Loretta C. Ford, EdD, RN, PNP, FAAN, FAANP, is the co-developer of the nurse practitioner model and founding dean at the University of Rochester School of Nursing. An internationally renowned nursing leader whose vision and habit of questioning the status quo galvanized colleagues and continues to inspire those who have followed in her footsteps, Ford’s studies on the expanded scope of practice in public health nursing led to the creation of the first nurse practitioner (NP) training program at the University of Colorado in 1965. Her work revolutioned the delivery of health services and the role of nursing in clinical care. Today, there are more than 350 academic institutions offering nurse practitioner programs and more than 200,000 practicing NPs.
Working as a public health nurse in the early 1960s, Dr. Ford discovered that, because of a shortage of primary care physicians in the community, health care for children and families was severely lacking. In 1965, she partnered with Henry K. Silver, a pediatrician at the University of Colorado Medical Center, to create and implement the first pediatric nurse practitioner model and training program. The program combined clinical care and research to teach nurses to factor in the social, psychological, environmental and economic situations of patients when developing care plans.
In 1972, Ford was recruited to serve as the founding dean of the independent School of Nursing at the University of Rochester, where she developed and impemented the unification model of nursing, through which clinical practice, education and research were combined to provide nurses with a more holistic education.
Dr. Ford’s work has had a significant influence on nursing education and the scope of practice in the U.S. She has written more than 100 publications, earned six honorary doctorates, and has received numerous awards, including the Elizabeth Blackwell Award from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties. She was named a Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing and has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.