Tribute to Anne Thomas

By Julie A. Marfell and Sheila D. Melander | 08/22/2019

Anne Thomas held leadership positions in academia and nursing organizations and mentored and supported nurses throughout her career.

Anne ThomasWith great sadness, we share the passing of Anne Thomas, PhD, ANP-BC, GNP, FAANP, associate dean for academic affairs at Michigan State University College of Nursing, on 26 July 2019.

A leader in advanced practice nursing education, she was an undeniably captivating leader who frequently reminded all of us that we needed evidence to support our work. She was an adult/gerontological nurse practitioner for 30 years and worked in a variety of clinical settings.

An active member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma), Thomas was president of Lambda Sigma Chapter from 1998 to 2000. She supported many nurses during  her career and served as a Mentor and Faculty Advisor for Sigma’s Emerging Educational Administrator Institute from 2016 to 2019. She had a gift for connecting with people, and her mentoring style made everyone feel good about what they were doing. She had the ability to see strengths within each faculty member and provided the support needed to grow these abilities, which resulted in great successes for those she worked with and mentored.

Anne Thomas, Lynn Schmidt, Rita D'AoustThomas held academic leadership positions at several universities and was director of nursing research for the National Cancer Institute Medical Oncology Research Clinical Unit from 2001 to 2003 and director of the National Institute for Nursing Research Health Promotion Laboratory from 1999 to 2000.

She gave tirelessly of her time and leadership expertise to improve nursing through her service for several nursing organizations. Thomas was well known for her work with the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) as president (2016–18) and member of the board of directors (2008–12). She led the redevelopment of the Population-Focused Nurse Practitioner Competencies and the Nurse Practitioner Core Competencies for NONPF. Her work with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Common Competency Work Group focused on doctoral level competencies across all four APRN roles. She was also a member of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Anne Thomas was a true friend and a great lover of animals. She rescued dogs and cats that needed love and some nursing. Her friends would say that she was always there with a smile, a good story, and support when they needed it most. She has touched the lives of many and has left a profound impact on advanced practice nursing. She will be missed by many and leaves not only a legacy but a solid foundation for others to build upon. RNL

Julie A. Marfell, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP, is associate professor at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing.

Sheila D. Melander, PhD, APRN-BC, FCCM, FAANP, FAAN, is professor and associate dean of MSN and DNP faculty affairs and practice at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing.

Michigan State University tribute

Faculty Advisor diary by Anne Thomas, published 1 November 2018 in Reflections on Nursing Leadership.

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