Former School of Nursing Dean Eileen Breslin, PhD, RN, FAAN, will receive the Sister Bernadette Arminger award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Oct. 24 at its annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
The award honors nurse leaders who have made significant contributions to the AACN, its goals, nursing education and the advancement of the nursing profession.
A 28-year institutional AACN member, Breslin served as president, president-elect and treasurer of the organization.
“Dr. Eileen Breslin was instrumental in advancing AACN’s mission and priorities during her 12 years of service on the board of directors. She was on the board when AACN endorsed the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, initiated the clinical nurse leader role, re-envisioned our approach to leadership development, and realigned our priorities to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. AACN is proud to honor Dr. Breslin with the 2022 Sister Bernadette Armiger Award in recognition of her visionary leadership that will shape the future of nursing education and practice,” said AACN President and CEO Deborah Trautman, PhD, RN, FAAN.
Breslin served as the chief nursing administrative officer at Northern Arizona University, University of Massachusetts-Amherst and, for the past 14 years, at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio).
As dean of the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing, she instituted several new degree programs including accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as the Doctor of Nursing Practice.
Breslin established a nursing education pipeline to address the shortage of nurses in South Texas. She also developed a 7,300 square-foot Center for Simulation Innovation with funding from a government grant, private donation, alumni support and the Nursing Advisory Council, as well as collaboration with industry and clinical partners.
She also oversaw the development of Wellness 360, the School of Nursing’s clinical practice. The $6 million operation offers primary, pediatric and behavioral health care to the public and serves as the on-campus student and faculty clinics for UT Health San Antonio, the University of Texas at San Antonio and the Alamo Colleges. The clinic also is a Foster Care Center of Excellence and recently received a $4 million grant to expand foster care health services to 28 counties in Central Texas and the Hill Country.
One of her nominators, July Beal, DNSc, RN, FNAP, FAAN, said, “Always laser-focused on excellence, Dr. Breslin’s leadership has significantly influenced a generation of nurse clinicians, scholars and leaders who in turn continue to advance her commitment to excellence in education and clinical practice.”
School of Nursing Dean Sonya Hardin, PhD, MBA/MHA, APRN, FAAN, added, “Dr. Breslin has done a remarkable job at UT Health San Antonio. One of the things that attracted me to the School of Nursing is its emphasis on social justice. It will be a privilege to build on the excellent work Dr. Breslin has done here.”
Breslin has served on the boards of numerous national organizations such as the Veterans Affairs Federal Advisory Council, the National Advisory Council for Nursing Education and Practice, which advises Congress on nursing issues, and more recently, as the AACN co-chair for the National Task Force on Quality Nurse Practitioner Education.
She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, as well as a Distinguished Practitioner in Nursing of the National Academies of Practice.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to be a nurse. I am deeply appreciative of the many people who have worked with me to improve nursing education, leadership, research and practice, and I am indebted to the faculty and students who inspired me during my career,” Breslin said.
The award is named for Sister Bernadette Arminger, the third AACN president. Sister Bernadette was instrumental in forming the alliance between the AACN and the American Nurses Association, as well as the Interorganization Committee for Implementation of Nursing’s Role in Health Care Delivery, which brought together the presidents and executive directors of the AACN, ANA and National League for Nursing. She also established AACN’s connections with the Association of Academic Health Centers, the Association of American Medical Colleges and Coalition for Health Funding.