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 SRU Professor Receives National Honor for Work in Nursing Technology 



Sept. 15, 2004

CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine (724) 738-4854;  e-mail:

Sept. 15, 2004



SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -- For her pioneering work in promoting the use of computers in nursing education and health care, Slippery Rock University nursing Professor Ramona Nelson has been named a 2004 fellow by the American Academy of Nursing.

           Nelson will be inducted into the academy on Nov. 13 in Washington, D.C.

            "The 2004 inductees are nurse leaders who have been identified by their peers as pathfinders in the nursing discipline,”Joan L. Shaver, president of the academy, said. “Weare privileged to welcome them into the academy and look to them to help us shape 'forward thinking' change for nursing and health care."


            Said Nelson, “For me, this is a major honor. There are more than 2 million nurses in the country. There are only 1,700 fellows in the American Academy of Nursing. Every fellow in the academy has made a significant contribution to the future of health care.”

A pioneer for informatics in nursing

             Nelson, a professor at SRU since 1994, is a pioneer in nursing informatics, which combines computer information and nursing science to create innovative approaches to delivery of health care. According to the academy’s Web site, she recognized the importance of technology at a time when computers in clinical and educational settings were in their infancy.

           She began to purse a degree in informatics in 1984, earned her degree in 1988 and then pursued post-doctoral work in nursing informatics at the University of Utah.

    With this solid foundation, Nelson then began a tireless campaign to educate others about the importance of informatics in education and service. She became a regular presenter at national and international conferences, including the Rutgers International Computer Conference and the International Medical Informatics Conference.  

She also published a practical book "Computers in Small Bytes," soon to be in its fourth edition, and a comprehensive book "Healthcare Informatics: An Interdisciplinary Approach," which in addition to use at SRU has been adopted by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of South Florida and Duke University Medical Center, among others.

She developed one of the first courses in nursing informatics at the undergraduate level, which began as an elective in 1988 and progressed to a required course in 1991. As Web-based distance education began to evolve, Nelson took a leadership role in developing and promoting best practices in online learning. 

Diane Skiba, professor of informatics at the University of Colorado, and Mary Anne Rizzolo, director of professional development at the National League for Nursing, nominated Nelson. Both are fellows in the academy.


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