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Nursing Association Presents Lifetime Achievement Award to UW Nursing School Dean

October 13, 2014
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Mary Burman’s devotion to her profession and commitment to education have earned her a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wyoming Nursing Association.

The Wyoming Nursing Association recently presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to Mary Burman, dean of the University of Wyoming Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing.

The WNA award is given annually to one who has enjoyed a long career as a nurse in Wyoming, has shown commitment and dedication to the profession of nursing, has been an innovator and developer of programs and has served on boards and committees to advance the practice of nursing and health care in Wyoming. The award criteria also requires individuals who provide support through mentoring and role modeling for other nurses and who exemplifies the role of a nurse by exhibiting caring and professionalism.

In her nomination letter, Casper nurse practitioner Mary Behrens noted a list of Burman’s achievements since 1980. Among the highlights was that Burman sought and secured PIN (Partners Investing in Nursing) grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (a charitable organization devoted to health care issues).

“The PIN grants have helped nurses develop leadership skills so nurses can be more influential in our state’s health care system,” says Behrens. She explains The Wyoming PIN project, also known as "ReNEW" -- Revolutionizing Nursing Education in Wyoming -- works to create a shared nursing curriculum at academic institutions across the state to make it easier for nurses prepared at the associates-degree level to earn baccalaureate and higher degrees.

“Our goal is to revolutionize nursing education,” Burman says. "As you look at the future of nursing, we need a different type of nurse clinician.” Streamlining education requirements is especially helpful in Wyoming, home to only one four-year school of nursing. When the process is complete through the ReNEW project, nurses at the state’s community colleges will have an easier time earning their baccalaureate degrees from UW.

The nomination also mentioned the Wyoming Nurses Association Leadership in Nursing Award; the honor of becoming a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners; the Daniel S. Klein Spirit of Volunteerism Award from Laramie’s Downtown Clinic; and the “Trailblazer” award from the Wyoming Women’s Foundation.

Behrens noted that Burman wrote or assisted in 36 different grants and funding projects, 34 refereed journals, six refereed book and monograph chapters, six technical reports, 25 publications, 35 national and international abstracts, and 35 local and regional presentations.

"Her leadership with the Wyoming Center for Nursing and Health Care Partnerships demonstrates her commitment to the profession of nursing as well as her ability to bring together stakeholders and health care partners to work on a common goal. In addition, she has been active in many professional nursing organizations." Behrens listed eight of them, each of which benefited from Burman's service in a wide variety of positions -- from delegate, secretary and treasurer to government affairs, global advancement, and international special interest group committees.

"Dr. Burman also has found time to work with numerous and varied community service organizations," says Behrens, "including Wyoming Woman’s Foundation Advisory Board and United Way of Albany County. True to her public health roots, she was a founder of the Laramie Downtown Clinic. In addition, she served as president and vice president on the board and on the Albany County Public Health Advisory Committee."

Burman earned her Ph.D. in nursing science from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1990; her master's degree in community health nursing from that institution in 1986; and a bachelor's in nursing from the University of Minnesota in 1983. Before joining the UW faculty in 1992, Burman served on the faculty of Montana State University.

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