Award Recognizes UVA Nursing Dean Dorrie Fontaine

May 07, 2019

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Fontaine will receive the AACN Pioneering Spirit Award at NTI in recognition of her work as a champion for healthy work environments, interprofessional collaboration and compassionate care

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. – May 7, 2019 – The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) will present Dorrie K. Fontaine, PhD, RN, FAAN, with its AACN Pioneering Spirit Award.

This AACN Visionary Leadership Award recognizes significant contributions that influence high-acuity and critical care nursing and relate to the association’s mission, vision and values. The presentation will occur during the 2019 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI), Orlando, Florida, May 20-23.

A critical care and trauma nurse for more than 40 years, Fontaine is the Sadie Heath Cabaniss Professor of Nursing and dean of the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Nursing. She is retiring this summer.

“Dr. Fontaine has masterfully created innovative work environments where nurses learn, thrive and give compassionate care, not only to patients and their families but to themselves,” said AACN board president Lisa Riggs, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, CCRN-K. “A passion for critical care nursing is a signature element of her career as a clinician, scholar, researcher, educator and professional leader.”

Founder of UVA’s Compassionate Care Initiative, Fontaine lectures around the world on the importance of teaching resilience practices to students and clinicians, diversity in nursing, and the cultivation and maintenance of healthy work environments.

During her tenure, the school garnered some $35 million in grants, raised more than $55 million in philanthropy and attracted some of the profession’s top talent: Today, six presidents of key regional and national nursing organizations make UVA School of Nursing their academic home.

Fontaine joined UVA in 2008 after a career in academic and clinical leadership at the University of California at San Francisco, University of Maryland at Baltimore and Georgetown University.

She has been a member of AACN since 1983, serving as president of the AACN board of directors in 2003-04.

A fellow of the American Academy of Nursing for more than 20 years, Fontaine has received the Presidential Citation from the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the Distinguished Lectureship Award from the Society of Trauma Nurses, and the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Silver Hope Award, its highest honor.

She is a member of Sigma, which honored her book “Essentials of Critical Care Nursing” with its Capstone International Nursing Book Award in 2013.

She received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Villanova University, a master’s degree from the University of Maryland, and a PhD from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

About the AACN Pioneering Spirit Award: The annual AACN Pioneering Spirit Award recognizes significant contributions that influence high-acuity and critical care nursing regionally and nationally, and relate to AACN’s mission, vision and values. Recipients of this Visionary Leadership Award come from business, academia and healthcare, and receive a plaque and $1,000 honorarium at the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition. Other Visionary Leadership awards, AACN’s highest honor, include AACN’s Lifetime Membership Awards and the Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career.

About the 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 with 400 members, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is now the world’s largest specialty nursing organization. In 2019, AACN celebrates 50 years of acute and critical care nursing excellence, serving more than 120,000 members and over 200 chapters in the United States. The organization remains committed to its vision of creating a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. During its 50th anniversary year, AACN continues to salute and celebrate all that nurses have accomplished over the last half century, while honoring their past, present and future impact on the evolution of high-acuity and critical care nursing.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109; 949-362-2000;;;