The nurse practitioner is a new breed of medical expert, one that is making a difference for those patients who need medical care. The first NP class was developed in 1965, and the first master’s degree program for NPs was started in 1980. Since then, many individuals have stood out as shining examples of nursing advocacy and patient advocacy and treatment. In this list of notable NPs, you may discover some familiar names as well as some new names — all have made inroads in developing the NP profession as a trustworthy and competent career.
The following list is arranged in alphabetical order by given name, and each link leads to much more information about each individual and his or her achievements.
- Andrea Brassard, RN, DNSc, MPH, ANP, is the strategic policy adviser to the Center to Champion Nursing in America, an initiative of AARP, the AARP Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She is president-elect of the Nurse Practitioner Association of the District of Columbia and past chair of the Center for Nursing Advocacy. She has been the nurse practitioner moderator for Practicing Clinicians Exchange, and currently practices as a volunteer attending at the GWU medical student HEALING clinic for under served Washington, DC residents.
- Diane Nuñez, RN, MS, ANP-BC, teaches at Arizona State University and maintains an active clinical practice in community health. Nuñez works at the Escalante Health Center as program coordinator for a health program. As part of her doctoral studies, she is developing a Chronic Disease Disability Prevention (CDDP) program for older adults with the aim of improving quality of life and reducing health care expenses. She received [PDF] the NPHF/Proctor & Gamble 2007-2008 Community Service and gastroenterology Endowed Scholarship.
- Loretta Ford, Ed. D, RN, PNP and a physician, Dr. Henry Silver, created the first nurse practitioner program at the University of Colorado in 1965. This was a non-degree certificate program, and all the early NP programs were initially established as these type of certificate programs before transitioning them to master’s degrees in the 1980s. She has authored over one hundred publications on the history of the nurse practitioner, unification of practice, education, and research, and issues in advanced nursing practice and health care.
- Louise Kaplan, PhD, ARNP, has made significant contributions to advanced practice nursing as well as to the nursing profession. In her teaching, leadership and mentoring roles, Dr. Kaplan has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to thoroughly understand and effectively explain very complex issues. Dr. Kaplan is active in legislative and policy activities that include serving as chair of the legislative committee of ARNPs United of Washington State’s and a member of the American College of Nurse Practitioner’s (ACNP) Public Policy Committee.
- Margaret A. Fitzgerald, DNP, FNP-BC, NP-C, FAANP, CSP, is so prolific in her achievements that The Nurse Practitioner Journal has featured her as one of the nation’s 25 most influential NPs. Dr. Fitzgerald is the founder, president and principal lecturer with Fitzgerald Health Education Associates, Inc., and is also a Family Nurse Practitioner and adjunct faculty member with the Family Practice Residency Greater Lawrence (MA) Family Health Center. Dr. Fitzgerald also serves as guest faculty for a variety of healthcare-related companies and is an active member of numerous professional organizations at the national and local levels.
- Marsha K. Siegel, EdD, FNP-C, is the president of the American College of Nurse Practitioners, a practicing Rural Health/Family Nurse Practitioner and adjunct faculty at the University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences. Dr. Siegel has served as a board member of the Wyoming Council for Advanced Practice Nursing (WCAPN) and co-authoring legislation to provide independent prescriptive authority to APNs in her state. She is a past recipient of the University of Wyoming School of Nursing Distinguished Alumnae Award and was named Volunteer NP of the Year by Healthcare for the Homeless in 2000.
- Mary Beth Bigley [PDF], Dr. PH, MS.N., ANP, serves as a key leader for the Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future initiative which HHS (Health and Human Services) launched in November 2007 to bring attention to the nearly 34 percent of children and teens in America who are either overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. She also is instrumental in the design and implementation of the Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future Web page and outreach tour.
- Mary Jane Henderson, MS, RN, GNP-BC, is a gerontological Nurse Practitioner, and she has worked in a variety of settings and has taught in nursing schools in both the U.S. and Canada. She has served as president of the National Conference of Gerontological Nurse Practitioners (NCGNP) and as officer in various other organizations. She also authored the NONPF Preceptor Manual. Henderson was the recipient of the Nancy Sharp Cutting Edge Award in 2005.
- Phyllis Arn Zimmer, ARNP, MN, FNP, FAAN is an entrepreneur, educator, clinician and author whose dedication to the nurse practitioner profession and to ACNP has made her well known in the nurse practitioner community. Zimmer also served as Director of Marketing and Corporate Relations for ACNP and helped start the ACNP National Clinical Conference in 1999. Currently, she serves as president of the Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation (NPHF) and also teaches at the University of Washington.
- Rachael Walker, NP, is an EIT graduate of the Master of Nursing, and is New Zealand’s first renal Nurse Practitioner. At 32, Rachael is also the youngest to have gained Nurse Practitioner status since the Nursing Council of New Zealand established the expanded nursing role nine years ago. A star student, Rachael was awarded the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board Associate Directors of Nursing Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Nursing Studies at EIT’s graduation ceremony earlier this year.
- Rebecca Boensch, MSN, APRN, BC, is only one of eight nurse practitioners in the U.S. with a board certification in acupuncture. Boensch got her start in acupuncture through a challenge from a friend to take a class at the Toronto location of the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute. She is certified through the Canadian institute who practices acupuncture, as only physicians can study it in this country. Boensch and several of her patients have contacted lawmakers to increase awareness of the benefits of acupuncture.
- Robert T. Smithing, MSN, ARNP, has been a Family Nurse Practitioner since 1981. He is a past president of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and served on the original board of the American College of Nurse Practitioners. Bob is the recipient of the Sharp Cutting Edge Leadership Award for 2000 for his technological expertise and leadership in using the Internet for the purposes of increasing communication among NPs and for his business acumen. He has been on the Editorial Board of the Nurse Practitioner Journal and Clinician News, and has been the co-editor of ARNP Care since 1989.
- Sandra F. Ryan, RN, MSN, CPNP is Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer of Take Care Health Systems, one of the largest managers of convenient care clinics and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walgreens. Sandy is one of six founding officers, and is the first Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer in the convenient care industry, paving the way for nursing leadership in this new model of health care. She received the 2007 Nancy Sharp Cutting Edge Award for her efforts in improving the awareness of nurse practitioners and demonstrating how valuable they are within the health care system.
- Susan J. Wysocki, RNC, NP, FAANP is the President and CEO of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH). In 1999, Ms. Wysocki was selected by a national panel of nurse practitioners convened by the Nurse Practitioner Journal for a Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Wysocki has testified before Congress, the FDA and CDC regarding women’s health issues as well as the role of nurse practitioners. She also serves as an Ask the Expert from Medscape Today.