2012 Alumni Awards

Award winners UWM CON 2012 The 2012 Alumni Awards were distributed at the College of Nursing Convocation held in the Union on November 6.
The convocation was followed by an alumni reception in the art gallery.

(A. Cook, S. Lundeen, J. Leske)


Rising Star Award- Tomisha Byard ('08)

This award is given to a graduate who earned an entry degree in nursing within the last 5 years and who demonstrates excellence in leadership and professional involvement in their place of employment, professional organization(s ) or health care related activities.

ByardawardTomisha Byard is a staff nurse on a busy 28 bed medical-surgical unit at Aurora St. Luke’s South Shore Hospital. Since acquiring her certification as a medical-surgical nurse, Tomisha has encouraged fellow nurses to become certified and has provided support to them during their
preparation. When she enrolled in the Concordia University Masters program, she again encouraged others to join her.

One nominator stated, “I believe that Tomisha will continue to be a leader throughout her career. Patients are her number one priority and her passion for nursing is contagious.”

Another nominator declared, “This young lady is self-aware, confident, and genuinely cares about her job and her patients. It is an honor to work with such a wonderful RN.”

Ellen K. Murphy Public Policy Award- Ann Cook (MS '81, PhD, '95)

This award is given to a nurse who has demonstrated leadership through activities that have had an impact at a regional or national level.They also have a major initiative, policy or program that is attributed to them.

Dr. Cook is a Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Nursing program at UWM. Prior to joining the UWM faculty, she was on the faculty of Columbia College of Nursing for 23 years.

For more than 30 years, Dr. Cook has been an active member of nursing organizations such as the Wisconsin League of Nursing, the National League of Nursing and Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing and the Wisconsin Center for Nursing, serving in elected Board positions. Recently, she was elected to the NLN Nursing Education Advisory Council (NEAC). While all of these activities dealt with policy development in one way or another, Dr. Cook’s recent activities with the Wisconsin Center for Nursing stand out.

Dr. Cook was elected President of the Wisconsin Center for Nursing in 2009 as only the second elected Board President of this statewide workforce policy organization. During her tenure as
President, she oversaw:

  • the implementation of a change in state statutes to name the Center as the nursing workforce analyst;
  • the hiring of the organization’s first full time director;
  • the design and implementation of a robust web site; and
  • the negotiation of a major contract with the Wisconsin Workforce Development Board to analyze and disseminate the results of the 2010 Wisconsin RN Workforce Survey

The Survey became the prototype in the state for workforce data collection linked to health professionals.  She also co-authored the 2010 Wisconsin Nurse Education and Nursing Faculty Survey Report which also is used for policy development.

Overall, her leadership set the stage for Wisconsin nursing to play a key role in workforce development.

As the Wisconsin Center for Nursing Immediate Past UWM_AA_AwardsPresident Dr. Cook continues to provide calm and intelligent leadership coupled with a passion for nursing and nursing education.                                        
                                                                                              (A. Cook pictured with her son)

Norma M. Lang Leadership Award- Jane S. Leske (PhD '88)

This award is given to a nurse who has demonstrated leadership through activities that have had an impact at a regional or national level. They also have a major initiative, policy or program that is attributed to them.

The award is named for Norma M. Lang who served as dean of the College of Nursing from 1980 to 1992. Dr. Lang is an internationally recognized leader in quality assurance and computerized nursing knowledge data- bases. She also has served on the boards of numerous national and international organizations.

Dr. Leske’s research in the area of family needs and family centered care in critical care nursing is known internationally.

As a university educator and researcher she has provided consultation to three area hospitals and mentored countless advanced practice nurses. Dr. Leske has provided leadership in the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses as a speaker, advisor, board member and reviewer for their journals. In addition she has received numerous awards recognizing her leadership and the impact of her research.

UWM_AA_Awards_Leske_Lang_Hook_ReceptionHer nominator stated, “She and her colleagues have set the standard for open visitation in critical care units, and family status reports from the OR. They also provided nurses and physicians with intervention strategies to meet family needs, especially for patients with a poor prognosis.

(M. Hook, J. Leske, N. Lang)

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