training. Prior to his relocation, Jose provided primary care and psychiatric emergency services in UW Medicine. His local and national leadership has included service in the local chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and service on the Board of Directors of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality.

He has held full-time faculty positions at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis  and at the University of Arizona College of Nursing. In both institutions he advocated for and implemented curricular changes to increase LGBTQ-competent care among future nurses and advanced practice nurses.

As the HIV nurse practitioner, he championed systemwide changes that included an increase of routine HIV screening of veterans. He obtained funding to develop a model that offered rapid HIV testing to homeless veterans in the context of HIV prevention and health promotion. His scholarly work has addressed the teaching of stigmatized topics like LGBTQ health and HIV.

“Nursing is a large-tent profession that is rich in diversity and still has a ways to go when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are joined by our passion, compassion, and energy to face challenges as we serve individuals, families, communities, and entire populations. It fills me with pride when I speak out about issues and populations I am passionate about because I know wherever I go there is a student nurse, a young nurse, or a future nurse who notices and gets the courage to pursue their passion,” says Pares-Avila.

Distinguished Researcher Award  

This award recognizes an individual whose research, professional achievements and cumulative contributions have brought personal distinction, enhanced the profession, improved the welfare of the general public and brought honor and prestige to their field.

Debra Ridling PhD ‘12Associate Chief Nurse for Practice and Research at Seattle Children’s  

Debra Ridling

Director for the Center for Pediatric Nursing Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute 

Debra Ridling supports nurses in the areas of research, clinical practice, quality/safety, professional development, orientation (including the nurse residency program), education, competency, informatics, shared governance, Magnet designation, outreach education, ethics, schools of nursing, and others programs that support and promote excellence in nursing. She has over 30 years experience as a nurse.

“Dr. Debra Ridling’s leadership and commitment to collaboratively advance nursing practice has facilitated important work both at Seattle Children’s and beyond. She has consistently fought to diversify the Seattle Children’s nursing workforce, established and heads the nation-leading Nursing Research program, and facilitated and nurtured strong collaborative relationships with all Seattle-area schools of nursing. Dr. Ridling is a shining exemplar of the excellence, leadership, and courage that the UW School of Nursing seeks to instill in future nursing leaders,” says Rebecca O’Connor, School of Nursing faculty who nominated Debra.

Distinguished Practitioner Award  

This award honors a nurse who demonstrates excellence in nursing care, serves as an advocate for patients, families and/or communities, makes a recognizable difference through their practice and embodies the essence of the nursing profession.

Patricia (Pat) A. Blissitt  (PhD, ’02)

Patricia (Pat) A. Blissitt

Neuroscience Clinical Nurse Specialist, HMC and SMC, and Associate Professor, Clinical Affiliate Faculty, UWSON 

Dr. Patricia (Pat) Blissitt has more than 40 years of experience in neuroscience nursing. Pat has published in numerous publications including peer-reviewed newsletters, journals, online publications, and books. Pat has served as the Chair for the Test Development Committee for the Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN) exam. Pat has served as president of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses chapters in Memphis, Tennessee; Durham, North Carolina; and Seattle, Washington. Pat was named Washington state Nurse of the Year by the March of Dimes in 2019.

“I am proud to be a nurse for all it represents and what I see every day, nurses dedicated to the care of their patients, often going above and beyond to meet their patients’ needs. They work tirelessly on behalf of the patients asking for little in return,” says Blissitt.

Dr. C. June Strickland Distinguished Diversity & Transcultural Nursing Advocate Award  

This award honors a nurse who advocates for the needs of underrepresented populations and communities, encourages dialogue and reflection regarding societal power imbalances; and demonstrates leadership in promoting diversity in nursing. This award is named in honor of C. June Strickland, Ph.D., RN, Cherokee, from the family of Hawkins and her career-long work in prevention science and translation/transcultural research with American Indians in the Pacific Northwest. In her words, “We are part of the world and the world is part of us…global is local.”

Frankie Manning, retired nurse executive 

Frankie Manning

Frankie Manning is currently a consultant for healthcare organizations, where she provides guidance relative to executive leadership and labor relations. She is a retired nurse executive from VA Puget Sound Health Care System and a retired Army nurse. After retirement, she started a consultant service with a focus on eliminating health care disparities and homelessness. She also serves as the outreach coordinator for the Mary Mahoney Professional Organization. As one of the leaders in nursing, she plans and design systems to increase the number of nurses of color in nursing. Manning serves on numerous boards and community organizations, where she directs her efforts to improving the lives of underserved people.

In 2019,the University of Washington School of Nursing selected her as one of the 100 most influential nurses.

‘I am proud to be a nurse because of the gift of giving and serving. The ability to care for others and to develop the next generation of nurses,” says Manning.

Distinguished Advocate, Administrator, Leader  

This award recognizes an individual who demonstrates excellence in nursing advocacy, patient advocacy, administration and leadership; serves as a champion for the nursing profession, actively seeks to improve nursing management, administration and goes above and beyond across the nursing practice continuum.

Katie Johnson, Lecturer – Child, Family, and Population Health Nursing 

Katie Johnson

Katie Johnson is board certified in both school nursing and advanced practice public health nursing. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the National Academy of School Nurses; a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow,  and a Johnson & Johnson School Health Fellow. She has been honored as the March of Dimes Distinguished Nurse of the Year, National Board-Certified School Nurse of the Year, School Nurse Administrator of the Year, and served in a number of positions advancing school nursing practice, including work with the Alliance for Nursing Informatics and the Washington Nursing Action Coalition. She is one of the architects of a nationally standardized school health data collection program designed to identify the needs of school aged children and the ways in which school nurses meet those needs.

“I’m most proud of how nurses work to meet people where they are in their health journey. We help people stay well, help them recover when they are ill and work to advocate for those who are marginalized. Advocacy and social justice are integral to the Nursing Code of Ethics and embedded in the Scope and Standards of Nursing Practice. As a school nurse manager, I was proud to elevate the importance of the work of school nurses to parents and school leaders; as a faculty I’m proud to teach students the ways in which nurses advance the health of populations,” says Johnson.

Distinguished Advocate, Administrator, Leader 

This award recognizes an individual who demonstrates excellence in nursing advocacy, patient advocacy, administration and leadership; serves as a champion for the nursing profession.

Lois SchipperNurse Supervisor Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention, Children and Family Justice Center 

Lois Schipper

Lois Schipper is currently working as the nursing supervisor for health services at King County Juvenile Detention. She has had a long career as a public health leader and advocate in local, state, national and international settings. Her international experience includes being a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, serving displaced and refugee populations in Sudan, Northern Iraq and Indonesia, and supporting reproductive health improvements in newly-independent Uzbekistan. She had a 25-year career with Public Health Seattle & King County. Her career has spanned home visiting, program development, and supervisory and management roles. She has provided leadership to programs serving families involved with the child welfare system, first time parents served in nurse family partnership and work on child and adolescent safety and prevention in her 20 plus years as a Child Death Review Committee member.

“I am proud to be a nurse because nurses are versatile and caring and can help in a variety of situations. Most individuals who choose to go into nursing do so because they value relationship and supporting individuals to live their best life.  I appreciate being available and helping to support wherever and whenever I can,” says Schipper.

Peter Dyer Heart of Nursing Award  

The award acknowledges an individual or group who embodies the ideals of the UW School of Nursing and whose leadership, dedication, and contributions reflect an ongoing commitment to advance the nursing profession. This award was created in honor and memory of Peter Dyer – nursing advocate, donor, and friend.

Trudi Inslee, First Lady of Washington state 

Trudi Inslee

Trudi Inslee was born and raised in Washington state. She graduated from Ingraham High School in Seattle where she and Jay Inslee met. She attended Washington State University and studied political science and sociology.

Jay and Trudi were married and raised three sons. They became involved in a campaign to build a new high school, and it was there that Jay and Trudi got their start in public service.

Over the years Trudi has worked with local nonprofits that focus on the needs of women and children. As First Lady, Trudi continues to support social service programs and organizations that provide services for women and children who are victims of sexual assault, homelessness, suicide prevention and hunger while also supporting early learning programs and health care for all. She is currently an Ambassador for Washington State Nursing NOW.

“Throughout my life I have witnessed the critical role nurses hold as they care for their patients. Nurses care no matter how tired and frustrated they might be or how much they would like a favorite meal and a foot rub! Nurses care because they CARE about every patient as much as they would care for a beloved family member. Nurses provide critical information and communication links in health care delivery. I join the public in thanking nurses for their knowledge, courage and compassion. I am honored to be an ambassador for the Nursing Now campaign which promotes elevating the status of nurses and midwives as leaders in healthcare particularly for those in rural areas and the underserved. The empowerment of nurses and midwives will advance the goal of a healthy future for all across our state. Wash your hands and be safe,” says Inslee.





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