Cheers and a spontaneous standing ovation followed the presentation of the Student Nurses’ Association of Pennsylvania’s (SNAP) Lifetime Achievement Award to M. Louise Fitzpatrick, EdD, RN, FAAN, Villanova University College of Nursing’s Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor, on November 19 at the SNAP convention in Harrisburg. The annual convention was attended by over 650 students, faculty advisors and staff.
The Lifetime Achievement Award from SNAP originates with Dean Fitzpatrick and will not be an annual award, as few people have such extraordinary, sustained impact on nursing students. The award dates to a discussion during the 2015 State Board meeting when Dean Fitzpatrick’s name was mentioned. “Leader,” “visionary,” “expert educator” and “advocate for nursing education” were among the accolades describing her.
According to 2015 SNAP State President Meghan Long, “Dean Fitzpatrick is an inspiration to all members of the student nurses’ association, not only for her successes in the profession, but for her powerful dedication to student nurses. This led to the creation of our first ever, Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Speaking without notes to a packed banquet hall, Dean Fitzpatrick evidenced her legendary ability to connect with her audience. She spoke of her own student days in the student nurses’ association, leadership and the importance of involvement in SNAP and the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) on careers and health care.
Dean Fitzpatrick is considered the founder of SNAP-Villanova. She arrived at Villanova in 1978 with a vision of excellence that included the establishment of a chapter of the Student Nurses Association as a co-curricular association essential for development of students and future nurses. Across the years, Dean Fitzpatrick has continued to foster students’ involvement in SNAP-Villanova, SNAP and the NSNA.
Earlier in November, Dean Fitzpatrick was honored with a scholarship in her name, established by the Nurses Educational Funds, Inc. (NEF). She was recognized at the NEF Gala Reception in New York City on November 4th, with many campus colleagues in attendance. Dean Fitzpatrick has been a member of the NEF Board since 1983. The new scholarship to assist nurses in graduate school is called the M. Louise Fitzpatrick Scholarship Fund.
NEF is non-profit organization which seeks and distributes funds to baccalaureate prepared registered nurses in need of nursing scholarship assistance for graduate study. While studying for her doctoral degree in nursing education at Columbia University Teacher’s College, Dean Fitzpatrick was a recipient of NEF’s Isabel Hampton Robb Scholarship.
Dean Fitzpatrick has been a PSNA member for more than 20 years. We congratulate her on these well-deserved awards!