ISPN Member Spotlight
Congratulations to Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, AAN Living Legend
ISPN congratulates Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN, on being named a Living
Legend by the American Academy of Nursing. Dr. Fitzpatrick is the editor of ISPN's journal Archives of Psychiatric Nursing.
According to the AAN press release, "Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN, is best
known for her contributions toward advancing the science of nursing education at universities and health ministries around the world. From developing educational
interventions focused on HIV/AIDS prevention in Uganda to designing a 10-hospital project centered on improving the nursing care provided to elders, her research has
shined a spotlight on the meaningfulness of nurses' work life. She served as Dean of
Case Western Reserve University's School of Nursing for over 15 years, and her widely
cited "Life Perspective Rhythm Model" has provided a holistic, spiritual method for
understanding nursing concepts. In addition, she has been a leader of several national nursing organizations during her career, including President of the American Academy
of Nursing 1997-1999."
Joyce graciously agreed to an interview to highlight her career for this edition of Connections.
Five Questions for a Living Legend in Nursing: Interview with Dr. Joyce Fitzpatrick
Much has been written about the nurse leader and theorist, Dr. Joyce Fitzpatrick. Following her induction as a Living Legend in Nursing by
the American Academy of Nursing this month, it is certain that much more is to come. I had an opportunity to catch up (literally) with my
mentor, Joyce, to ask "Five Questions" of this remarkable nurse leader. These questions delve into who Joyce is as a person and what
legacy she hopes to leave for her chosen profession.
As anyone who has had the pleasure of working with, being mentored by, or simply meeting Joyce will tell you, she is not only a "Living
Legend" she is also a Force of Nature. Joyce's commitment to nursing is evident on both the macro (changing the profession) to the
micro (influencing individual nurses) levels. Many a mentee has left a meeting with Joyce filled with inspiration (and perhaps a bit of
perspiration). She has the uncanny ability to quickly surmise precisely what a person is capable of and to expect every bit of that capacity
of her mentees-not a bit less or more.
Despite her tremendous success, Joyce is down-to-earth and authentic. She asks for only two things from her mentees: that they give
their utmost in their professional endeavors and that they "pay it forward" by mentoring others. If you have the good fortune to meet Joyce,
be prepared to leave the encounter with an "assignment" on how to move forward with your professional growth. The assignment will
undoubtedly be followed by an email the following day with no less than three connections that will help you to complete your assignment.
What drives you?
After a brief pause and with considerable passion in her voice, Joyce responds, "I am totally, totally committed to making the world a better place through nursing. When I was
an undergraduate at Georgetown I committed myself to making nursing more intellectually challenging because there is so much that one must know in order to be
an excellent nurse. I knew that I needed to become an academic to change nursing education, because I really believed that we could change the practice by changing
Joyce attributes her background in mental health and community nursing, and
particularly her background in community mental health, with helping her to develop excellent assessment skills. "That combination best prepared me to make 'good'
choices with intentionality."
Joyce is committed to working with nurses to "figure out what their strengths are." She
helps nurses recognize and leverage their strengths, and she models the courage
needed to effect change for patients and the profession. "I think that I am a high-energy person" (a bit of an understatement). She recently
returned from China where, among other things, she climbed the Great Wall!
What do you see as your most significant contribution/legacy?
Joyce feels strongly that the ability to help nurses identify personal and professional strengths, along with a focus on intellectual rigor
among nurses, are at the heart of all that she does. By illuminating the benefits of strength-based intentionality, nurses are able to use
strategy to enhance their influence and that of the profession. These influences, along with intellectual rigor, are critical precursors to the
ultimate goal of providing the best possible care for our patients.
Fitzpatrick was president of the American Academy of Nursing from 1997 to 1999, served as Dean of Case Western Reserve University's
School of Nursing for over 15 years, and her widely cited "Life Perspective Rhythm Model" has provided a holistic, spiritual method for
understanding nursing concepts. As the following excerpt from the Case Western Reserve University website reveals, it is difficult to
narrow down a particular or singular contribution.
According to a press release from the American Academy of Nursing, Fitzpatrick "is best known for her contributions toward
advancing the science of nursing education at universities and health ministries around the world. From developing educational
interventions focused on HIV/AIDS prevention in Uganda to designing a 10-hospital project centered on improving the nursing
care provided to elders, her research has shined a spotlight on the meaningfulness of nurses' work life."
What, if anything, would you have done differently?
When asked about another career choice, Joyce's response to the question was immediate and succinct: "I can't imagine doing anything
other than nursing." Asked about mistakes along the way, it was clear that Joyce has no regrets. It is not so much that she did everything
"right" but that she made every choice count, made it work to her advantage and, by extension, to the advantage of the profession and
patients. Joyce focuses on how preparedness and accurate assessment of each decision has increased her chances of success and
how, when faced with challenges, she has made the best of each situation, viewing it as an opportunity for growth.
What is your hope for the future of nursing?
"We have a lot of power within our profession that we don't actualize. Sixteen million nurses worldwide represent 80% of all healthcare
providers, and we are not promoting our own knowledge at the bedside or at the policy level." Joyce insists that only by learning how to
clearly articulate what we do can we use the power of our numbers and have a voice where decisions impacting our patients and our profession are being made.
Joyce has concrete ideas about how to "articulate what we are doing as nurses." "Nurses complain that nobody really knows what they
do. They tell me that their family and patients don't truly understand what it is that a nurse does. For example, at the bedside patients see
nurses as task-oriented while nurses perceive their efforts as high-level, evidence-based assessment and intervention. Joyce contends
that the first step in educating others is "to give ourselves the credit" for what we are doing as we are doing it. One example that she
provides is of the nurse in ICU telling her patient, "I am going to spend the next 12 hours monitoring you so that you don't have a
complication related to your cardiac condition." Joyce believes that it is only by articulating how what you are doing is impacting
someone's health, and what the connection is that the nurse has with her patients, can we begin to move from the "thankless" job
moniker to a truly valued profession.
Discuss the most important advice you can/do give to mentees
I have included a few of the key statements, or "nuggets" from my conversation with Joyce. They are brief and to-the-point and are
presented for your consideration of how they best relate to your personal and professional story.
~ Cultivate strategic partnerships for yourself, your mentees, and most importantly, for your patients."
~ There are no casual conversations."
~ Never say no to an opportunity, but be strategic in your response. At the very least, say, 'I would like to think about that.'"
~ Practice strategic, visible leadership."
~ Take every situation and make it work for you."
If Joyce's words here have inspired you and moved you to action on something you are passionate about, I am fairly certain her words to
you would read something like this: Figure out what you want to do. Research what and who you need to help you get there. Capitalize on
your strengths, and be realistic about your limitations. Be courageous and smart about your approach. Get a good mentor. And
remember to let everyone know what you are doing along the way and the impact that your actions have on the health of your patients.
Two brief quotes sum up Joyce's attitude and influence:
"Emily Dickenson: "I dwell in possibility."
"W.B. Yeats: "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
Joyce embodies the qualities of a Living Legend and has no intention of slowing down. That should be music to the ears of nurses and
patients around the world.
Tamara H. McKinnon, DNP, RN, APHN
Assistant Professor and Global Programs Chair
The Valley Foundation School of Nursing at San Jose State University
PhD student at University of California, San Francisco
• Dr. Jill Bormann
, ISPN member and currently the Associate Chief Nurse for Research at the VA in La Jolla, CA has spent decades
researching the impact on Mantram (a technique or mindfulness) on PTSD, Healthcare staff, wellness etc. Oprah picked her research
and profiled it in the August edition of "O" magazine. Dr. Bormann presented her work at ISPN's 2015 conference. Kudos to Dr. Bormann
for recognition of her research and success!
6/5/16 - 7/28/16
• Andrea Kwasky DNP, PMHNP-BC, PMHCN received a Nightingale Award as Distinguished Faculty from Oakland University in May,
• Evelyn Parrish PhD, APRN-BC, ISPN Past President (2013-2014) was named Editor in Chief of the journal, Perspectives in Psychiatric
• Ukamaka Oruche MSN, RN, CNS, PhD was appointed to the Indiana State Mental and Behavioral Health Workforce Task Force. The
group will make recommendations to the Governors Health Workforce Council.
• Barbara Frechette DNP, PMHNP, FCN presented her paper, Hurtology: An Online Course at the 3rd Pediatric Nursing Association of
Europe (PNAE) Congress in Porto, Portugal May 2016.
• Edilma Yearwood PhD, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN and Sally Raphel MS, APRN/PMH,FAAN presented their paper, Leading Nursing
Educational Progress in Child Mental Health, at the 3rd PNAE Congress on Pediatric Nursing in Porto, Portugal May 2016.
• Geraldine S. Pearson PMH-CNS, PHD, FAAN, ISPN Past President (2006-2009), was appointed Editor in Chief of the Journal of the
American Psychiatric Nurses Association.
• Cheryl Woods Giscombe PhD, PMHNP-BC was named a Macy Faculty Scholar from The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and is the director
of the Interprofessional Institute for Mental Health Equity, the project she developed as a Macy Scholar. In addition, Dr. Woods Giscombe
was a Scholar in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars Program.
• Nancy Fowler, PMHNP, practicing at the Isaac Ray Center, Inc. in Chicago, IL was promoted to Psychiatric Services Administrator at the
• Mary Weber PhD, PMHNP-BC, FAANP will be inducted as a new Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in October, 2016.
• Marian Newton PhD, RN, CS, PMHNP, ANEF was inducted into the National League for Nursing Academy of Nursing Education.
Additionally, Dr. Newton was selected as one of the 60 Gator Nurse Greats in honor of the University of Florida College of Nursing's 60th
anniversary, recognizing 60 outstanding alumni who exemplify the ideals of the College's tri-partite motto "Care, Lead, Inspire."
• Pamela Galehouse PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC presented her paper, Supporting the Behavioral Health of Children: Temperament Based
Interventions to Support Development and Reduce Risk, at the 3rd PNAE Congress on Pediatric Nursing in Porto, Portugal May 2016.