In this column, the American Nurses Association is pleased to highlight two recipients of the 2016 Hall of Fame Award, who were named earlier this year. For a complete list of 2016 National Award winners, visit www.NursingWorld.org.
Hall of Fame Award
This prestigious award recognizes the lifelong commitment of individual nurses to the profession of nursing and their impact on the health and social history of the United States.
Patricia Ruth Messmer, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN
Florida Nurses Association
Patricia Messmer has led a remarkable career in nursing, and has been an active and committed ANA member for more than 54 years. Her dedication and knowledge of the nursing profession includes her work as a long-term advocate for excellence at the bedside.
Messmer is currently a consultant for nursing research and education in the Benjamín León School of Nursing at Miami Dade College. She serves as chair of the Nurses Charitable Trust, which supports nursing scholarships and research.
Since her early days as a staff nurse at Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA, she has continued to build on her career, taking on roles that have included clinical instructor, nurse practitioner, assistant professor, director of nursing education and research, director of nursing research, and Magnet® project director at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, FL.
Messmer also has made her mark in health care by publishing numerous articles that include “Teaching infant CPR to mothers of cocaine-exposed infants,” “Kangaroo care for neonates,” “CPR steps to Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” and “Enhancing nurse-physician collaboration using simulation,” as well as collaborating with Ethiopian surgeons to co-author “Treatment of sigmoid volvulus by deflation versus surgery.” Messmer received the 2010 ANA Jessie M. Scott Award and in 2000 became the only nurse to receive the Smithsonian Computerworld Medal for “Companion Phone Technology in the Emergency Department.”
Messmer, a Sigma Theta Tau International Virginia Henderson Fellow, is a consummate advocate who ensures that nurses’ voices are heard, and a dedicated champion who has strengthened the nursing profession regionally, nationally and internationally. She co-authored “Private Duty Nurse Undine Sams: Passion, Power & Political Action” and donated Sams’ archival material to Florida International University and the University of Miami, and donated Imogene King’s archives to Loyola University in Chicago and the University of Virginia.
At the same time, Messmer led an initiative to fund a Veterans Affairs nurse collection for the Kansas Nurses Foundation. A former American Nurses Foundation trustee and treasurer and ANA-PAC trustee and secretary, she co-chairs the ANA-PAC Leadership Society and is president of the Florida Nurses Foundation. She serves as an advisor to the Philippine Nurses Association in Cebu, Philippines, the Miami chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, and the Haitian American Nurses Association.
Her innovative, highly relevant and international research is consistently funded. She is a globally respected mentor to nurses and physicians, helping them to achieve workable
solutions in clinical practice.
Muriel Poulin, EdD, RN, FAAN
Muriel Poulin has achieved an extraordinary career in nursing, spanning more than 50 years in over a dozen countries.
Throughout her career, she has served on numerous boards of directors, published research articles including the original Magnet® Hospital study (which she co-authored) under the auspices of the American Academy of Nursing, and taught as a visiting professor in other countries. She successfully established the first master’s program in nursing in Spain after serving as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Barcelona. Furthermore, her outstanding leadership and commitment to nursing have earned her several awards for excellence in research and teaching.
Poulin moved to Washington, DC, in 1946, where she worked at Gallinger Municipal Hospital (later renamed District of Columbia General Hospital in 1953) as a staff nurse, head nurse and clinical supervisor. In 1953, she was recruited to be a member of a task force responsible for opening and managing the newly constructed Damascus General Hospital in Syria, and served as its director of nursing. This opportunity led her to understand that high quality patient care is achieved when nursing services are led by well-prepared nursing administrators, and it also began her commitment to international health care.
Poulin returned to the U.S. in 1955, where she worked at Massachusetts General Hospital as the coordinator of staff development. Two years later, she was recruited by the U.S. Agency for International Development to work at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in San José, Costa Rica, as the assistant hospital administrator for nursing. She returned to the U.S. in 1958, went on to earn her master’s degree in nursing administration from the University of Colorado, spent a year traveling the world and then joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky in 1962 as an assistant professor.
After earning her doctorate in education and nursing administration at Columbia University’s Teachers College, Poulin returned to Massachusetts, where she was the chair of the graduate program in nursing administration for 17 years at Boston University until she retired in 1989. Poulin has strengthened the profession of nursing nationally and internationally, and she has been an inspirational role model to nurses everywhere.