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Founders Award Recipients
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2018 Founders Award Recipient

Elizabeth "Liz" Foster, MSN, RN, WOCN

Our Founders Award recipient received 11 letters of support. It was an overwhelming emotional review that brought a sense of pride, respect and honor to this award and to this organization. Her letters of support were from the following current and past APSNA members and work colleagues: Beth Zimmerman, Barbara Mariscal, Chris McKenna, Nancy Tckaz Browne in combination with Carmel McComiskey, Pam Peiper and Laura Flanigan, Renee Manworren, Tina Shapiro, Gail Garvin, Raquel Pasarón, Carolyn Ross, and Barry Hicks.

Our recipient has been a nurse since 1985, therefore around 33 years. She worked in pediatric surgical nursing, most if not all of her career, and became a master’s prepared nurse in the early 90’s. She retired from her position as a Clinical Nurse Specialist and Enterostomal Therapist at the University of Texas Southwestern in 2000, to pursue her lifelong dream of doing one of the things she loves best, and that was to cook and cook for others, by opening up her own catering business. If you want to get a “taste” of our honoree’s passion, I urge you all to see her video on The Food Network (The Next Food Network Star). Some have wondered why she did this, once you see this clip you can understand why. Even after this transition, our honoree continues to be a card carrying, charter member of APSNA, and she is also a “lifetime member,” of the organization. She consistently participates in our listserve discussions. As you can see from the other letters of support, she is active beyond belief and provides no nonsense, clear, practical guidance on how to care for her “other” passion -- children with wound and ostomy needs.

Raquel Pasarón stated, "What I find especially impressive about this is that as a Past President, charter member and APSNA supporter she has “let go” but remains supportive, always approachable, always unconditional. Something we should all aspire to. I have never heard a criticism or intrusive comment from Liz – quite the opposite. She is an admirable woman."

The review panel was asked to read through her letters of support carefully and lovingly, as if they were sitting down to read someone’s memoirs or look at an old photograph album of family pictures. “Please read through the attached appendices, as this gives you a written glimpse of her legacy. What was most impactful for me are her Presidential letters to the membership. First, because she did not focus on herself, she focused on the organization, and her board colleagues. This is a gift of a true leader. Secondly, and what I find most impressive, are her messages to the membership to get involved and be involved with APSNA." Here are some samples of her own words to the membership:

“..the rewards are numerous and the path of discovery is personally and professionally gratifying.”

“I am pleased to see new names on the nominee list I strongly encourage all of you to participate with a committee in this organization. APSNA needs your input, creativity, skill, opinions, energy and enthusiasm to keep the organization growing and fresh. Service to an organization is valuable in any capacity, and there are no wrong answers, just new perspectives. Your patients endure something new every day they are hospitalized and you support them along the way, through the pain and the fear of needles, tape, and Tylenol. If your own fear of "committee commitment'' (a double "C"!) is holding you back, remember your patients, and know that APSNA is there to support you along the way, and besides, it's FUN!”

“Our membership is growing steadily (near 250!) as is our institutional visibility and membership diversity. Keep up the good work promoting the organization and remember to get your dues in on time! Don't let any of your membership benefits get away from you!”

The annual conference is a prime-time to renew collegial relationships, visit with friends, and communicate in a setting that is more than 'keyboard deep'. I want all members to leave the conference knowing at least 5 new colleagues and having at least one of the six of you sign up for a committee or project. There is no prerequisite for participation other than being a member, so be a team player, and perpetuate the goals, enthusiasm, and drive of this organization. Many people are working diligently to bring you a fabulous conference event and being part of that winning team is a rewarding experience.”

Many that I have spoken about this nomination recall her Presidential address, she asked the membership present to stand in a friendship circle and contemplate their togetherness and their contributions. Some say that this exemplified her. I wish I had been there. What a wonderful moment and what a wonderful founder to have amongst us.

Nancy T. Browne:

APSNA colleagues, all experts themselves in skin and wound care, always went to Liz with their own questions; Liz clearly knew her theory and physiology. But wound care goes so much beyond that; Liz knew how to create when there were no directions or literature. Beyond that, Liz walked the walk with her colleagues, following up to see how a particular child was doing, how we were doing. Liz’s support and collegiality are two of her greatest strengths.

Liz actively contributed to the creation and growth of APSNA in its early years. On various Board positions, ultimately becoming President, Liz gave hours of time to countless projects. APSNA is stronger for her service.

Generous in spirit, Liz continued to provide leadership and support after leaving APSNA leadership and her primary practice. Knowing that many nurses did not have sufficient funding for wound care training, Liz quietly provided financial support to an APSNA scholarship that would encourage education in wound care. THIS IS KNOWN AS THE FOSTER GRANT.

Finally, to know Liz is to know a spirit who certainly represents her home state of Texas. While never quiet about her opinion or decision making ability, Liz also remembered to listen, be inclusive and respectful, and improved the quality of every project she touched.

Barbara Mariscal:

My first memories of Liz were her presentations at the 2000 APSNA conference. As President that year she was such a dynamic speaker. She was organized and confident. She encouraged everyone to think outside of the box and to take on new challenges. As new member of the organization and of the Board, I often thought how lucky I was to be working with and mentored by such an intelligent and dedicated professional.

Renee Manworren:

Liz was a founding member and APSNA’s first membership chair (with Pam Pieper), and our second (with Pam Pieper), and our third (she must have given Pam the boot), and our fourth membership chair. The organization grew from 50 to 150 members thanks to Liz’s efforts. She attracted members like bees to honey. We had so many, well Liz would say, “You couldn’t stir ‘em with a stick.”

It was about this time, I took a position down the road a pinch. Liz wasn’t surprised when I called her begging that she get me a job with her. I believe she said “they’re about as confused as a fart in a fan factory,” I’ll see what I can do and she did. She lead with sincerity and by example. It was my privilege to nominate her for President then and for this award now.

And the queen of all that oozes. She was a patient teacher of Pediatric Wound Ostomy and Continence Nursing. Clinically, she was busier than a cat covering crap on a marble floor. Detailing advice in her Sutureline column “Wound Care Jeopardy,” and conducting workshops at APSNA. If you attended any of her sessions, you learned “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” And she would tactfully correct you, “That thing is all catawampus,” and even though she told you your ostomy pouch was “about as useful as tits on a bull.” You always knew she was looking out for you.

For example, once Liz let me cover her service for her. She told me her patients were all tucked in; and I should only need to see them if they called. No one hollered! When she returned, my report was pretty short. Liz then asked why I let a kid on her list escape to Canada! It turns out the family made national headlines fleeing Texas on my watch and professing the right to keep your colon! Needless to say, they didn’t call and I was blessed that I heeded Liz's advice and did NOT have my name in that medical record!

Liz, I would tip my hat to you but you only taught me about boots. I know why you wear pointy-toed boots because you taught me. Let’s Drink a Margarita to celebrate because your boots will still fit; but no one will ever fill your shoes.

Chris McKenna

In 1995, Barb Wise and I began the process of coordinating the writing and publication of APSNA’s first textbook, Nursing Care of the General Pediatric Surgical Patient, published in 2000. We asked Liz to write the chapter on “Common Cysts” and she readily agreed. I remember her being a pleasure to work with- readily available, meeting all deadlines, submitting quality work requiring little editing.

While I was not on the Board when Liz was President, I remember her leadership quite well. She was very much about APSNA togetherness, doing a team-building activity at our annual conference. She was accessible, committed, hard-working and visionary. She even made an APSNA quilt utilizing the embroidered names from the donated lab coats of APSNA members.

When I think of Liz, I usually think of her as the wound and ostomy guru. She is a great problem-solver and SO creative! She was always in demand as a speaker at our annual conference- giving lectures and workshops on wounds, ostomies, gastrostomy tubes and drains. She also readily responded to list-serve questions related to these topics. I was relatively new in my position as the trauma nurse practitioner at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh when my two wound and ostomy nurse colleagues went on vacation together. I called Liz to express my anxiety, and she readily offered to be my expert resource during their absence. This speaks volumes, I think, not only to her clinical expertise but also to her commitment to pediatric surgical nursing, our patients and families, APSNA, and her colleagues.

Gail Garvin

Liz was a part of APSNA from the beginning. Never missed a meeting and always ready to help. She was an expert in wound and ostomy care and had a very innovative way of approaching challenging wound/ostomy situations. I agree she is very straight forward and willing to tell you exactly what she thinks. She always had smile on her face and was willing to help. Her heart is big and she loves dogs. How could you want more from a person?

Beth Zimmerman

She served as President from 2000-2001 during which time APSNA made multiple steps forward: textbook sales, web site development, accreditation for CEUs, on-line payments, web site approval and verification by Verisign, there were 249 members and 40 CEU credits were provided. Additionally, and very importantly for the financial welfare of APSNA there was an expansion of the Development committee initiative.

While President Liz conducted the general meeting and board meetings in a professional yet collegial manner leading to commitment and accomplishment by the varying committee chairs. Interestingly, when it was time to pass the torch Liz led us in a fellowship circle, which led to many happy memories of the relationships formed by being a member of APSNA and attending conference.

Carolyn Ross

Liz has been a wonderful mentor. Her easy going style and down to earth management makes stoma and wound care seems so logical. Her approachable manner makes it easy to ask for help and advice. She has a unique sense of humor that helps us not take ourselves too seriously. Liz has advanced the care of the pediatric wound and ostomy care thru precepting multiple students from across the country. She has worked relentlessly to have Pediatrics recognized as a unique area in the realm of enterostomal therapy and wound care. Liz has also worked to advance pediatric surgical nursing care by funding a scholarship for APSNA members wishing to become certified in enterstomal and wound management.

Barry Hicks

I have known Liz since I began my practice of pediatric surgery in 1993. She is the ultimate mentor. educator, leader, and partner caring for children for over 25 years.

She has had many formal preceptor· roles to nursing graduate students over the years, and she has educated many medical students, surgery and pediatric residents. and many Pediatric Surgeons and Pediatricians as well.

Liz is a friend a colleague, and is truly deserving of this recognition of her years of service in the name of caring for the most vulnerable of our patients.

Liz, what more can we say, but congratulations and THANK YOU!


Past Recipients:

2017:Barbara Bratton

2016:Raquel Pasarón

2015: Neil Ead

2014: Barbara Mariscal &  Kim Mciltrot

2013: Nancy Thompson

2012: Muggs Helin

2011: Chris McKenna

2010: Linda Haga & Beth Zimmerman

2009: Ellen O'Donnell

2008: Lynne Farber

2007: Carmel McComiskey

2006: Nancy Tkacz Browne

2005: Betty Kasson

2004: Jeannette Diana

2003: Fran Gill

2002: Pam Pieper

2001: Lori Howell

2000: Laura Flanigan

1999: Gill Garvin & Diane Jakobowski


Past Founders Award Recipients

2017 Barbara Bratton, MSN, PNP-BC

Hanmin Lee, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Surgery, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital nominated Barbara. Dr. Lee writes, “One of her most important roles is that she started and directs the Long-term Infant to adult Follow-up and Evaluation (LIFE) program at UCSF. This is a program that is dedicated to the long-term follow-up of complex pediatric surgery patients. I believe the LIFE clinic will be Barbara Bratton's legacy to UCSF, and the model of care for children with a chronic condition. Not enough can be said about the ability of a nurse who was able to start with an idea, develop a plan, implement it, critically evaluate and make changes in practice, and then finally succeed in providing families with a service which will help their child.”

“The impact of this contribution cannot be understated. She has set up LIFE clinics for congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), sacrococcygeal teratoma (SCT), colorectal abnormalities, esophageal abnormalities, chest wall deformities, abdominal wall abnormalities, congenital lung lesions, and biliary abnormalities. This has been the particular focus of her efforts for the last ten years. It has truly been a remarkable effort that has had such a tremendous effect on the lives of these complex patients.”

Diana Farmer, President of the American Pediatric Surgical Association writes:

She is in many ways the quintessential pediatric surgical nurse---a clinical expert, researcher, author, mentor, teacher, and innovator. She is a compassionate and caring healthcare provider whose professionalism, sense of responsibility, great calm, and empathy have given us a immense insight into our own roles as surgeons, nurses, students, and staff in contributing to the advancement of care of pediatric surgical patients.

Jody Farrell, Administrative Director – The Fetal Center – UCSF writes:

Her outpatient advanced practice career began in the Division of Pediatric Surgery for which she was responsible for following both the inpatient surgical patients as well as the patients seen in clinic. She supported a service of up to six pediatric surgeons. This work has been narrowed as she now works most closely with Dr. Lan Vu, as they partner in the LIFE clinic. This collaboration is unique and impressive.

Dr. Vu writes:

Barb is the moral compass that guides the program and spearheaded the tremendous endeavor for the program to be designated as California Children’s Services special care center this past year, the only surgical outpatient program to receive that designation at our hospital.

Patients come to UCSF and, in one day, are seen by appropriate specialists in genetics, surgery, pediatrics, nutrition, pulmonary, and occupational therapy. Families obtain a comprehensive examination and plan of care. The importance to the child/family is well understood, but medically we are now able to critically examine our practice of the pediatric surgery population and reliably measure outcomes. The data obtained--both medical and psychosocial information--will have significant implications for and impact on the care of children with chronic conditions.

Recognizing inadequate teaching tools for parents caring for children with surgical needs, Ms. Bratton has sought ways to bridge this gap. Teaching videos on ostomy care and the development of I-books for specific birth defects, updating website materials are many examples of the unique projects Barbara has completed. Barbara understands the obstacles families face when they have a child with special needs. To assist families overcome barriers Barbara has taken the time to fundraise to provide gas cards and food vouchers for families to be able to come to their clinic appointments.

In addition to all of this is Barb has funding from 3 grants: two from the FDA to support a trial of a novel device to treat pectus excavatum in children, and one as the Principal Investigator from ConvaTec to develop education material for children with stomas.

Maura O’Day her office mate writes:

It is admirable that in addition to her demanding clinical and research role, Barbara also devotes time to program development, quality improvement projects, and her respected role on the APSNA board. As Barbara’s office mate, I have first-hand knowledge of the immense time and dedication that she devotes to each of these facets, particularly her duties as president-elect. I know that she will continue to strive for excellence as she transitions to the role of president in the near future.

Another letter of support says:

Barbara has a silent strength about her that I wish I could emulate. By that I mean that she sits, observes, and listens, whilst synthesizing and objectively analyzing the dialogue and information exchange. Then offers a simple one-sentence perspective or answer that is usually unquestionable.

She is sincere, intelligent, appreciative and an advocate for nursing and for the truth. She is a leader in every sense of the word. She is the kind of person that will always stand up for the truth and personifies integrity and substance

2016 Raquel Pasarón, DNP, ARNP, FNP-BC

Dr. Raquel Pasarón was awarded the Founder's Award at the annual conference in San Diego. This award is presented yearly to recognize an individual’s significant contributions to the advancement of the care of pediatric surgical patients and exemplary service to the APSNA organization. The award has four criteria: professional development, nursing leadership, APSNA involvement, and honors and awards, whilst recognizing years in pediatric nursing and pediatric surgical nursing. Raquel is a Nurse Practitioner at Nicklaus Children's hospital in Miami, Florida. She has been a member of APSNA since 2007 serving in several positions including Secretary, Director of Program and President.

Raquel is active with research, publications, education, and mentorship. Her letters of nomination are a monument to a dedicated life to the betterment of children and to the advancement of pediatric surgical nursing care. In one of the letters a colleague wrote "Raquel is an amazing clinician, an inspiring leader, and a dedicated researcher who makes a difference in children’s lives daily.” Her patients and families, who seek her out and do not let her go, once they meet her, love her. She is also seen as the glue that keeps the service together. “She is the rock upon which our very busy academic pediatric surgical practice is anchored.” Raquel is completely devoted to APSNA, as president of the organization she spends countless hours in nurturing the organization, appreciating the foundation laid before her, and with this knowledge taking APSNA to a new level of professionalism and elegance. “The real reason, the reason she shines so brightly is so many aspects of her work is that she truly loves her patients and the system that allows us all to work as a team to help. She is an inspiration to all who work with her and an example for the nurses, residents, fellows, and sometimes attendings she teaches.”

For Pasarón, being awarded the Founders Award was an emotional moment, and reflective of the honor and privilege she recognizes this award embodies. “I am touched and humbled to be recognized by my peers.” The award hangs on the wall of The Weinberger Learning Center in the Division of Pediatric Surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, a center of education, leadership and pride. Pasarón felt that it was important to share this with those peers that have helped build her career, and support her everyday. “We are one heart with many arms and legs that care for the precious cargo we call patients and families.”

2015 Neil Ead

Neil holds the record in the APSNA organization of most years served as a board member. At the end of his tenure on the APSNA Board of Directors (BOD) in 2015, Neil will have dedicated a total of nine years of voluntary service to APSNA having been: Director at Large from 2002 through 2006, then as the Education Chair from 2010-2012, followed by a President Elect year (2012-2013), President (2013-2014) and Immediate Past President (2014-2015). During his presidency, Neil strived to outsource the administrative work of the board, and was instrumental in facilitating the continued efforts of restructuring of the board. As a board member at the executive and director level Neil was a source of constancy, very respectful of the founding members of the organization and always maintained a sense of pride and respect for the organizational vision, mission, and purpose.  His work ethic and dedication is unfathomable.

Some people say that “Neil talks a lot,” but most of us that admire him feel, “that someone like Neil with the knowledge and expertise he holds has lots to say, and we need to listen.” He is a wealth of knowledge not only related to most pediatric surgery topics and conditions, but a purist in his advocacy for nursing and the advanced practice role.  He is an advocate for the practice and profession of nursing, constantly recognizing that we are a unique profession with a unique body of knowledge and we need to articulate this rather than transform ourselves to another profession’s mold or proposed mold.

2014 Barbara Mariscal and Kim McIltrot

Barbara Mariscal

Barbara has been a member of APSNA since 1999, and has served as the Treasurer for the organization during two major eras, from 2001-2003, and then again from 2011-2013.  Through her involvement in this particular board position, she has also been part of the investment committee and has mentored several treasurers through dedication, responsibility and nurturing accountability.  Her legacy in the organization’s financial strength is recognized and invaluable.

Barbara has raised the quality of pediatric surgical care in several ways. Barbara was the first dedicated pediatric surgical nurse practitioner in the San Antonio/South Texas area, which made her a leader and maverick in her field. Dr. Cigarroa, the current Chancellor of the University of Texas System, recruited her in 1999 to the Department of Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) to lead his effort in rebuilding a division of Pediatric Surgery.  This included her role in beginning a transplantation program at the UTHSCSA, which included small bowel transplantation. Her specialized clinical expertise includes a wide gamut of pediatric subspecialties such gastroenterology, transplant and pediatric surgery; her expertise in these fields are invaluable to her role as teacher and mentor to nursing and medical staff.
Kim McIltrot

Kim raises the quality of pediatric surgical nursing in many ways. Kim is the wound/ostomy nurse for the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, (JHCC).  As such she offers her clinical expertise to all pediatric divisions.  She is the clinical expert in the hospital and nationally and abroad.  Kim did research on bowel preparation prior to pediatric abdominal surgery and presented her work at the American Pediatric Surgical Association held in Orlando in 2011.

Kim is an educator, the known resource, and all around go to person at JHCC for any wound or ostomy issue. Kim shares her expertise as a faculty member at Wicks Educational Associates in Mechanicsburg Pennsylvania. Kim has written the chapter on Caring for the Child with Technology Needs in the Home as well as the chapter on Wound Management in Neonates, Children and Adolescents in the third edition of our own textbook Nursing Care of the Pediatric Surgical Patient.

Kim is the Lead Nurse Practitioner at JHCC. As such she is responsible for overseeing several of our inpatient nurse practitioners. Kim has been a board member for APSNA serving 2 consecutive terms as the publication chair. Kim has championed historical changes for our organization.  She has spent inordinate amount of hours devoted to transitioning our online newsletter Sutureline to a peer-reviewed online journal, The Journal of Pediatric Surgical Nursing. Kim has worked tirelessly interviewing and finally negotiating a contract with Lippincott to bring our journal to a national spotlight, not just available to members but available to anyone that would conduct a professional literature search.  This is truly an amazing step forward for our organization!!!            

2013 Nancy Thompson

Nancy represents the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System! Nancy has been working with pediatric patients since 1992, and has been a Pediatric Surgery nurse practitioner since 1999. Nancy has published several articles and textbook chapters and has presented locally and nationally on  pediatric surgery topics. She is truly an expert in the care of the complex pediatric surgical patient. According to Nancy’s nominator, Dr. Charles Bagwell, “Nancy personifies the essence of nursing for our pediatric surgical  patients and their families. She is truly a poster child for all that APSNA stands for.”

2012 Muggs Helin

Margaret is a Pediatric Surgical Nurse Practitioner at the American Family Children’s Hospital/ University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison,  Wisconsin.

Muggs has been with the pediatric surgical service at the American Family Children’s Hospital since 1999. Her  colleague and nominator Dr. Dennis Lund said, “Muggs and I  developed pediatric surgery at University of Wisconsin from scratch.” The other colleagues who nominated Muggs for this honor called her a mentor, a true advocate who works tirelessly for her patients and an amazing friend and woman. Muggs has been a member of APSNA for 13 years and served  as President from 2009-2010. Muggs is currently very active in the Legislative Special Interest Group, serving as the Chairperson. She is also a delegate the Institute of Pediatric Nursing conferences, most recently in November 2011 in Washington, DC.

2011 Chris McKenna

Chris McKenna is the Program Manager for the Trauma Clinical Services, for the  Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Indiana University  in Bloomington, Indiana in 1985. She has been a clinical nurse specialist since 1989, receiving a Master of Science degree in nursing from Boston College. She has been a pediatric nurse practitioner since graduating from University of Pittsburgh’s program in 1997. She has worked in pediatric surgery and trauma her entire career, and has been with the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program since 2002. Her responsibilities include administrative oversight for the trauma program as well as inpatient and outpatient clinical care of injured children. Chris is very active in the Society of Trauma Nurses and is currently Co-Chair of the Trauma Special Interest Group. She is described by her peers as empathetic without being maudlin, brilliant but practical, honest but tactful, a great teacher without being pedantic. Chris is further described as being the “Gold Standard” in which all nurse practitioners and physician extenders should be measured.

2010 Linda Haga and Beth Zimmerman

Linda Haga

Linda Haga has worked at Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) for over 30 years. Linda spent the majority of her years working in the Department of Surgery seeing inpatients and being in charge of the outpatient clinic. One colleague described Linda as “the surgery nurse” as nurses throughout the hospital would call on her for her clinical expertise and knowledge base. Linda was described as the “nurse that taught the physician group the clinical skills necessary to work in this subspecialty”. If a complex clinical situation would occur physicians would often say “let’s ask Linda”. Linda was also known to be “in charge” of the Pediatric Surgical Clinic assisting all the pediatric general surgeons. Linda was a charter member of the APSNA organization and throughout the years served on many committees; elected to be Secretary, Information Systems Chair and President of APSNA in 2006. Linda Haga retired in February 2010 after a long and distinguished career. Linda valued the APSNA mission and vision and upon retiring she was able to recruit more than 40 new members to the organization to help continue her goals.

Beth Zimmerman

Beth is a charter member of APSNA and has served in multiple capacities including two terms as treasurer and most importantly as president. It was described that “Beth’s forte’ is in finance”. Beth spearheaded a variety of changes for the development of a more efficient APSNA accounting system. Another important landmark in APSNA finances occurred when Beth established the Foundation Fund for the organization. Under Beth’s leadership, the auditing process was developed, the Finance Committee became an active entity, a Research and Education Walk became a reality, and an online payment system was initiated. All of which have been critical to moving the vision of APSNA forward. In 2005, thanks to Beth’s insistence, APSNA became a member of the Nursing Organizations Alliance (NOA). The benefits of attending those events have made an amazing impact on APSNA’s current leaders as they strive to continue to manage a completely volunteer nursing organization. In 2008, she was appointed as liaison to the publishing firm of Jones & Bartlett and continues in that capacity. The textbook and handbook returns have reached new heights under her leadership.

2009 Ellen O’Donnell

Ellen is described as caring, intelligent and enthusiastic individual. As many of the letters from her colleagues, surgeons and past fellows and residents detailed, she has touched the lives of many children with her expertise and nurturing demeanor!! “Ellen puts 100% into everything she does!” was a statement that was read over and over as Ellen’s nomination was reviewed. Ellen has not only touched the lives of her colleagues and patients at Boston Children’s Hospital, but she has also put a footprint on APSNA! She has been a member of APSNA for over 7 years and has served as a board member. She was the Program Chair in 2007-2008 and successfully organized the annual conferences in Orlando and Phoenix. She has also published many articles with topics about pediatric surgery as well as presented at the APSNA conferences.

2008 Lynne Farber

Here is what some of her colleagues have written: “I think it is Lynne’s absolute and unwavering dedication to the care of children that makes her so admirable. I have never known anyone so willing to go above and beyond the call of duty when it benefits one of our patients here at UNC. She will frequently put in 60-70 hour workweeks to accomplish her many tasks and responsibilities and is never reluctant to stay late in order to help a family negotiate the complexities of our medical center. Patients, students, staff and her colleagues quite simply love and adore Lynne. Lynne is a spectacular person. She is a spectacular nurse. She is a spectacular colleague. But most importantly, she is a spectacular and special human being.”

Lynne has been an active member of APSNA since 1998. She has held positions on the Board of Directors twice, serving as the Publications Chair from 2002-06 and now serves as our IS Chair. Having been nominated twice previously in 2002 and 2003, she has made extraordinary contributions to the practice of pediatric surgical nursing, education and medical education. Lynne holds faculty positions in both the schools of nursing and medicine. She has numerous publications and wrote a chapter on tubes in our Pediatric Surgery Nursing textbook as well as served us as an associate editor and an editor of the handbook.

2007 Carmel McComiskey

Carmel is the Chief Nurse Practitioner at the University of Maryland. She has been active in the field of pediatric surgery for over 27 years. She has been key in developing the divisional nurse practitioner program, now with 3 full time PNPs. She is also one of the authors of the pediatric surgery nursing textbook, original as well as second edition. Here are a few of the comments submitted regarding Carmel: “Carmel has raised the quality of Pediatric Surgical Nursing. She is a clinical expert on intestinal failure, the greatest testament to her success in this are her former patients, which include college graduates and parents in their own rights. Carmel is an excellent and long standing leader, a true leader in our work arena.” “Carmel’s wonderful sense of humor and enthusiasm make working in a stressful environment tolerable.” “She is a very intelligent and highly skilled clinician who has competently care for infants and children for many years. Carmel exemplifies and attitude of “how can we do this” rather than finding obstacles in her path. She is dedicated to pediatric surgery and willingly spreads knowledge, technical skill, endurance, patience and a sense of humor to get through the long days, nurturing spirit coupled with the ability to put herself last while giving to others.

2006 Nancy T. Browne

Nancy has been a pediatric nurse for 27 years. She is currently practicing as the Adolescent Bariatric Nurse Coordinator, Department of Surgery, Division of Pediatric Surgery in the University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago, IL. Nancy has been involved in education of other health care providers including Advance Practice Nursing Students, Staff Nurses, Surgical Residents, Pediatric Residents, not to mention countless patient and family education hours. APSNA has also benefited from Nancy’s contributions including past president, webmaster, listserv coordinator, publication chair and she is also responsible for APSNA’s 5 year strategic plan development in 1998 to name only a few items.

2005 Betty Kasson

Praise for the 2005 Founders Award winner’s work reveals a repetition that warrants sharing. It comes from numerous colleagues and APSNA members who have had the great fortune to work with her. She is hailed as a leader, an innovator, a mentor, and above all, a human of great integrity and courage. Many describe her unique capacity to provide support from afar for friends and colleagues struggling with personal or professional issues. Her warmth, compassion, and wisdom seep through phone and internet wires on a regular basis – whether to keep the spark alive for APSNA research projects, or on a more intimate level during personal crises, so many of us have benefited.  In her term as president she is credited with developing APSNA’s first strategic plan based upon the direct feedback she garnered from the membership.

One of her most outstanding characteristics is her ability to do the ‘big thinking.’ ... [she] was developing strategic plans, building bridges, developing future leaders, instilling confidence in those of us she believed in... She has a gift few mentors possess: to see individual potential and encourage that potential in others. For me it changed my life and my view of my ‘professional’ self.” Said another nursing colleague: “She brought an excitement to nursing that was contagious. She expected each of us to hone our critical thinking skills and refine our practice daily.”

2004 Jeannette Diana-Zerpa

She has been a nurse for 29 years, and a nurse practitioner for 10. Praise for her spans her personal and professional world. She is described by one of her surgeon colleagues as “our nurse practitioner and woman par excellence.” He goes on to say that she “is probably the most capable, affable, and personable nurse with whom I have been associated. There has never been a task too daunting, a problem insurmountable, or a situation with a family, child or other hospital employee that she could not solve.” Sound like Wonder Woman? Well, you’ll soon agree that she is. In the words of her Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, she has had a “tremendous and pioneering career as a pediatric surgery nurse practitioner” and is an “ambassador” to their hospital. She is well published, including a chapter on Malrotation in the APSNA textbook (Nursing Care of the General Pediatric Surgical Patient) and several articles in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery. Her most recent publication in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery reflects one of her most impressive and innovative accomplishments: her work to design and establish a program for use of nitrous oxide analgesia for outpatient procedures in children. One of her many fans and surgeon colleagues writes: “she has been a constant source of inspiration both because of her technical ability with patients, her knowledge base, her clinical acumen, and also her seemingly unlimited capacity for empathy... the development of the nitrous sedation program ...has radically changed our pediatric surgical practice.”

2003 Fran Gill

Fran has been in nursing for 31 years! In that time she has done much to earn the respect and admiration of her colleagues and patients. Fran has sought an ever-deeper knowledge base through nursing education and a variety of practice settings. Fran was nominated for the Founders Award by one of her surgeon colleagues, Dr. Peter Mattei. His praise for her was boundless. Among his accolades are the following quotes: [Fran is], “I believe, the epitome of what a pediatric surgical nurse practitioner should be...” [She] “continues to be the most energetic, tireless, and knowledgeable advocate for our pediatric patients and their families that we have and that most of us have ever known. Her compassion is unfailing and her sensitivity to the needs of the children and their parents is nothing short of amazing. She is selfless to a fault and the consummate team player... Her clinical judgment is always to be trusted – when Fran tells me my patient is ‘fine,’ I know I can relax, but when she tells me they’re ‘not quite right,’ I know I better worry...” Among her many talents and accomplishments, Dr. Mattei lists her role as a teacher, her annual organization of a nursing education conference specific to general pediatric surgery, the clinical initiatives and patient care protocols she has developed, her role in quality care studies, her role as mentor for nursing students and colleagues, and her numerous scholarly publications, including a chapter entitled “Preparing Children with Special Needs for Discharge” recently published in a pediatric surgery textbook. Dr. Mattei concludes “that Fran is an ideal candidate to represent APSNA and a supreme example of what the Association stands for.” Those of us who know Fran couldn’t agree more with Dr. Mattei. We would add, however, one tremendous accomplishment for which each and every APSNA member is grateful: her achievement of ANCC provider status for our national APSNA conference! Amongst a peer group of dynamos, Fran stands out, and is truly deserving of the 2003 APSNA Founders Award.

2002 Pam Peiper

Pam has been recognized in the State of Florida as one of the leading experts in pediatric trauma.  Dr. J.J. Tepas, professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Florida writes, "Ms. Pieper has been identified as a unique asset. Her work in the State of Florida to develop and continue to refine its trauma care system stands as yet another unique demonstration of her almost immeasurable capabilities.  Ms. Pieper has worked with colleagues in the Department of Health to refine the process of documentation of trauma center standards and to enhance the statewide promulgation of systems of quality monitoring, both in the pediatric and adult trauma patients. Her efforts have gained national renown for the State of Florida quality monitoring. Her most recent orchestration of the complex task of re-designation of the University of Florida's Level 1 trauma center and pediatric trauma referral center stands as yet more evidence of this woman's far-reaching talents as a leader, administrator, educator, and investigator."

Dr. Daniel Mollitt, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Surgery writes, "Ms. Pieper was one of the first dedicated pediatric surgical nurses in northeast Florida and she has maintained this focus throughout her career. She serves as an indispensable member of the Pediatric Surgery Services at the University of Florida, providing compassionate care to her patients and support to their families.... Clearly Ms. Pieper has demonstrated ongoing commitment and excellence in clinical care, education and research in pediatric surgery."

2001 Lori Howell

Lori Howell is from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).  Lori has 25 years of experience nearly all in pediatric surgical nursing. 

In 1991, Dr. Scott Adzick and Dr. Michael Harrison at UCSF were in dire need of administrative leadership for the newly developing fetal therapy program.  They convinced Lori to assume the role of Coordinator for Fetal and Pediatric Surgery and soon realized they had chosen a real dynamo for he job. In 1995, Dr. Adzik became the Surgeon-in-Chief at the CHOP and lured Lori back to Philadelphia as Coordinator of the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment. Dr. Adzick writes, "Lori has catapulted the fetal therapy program at CHOP into the largest such program in the world." If that was not enough Lori has developed and led a new program for Surgical Advanced Practice Nurses in the Intensive Care Nursery, wards and outpatient settings. 

Lori has a genuine love for people and her warmth and caring shines through and touches all who know and work with her.  We are blessed to have Lori in our organization.  She is truly deserving to be honored with the Founders Awrad.

2000 Laura Flanigan

After graduating from Boston Children’s Hospital School of Nursing, Laura began her pediatric nursing career at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in 1967. Laura was chosen by Dr. Randolph to assist him in the care of pediatric surgical patients.  What followed was a collegial partnership, which advanced the field of pediatric surgery. Some consider Laura Flanigan the founder of pediatric surgical nursing.  John Randolph, MD, wrote, “….a wonderful, brilliant, perceptive nurse who enriched my life and made me a better surgeon.” Her nursing colleague wrote, “What is truly outstanding in Laura’s practice is the humanitarian energy and effort that she brings to each patient and family that she encounters.”  Laura was honored to receive the Founder’s Award, she said, “APSNA is an organization that is filled with so many who demonstrate the Excellence of Pediatric Surgical Nursing for which this is award is given. Surely there is no greater honor than being recognized by those who know and understand what it is that you do.”

1999 Diane Jakobowski and Gail Garvin

These two women were instrumental in bringing the first group of pediatric surgical nurses together in Florida in 1992. Diane Jakobowski dedicated her nursing career to pediatrics. She was initially involved with neonatal nursing and enteral therapy. She was the impetus for pediatric surgical advanced practice nursing at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she practiced for over 15 years.  Gail Garvin began her pediatric nursing career focused on the care of the juvenile diabetic.  In the mid 1980’s Gail changed her focus to enterostomal therapy and pediatric surgical nursing.  Gail has continued her support of APSNA and furthering the care of the pediatric surgical patients through her support of APSNA authorship.

Diane and Gail stated upon receipt of the Founders Award, “We are honored and proud to be associated with this dynamic an progressive organization.  Thanks to all of you for making APSNA what it is today and what it will be in the future.  Cherish your friendships and continue to set high standards for quality pediatric nursing practice.”