Debbie Summers


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Lee Summitt, MO


University of Arizona, Tempe, Arizona, Stroke Fellowship Program: Neurovascular Education and Training in Stroke Management and Acute Reperfusion Therapy. 2009 – 2011
University of Missouri Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri. MSN, Clinical Nurse Specialist, December 1992-1996
Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri. BSN. 1979-1981
Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri. BS - Biology. 1977-1979
St. John's Hospital School of Nursing. Diploma. 1974-1977


November 2013 - March of Dimes 2013 Future of Nursing Award (Advanced Practice Nurse) Kansas City, MO
June 2013 - American Heart Association Award of Meritorious Achievement – Stroke Nursing Task Force. Acting Co-chair of Stroke Nursing Task Force when first formed in 2001
May 2012 - Saint Luke’s Clinical Excellence – Advanced Practice Nurse
November 2011 - Stroke Council Award sponsored by AHA Stroke Council.
November 2010 - 2010 Excellence in Clinical Practice Award, AHA Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association.
November 2009 - Stroke Manuscript of the Year Award, American Heart/Stroke Association. Cardiovascular Nursing Committee.
May 1994 - Saint Luke’s Clinical Excellence – Clinical Educator
May 1986 - Saint Luke’s Mary Reed Award for Bedside Clinical Practice

Vision for Neuroscience Nursing:

My personal vision for each nurse is to be a patient advocate and collectively engage in activities promoting nurse-driven protocols that influence outcomes. That nurses also envision themselves as leaders with the potential to change healthcare delivery in the field of neuroscience and are innovative in the delivery of patient care. In addition, that nurses have the desire to translate current research into science-based patient care as well as be inquisitive to ask “why” and answer questions through further research.

Neuroscience nurses must position themselves to take leadership roles in healthcare organizations and political arenas that influence the field of neuroscience nursing. It is my vision that all neuroscience nurses believe they have the power to advance the field of nursing whether working at the bedside, in administration, or as an advanced practice nurse. We must strive to achieve patient-centered care and petition to practice at our highest educational level. I believe through participation in my professional organizations that I have become confident in leadership roles and have shown my desire to mentor other nurses to believe they can make a difference and it is my hope they achieve personal satisfaction in their career.

Vision for the Association:

As a member of the Board of Directors, I found my personal vision mirrors the association’s mission that is to connect, educate and inspire nurses to become leaders. AANN members now can connect with other experts to achieve personal goals through the mentorship program. The association encourages lifelong learning and networking while attending annual educational meetings. Technology provides a learning module platform for self-paced educational opportunities and connects members through our special focus groups. The association encourages members to become active in leadership roles and participate in committees that contribute to promoting excellence in patient care.

As president-elect, I would be committed to the growth of the organization. I desire AANN be thought of as the leading authority in neuroscience nursing and deemed indispensable to our members. My vision of the association is to provide a culture for members to become leaders and change agents in academia, other professional organizations and within an industry to positively affect patient outcomes, enhance our body of knowledge, and influence the future of neuroscience nursing.

Accomplishments in Professional Positions:

Over the past 35 years, my roles include being a neuroscience educator and a stroke program coordinator for 20 years. I learned early that knowledge prompted me to ask questions and the desire to make changes. Although, initially I approached making a change as “I would get it done and I would make it better”, but soon found no changes happen with only member. I learned to respect that each team member's role was crucial in making changes. The importance of learning to work in teams is one of my greatest accomplishments. That has been beneficial in all aspects of my professional career. As a team, we developed a stroke program that earned respect as one of the top programs in the nation.

As a nationally recognized stroke program coordinator, I had the opportunity to lead a nursing task force in organizing an annual stroke conference. Serving on national committees that defined stroke care systems and stroke patient care were rewarding and challenging. I learned my joy and satisfaction came when I mentored others. I realize the importance of respecting, listening and encouraging my colleagues to step out of their comfort zone and to become involved in their practice or professional organization. It is an honor to see peers grow in their profession and become involved in advancing neuroscience nursing. I believe it is then that nurses will and can experience personal career satisfaction.

Accomplishments in Leadership Positions:

In 1993, I attended a national stroke meeting and recognized few nurses attended it. I found there were no resources for nurses on stroke management. I sent a letter to ASA inquiring how nurses could network and discuss stroke center development, which changed my career exponentially. I co-chaired the Nursing Task force that organized a nursing stroke conference that grew to over 800 in attendance yearly and published two nursing stroke guidelines. A very proud moment was winning the Stroke Nursing Article of the year, the Stroke Clinical Excellence Award and winning the AHA Meritorious Award for a team that had influenced stroke nursing the most.

As Director at Large, I participated in writing the Full Report of AANN Progress on the IOM Report, served on the mentorship development committee and on the task force that wrote the project charter for the newly formed clinical science committee. These projects exemplify my beliefs and if elected as President-elect I will continue to support:

  • Practicing at the full extent of our education and training
  • Continue supporting mentorship program and encourage nurse’s involvement in leadership roles
  • Encourage life-long learning and encourage identifying concrete measures to evaluate value and impact on patient outcomes
  • Support a culture that all nurses are proud to call their organization
  • Encourage standardizing and defining our nursing practice and encourage a culture of inquiry to broaden neuroscience evidence-based knowledge

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