Disch—professor ad honorem at the University of Minnesota (UM) School of Nursing, Minneapolis, USA—received the award for exceptional contributions throughout her 45-year career that enhanced the care of critically ill patients and their families and furthered AACN’s mission and vision. The presentation occurred during the 2015 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition
in San Diego, 18-21 May.
“Throughout her career, Joanne has distinguished herself in both the practice and education arenas, always advocating for person-centric care across the life span and across the continuum of care delivery,” says AACN national President Teri Lynn Kiss, MS, MSSW, RN, CNML, CMSRN. “We are honored that she has made AACN her professional home since the beginning of her influential career.”
A member of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), Disch recently received another honor. Her book Person and Family Centered Care,
published by STTI, was awarded first place in the Nursing Management/Leadership category of the 2014 AJN Book of the Year awards. Jane Barnsteiner and Mary K. Walton are co-authors of the book.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin (UW), Disch worked as a staff nurse at the UW Hospitals and Clinics before earning her MSN from the University of Alabama in Birmingham and her PhD from the University of Michigan.
She taught nursing at Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania universities before moving to Minnesota in 1991 to work as a chief nursing officer and hospital administrator. An adjunct faculty appointment at the UM School of Nursing led to a full-time position as professor in 2000.
At UM, she held the Katherine R. and C. Walton Lillehei Chair in Nursing Leadership and served as director for the school’s Katharine J. Densford International Center for Nursing Leadership until 2012. As professor ad honorem, she continues to work with aspiring and existing nurse leaders and advocate for nurse-designed models of care.
For the past 12 years, she has been a faculty leader for the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) initiative, which has educated more than 1,500 nursing faculty in safety science and in how to redesign nursing curricula to include this content.
Disch’s research has centered on nurse/physician relationships and quality and safety within healthcare organizations. She has published and presented nationally and internationally on issues related to quality, safety, and leadership in healthcare.
Disch has provided leadership to a number of national organizations, including a term as board member and chair of the National Board of Directors for AARP and as president of the American Academy of Nursing. Currently, she serves on the board of Aurora Health Care and is chair of the Chamberlain College of Nursing board of trustees.
During her distinguished career, Disch has received numerous awards, including the Dorothy Garrigus Adams Award for Excellence in Fostering Professional Standards from STTI and Outstanding Alumna awards from the University of Wisconsin School of Nursing. She was honored with the establishment of the Joanne Disch Excellence in Medical Nursing Practice Award from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.