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M. D. Anderson Chief Nursing Officer Named AAN Fellow

Summers' Career of Achievement, Vision and Advocacy Recognized with Top Nursing Honor

M. D. Anderson News Release 11/09/09

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center's top nursing executive has been recognized with nursing's highest honor.

Barbara Summers, Ph.D., RN, vice president and chief nursing officer at M. D. Anderson, was inducted this past weekend into the American Academy of Nursing as a fellow. The formal ceremony welcomed 98 new inductees from across the United States.

The Academy comprises more than 1,500 nursing leaders in education, management, practice and research, including university presidents, chancellors and deans; hospital chief executives and nursing leaders; researchers and entrepreneurs; and practicing nurses.

Summers is one of two AAN fellows at M. D. Anderson. Geri LoBiondo-Wood, Ph.D., RN, director of nursing research and evidence-based practice, planning and development, was inducted in 2001 when she was an associate professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Nursing.

"It's an overwhelming honor to be selected as a fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Nursing and to have an opportunity to advance the nursing profession on a national level," said Summers, who comes from a family of nurses. "I have the great joy of leading and working alongside the greatest oncology nurses in the world at M. D. Anderson, and I share this recognition with each of them. I am especially proud to apply the perspective of my specialty to the meaningful work of the Academy."

As the top nurse at M. D. Anderson since 2004, Summers leads and mentors a dynamic team of more than 2,800 registered nurses and 55 licensed vocational nurses, one of the nation's largest contingents of clinical nurses in a highly-specialized, high acuity setting. Approximately 15 percent of M. D. Anderson's total employment is its nursing staff. About 550 nurses have master's degrees and 20 have doctoral degrees.

Under Summers, M. D. Anderson renewed its Magnet Recognition for Nursing Excellence status in 2006, a designation first earned in 2001. In addition, she oversees a wide-ranging strategic plan that maximizes the skill, passion and dedication of the nursing team not only to enhance patient care, but also to improve career satisfaction and development. Summers introduced tuition assistance, residency and fellowship programs that allow all levels of nurses to pursue additional studies, and established a formal governance structure to empower nurses to develop and debate solutions affecting their practice. She also established and is chairing a new academic department within the Division of Nursing that will nurture a growing research program and a corps of doctorally-prepared nurses who want to pursue teaching in addition to patient care.

"The gifted nurses at M. D. Anderson are the secret weapons in the war we are winning against cancer," said Summers. "They are the critical thinkers, the caring partners and the constants in every patient's journey, and it is my privilege every day to lead and work on behalf of them."

Summers joined M. D. Anderson in 1997 as clinical administrative director for the hematology program, one of the institution's largest services. Prior to being named vice president and chief nursing officer, she was associate vice president for clinical programs and vice president for outpatient services.

Summers came to M. D. Anderson from the National Institutes of Health, where she was manager of critical care services and a nurse specialist in ambulatory cancer care and research. Before her tenure with NIH, she worked for 13 years as a clinical nurse specialist in the cancer center and as director of medical and psychiatric nursing for Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va. She also has directed nurses at Greater Southeast Community Hospital in Washington, D.C.; The Pain Clinic of Southeast Washington, D.C.; and Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton.

Summers earned her Ph.D. in health care administration, master's degree in oncology nursing and bachelor's degree in nursing from George Mason University. She held a faculty appointment at her alma mater, as well as at Georgetown University and at Catholic University of America.

She is a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow and has been honored with the Texas Nurses' Associate Award for Outstanding Performance in Nursing and the Health Director's Award from the National Institutes of Health. She serves on the board of the Oncology Nursing Society. 11/09/09

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center