Joanne Disch Honored For Distinguished Career

May 15, 2015

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Joanne Disch Receives AACN Award for Distinguished Career in Critical Care

Disch — University of Minnesota professor and advocate for patient-centered care — honored for extraordinary contributions to critical care and AACN mission, vision

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — May 14, 2015  — The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) honors Joanne Disch, RN, PhD, FAAN, with the 2015 Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career.

Disch — professor ad honorem at the University of Minnesota (UM) School of Nursing, Minneapolis — will receive the award for exceptional contributions throughout her 45-year career that enhanced the care of critically ill patients and their families and furthered AACN’s mission and vision. The presentation will occur during the 2015 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition, San Diego, May 18-21. 

“Throughout her career, Joanne has distinguished herself in both the practice and education arenas, always advocating for person-centric care across the life span and across the continuum of care delivery,” said AACN national president Teri Lynn Kiss, RN, MS, MSSW, CNML, CMSRN. “We are honored that she has made AACN her professional home since the beginning of her influential career.”

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin (UW), Disch worked as a staff nurse at the UW Hospitals and Clinics before earning her MSN from the University of Alabama in Birmingham and her PhD from the University of Michigan.

She taught nursing at Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania universities before moving to Minnesota to work as a chief nursing officer and hospital administrator in 1991. An adjunct faculty appointment at the UM School of Nursing led her to become a full-time professor in 2000. 

At UM, she held the Katherine R. and C. Walton Lillehei chair in Nursing Leadership and served as director for the school’s Katharine J. Densford International Center for Nursing Leadership until 2012. As professor ad honorem, she continues to work with aspiring and existing nurse leaders and advocate for nurse-designed models of care.

For the past 12 years, she has been a faculty leader for the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) initiative, which has educated more than 1,500 nursing faculty in safety science and in how to redesign nursing curricula to include this content.

She has extensive experience as an educator, chief nurse executive, researcher, leader, policy maker and spokeswoman. 

Disch’s research has centered on nurse/physician relationships and quality and safety within healthcare organizations. 

AACN has previously honored Disch, who served as its national president and led its certification corporation board, with its Pioneering Spirit Award in 2007.

Disch has provided leadership to other national organizations, including a term as board member and chair of the National Board of Directors for AARP and as president of the American Academy of Nursing. Currently, she serves on the board of Aurora Health Care and is chair of the board of trustees of Chamberlain College of Nursing. 

She has published and presented nationally and internationally on issues related to quality, safety and leadership in healthcare and recently completed co-editing a text on “Person and Family-Centered Care.”

During her distinguished career, Disch has received numerous awards, including the Dorothy Garrigus Adams Award for Excellence in Fostering Professional Standards from Sigma Theta Tau International, and Outstanding Alumna awards from the University of Wisconsin School of Nursing. She was honored with the establishment of the Joanne Disch Excellence in Medical Nursing Practice Award from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

About the Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award: Established in 1997 and named for a past AACN president, the Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career recognizes extraordinary and distinguished professional contributions that further AACN’s mission and vision of a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and families where acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. Recipients of this Visionary Leadership Award receive a $1,000 gift to the charity of their choice, lifetime membership in AACN and a crystal replica of the presidential “Vision” icon. Other Visionary Leadership Awards, AACN’s highest honor, include Lifetime Member Award, Honorary Member Award and the AACN Pioneering Spirit Award.

National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition: Established in 1974, AACN’s National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI) represents the world’s largest educational conference and trade show for nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients and their families. Bedside nurses, nurse educators, nurse managers, clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners attend NTI. 

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969 and based in Aliso Viejo, California, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN joins together the interests of more than 500,000 acute and critical care nurses and claims more than 235 chapters worldwide. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
101 Columbia
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109

Phone: (949) 362-2000
Fax: (949) 362-2020