NEW YORK NURSE: September 2009
At this year’s Voting Body at Convention a resolution will be introduced to award Honorary Recognition to Nettie Birnbach. Honorary Recognition is the association’s highest honor and given to individuals who have “rendered distinguished service to the nursing profession.”
Birnbach, who holds a doctorate in nursing education and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, has had a distinguished career as a nurse researcher and educator. A public health nurse by specialty, her passion for the nursing profession and nursing history was shared with thousands of students over more than four decades. She is professor emerita at the State University of New York in Brooklyn.
While serving as president of NYSNA from 1991 to 1993, Birnbach oversaw the establishment of a peer assistance program for nurses, the formation of the NYSNA Political Action Committee, and approval of plans to build a new association headquarters in Latham, N.Y.
At the local level, Birnbach has been active in the Nurses Association of the Counties of Long Island (NYSNA District 14). During her term as president of the district, according to one colleague, she “guided significant organizational change to increase membership, focus on priorities and enhance the organization’s capacity to serve the profession and the public.”
Birnbach’s contributions on a national level include service on the American Nurses Association’s Council of Nurse Researchers, Hall of Fame Committee, and Convention Education Program Committee. She represented NYSNA as a member of the ANA House of Delegates from 1986 to 1999. As president of the American Association for the History of Nursing, Birnbach led highly successful efforts to increase membership and strengthen the organization’s operations and programs.
Birnbach’s contributions to nursing education are numerous and varied. She was a pioneer in curriculum development for baccalaureate and advanced degree programs in nursing and co-edited several books. Her publications and presentations reflect her varied professional interests and include practice-related research, historical research, health policy, organizational issues and clinical topics. Her audiences and readership extend from the local to the international arena and include public, interdisciplinary and nursing constituencies.
One colleague fondly remarks, “Nettie Birnbach, a Renaissance woman, has extended the profession’s boundaries and truly enhanced its services to society. She richly deserves NYSNA’s honorary recognition.”