As part of National Nurses Week in early May, eight University of Arizona College of Nursing faculty were honored by their peers during the 2022 Tucson Fabulous 50 Nurses gala hosted by the Tucson Nurses Week Foundation.
The 21st annual event was the city's capstone celebration to National Nursing Week. The Fabulous 50 nurses were selected by their peers for being role models and mentors, demonstrating concern for humanity, and contributing to the Tucson community and the profession of nursing.
The Tucson Nurses Week Foundation was formed in 1994 by a group of Tucson nurses who wanted the city to come together to celebrate local nurses during National Nurses Week. The goals of the foundation and Nurses Week events are to enhance education and research among Tucson-area nurses and to celebrate excellence by recognizing nurses and the role they play in the health of the community.
Below are comments from the each of the eight College of Nursing Fabulous 50 Nurses about their recognition:
Lauren Acosta, PhD, RN, SANE-A, assistant clinical professor
“I feel humbled to have been nominated and selected to share this honor with some truly remarkable Tucson nurses. The last several years have challenged our profession in unforeseen ways, but as nurses we have risen to the occasion and continued to provide care, teach and innovate. I have never been prouder to be a nurse. I am so grateful for this special recognition and feel incredibly privileged to be of service to my community, my students and my patients.”
Terry Bailey, RN, assistant coordinator, Steele Innovative Learning Center
“In my 45-year nursing career, I have been blessed with wonderful coworkers in both my bedside nursing role at Tucson Medical Center and in the simulation lab at the College of Nursing. The people I work with have made it possible to get through the challenges and hard times and celebrate the successes and rewards of our profession. In my clinical role, I have worked on the Women’s Care Unit, caring for women from childbearing to end of life. I have been inspired by their wisdom and strength and am privileged to have the opportunity to make a difference during some of the most joyous and difficult times in their lives.
“Moving away from the bedside and embracing education in nursing has been a natural transition. The pathway I took from LPN to ADN to BSN energized my love of learning and reinforced the reality that a good nurse needs to be a lifelong learner. Helping prepare nursing students at JTED, Pima Community College, Pima Medical Institute and now the College of Nursing is an honor and investment in our future.”
Heather Carlisle, DNP, MSN, associate clinical professor
“I am delighted to be recognized with this group of 49 other fabulous nurses as we come out on the other side of the pandemic. My special nursing interests are older adults, end-of-life care and existential distress – all areas that have had special significance recently. It has always been a privilege to serve as a nurse, but even more so during these difficult times. I am so appreciative of this honor. Congratulations to all the other awardees!”
Sara Dowdle-Simmons, MSN, senior lecturer
“Receiving this award is a boost to my soul. My favorite part of receiving this award is standing with my fellow nurses. You are my favorite people, and I am deeply honored and blessed to be recognized with you. This is a difficult time in the history of nursing, yet it has great potential for positive change. I want to recognize the 1 million-plus nurses who marched in Washington, D.C., and I pray they were able to articulate their passion in a way that will be respected and heard. Thankfulness and gratitude resonate in my soul because of the dedication your presence represents to our profession, to our communities, and to our patients and their families – and in that, there is great hope! I always knew I wanted to be a nurse. I am grateful to my family, friends and coworkers for the love and support that have helped me grow and become the nurse I am today. Nursing is not merely a job, it is who you choose to be.”
Ambur Lindstrom-Mette, DNP, FNP-C, associate clinical professor
“Being nominated as a Fab 50 Nurse is a humbling experience. Being recognized for the hard work and dedication that goes into educating nurses supports my dedication to the profession. I strive for excellence in teaching and practice, and this award is truly an honor. I am proud to be a nurse and to become one of the Fab 50 nurses.”
Helena Morrison, PhD, RN, associate professor
“The Fab 50 award is a wonderful Tucson tradition that helps recognize our nurses from bench to bedside, bringing our nursing community together. Our entire Tucson nursing community is fabulous, and I’m honored to be a part of, and recognized by, this fabulous group.”
Christy Pacheco, DNP, FNP-BC, assistant clinical professor
“Joining the community of Fab 50 nurses is an honor and privilege. I enjoy working with students and community members to promote quality care and increase access to care to improve health outcomes. Mentoring students from underserved backgrounds is particularly rewarding. Being honored as a Fab 50 nurse highlights and recognizes the critical work we do as nurses, from caring for patients to teaching the next generation of health professionals and collaborating with communities. This recognition demonstrates the value and role we have as clinical leaders, both from the within the nursing community and for our stakeholders.”
Jessica Rainbow, PhD, RN, assistant professor
“It is truly an honor to be recognized by the Tucson Nurses Foundation as a Fab 50 Nurse. I am passionate about improving the health and safety of nurses around the world and here in Tucson through my research. This recognition gives me fuel to keep going. Thank you!”
A version of this story was originally published by the College of Nursing.