Professor Mary Norton Receives Nursing Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Mary E. Norton, Associate Dean and Professor of Global Academic Initiatives at Felician College, recently was named the recipient of the Nell J. Watts Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Award by Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), Honor Society of Nursing.


The biennial award is given to a STTI member who has demonstrated exemplary achievements in nursing throughout his or her lifetime. Dr. Norton will be honored during the Founders Awards celebration and convention in November 2013 in Indianapolis.


“I’m honored but so surprised,” said Dr. Norton, a Kearny, N.J. native. “I know what some of the past recipients have done and I was shocked to be in the same category as them.”


Dr. Norton’s own accomplishments, however, speak volumes.


In 2010, Dr. Norton, a five-time Fulbright recipient, was propelled to the international stage when she was named Chair of the 63rd United Nations Annual Department of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organizations Conference. The three-day conference, held in Melbourne, Australia, focused on global health issues.


“Working with students on issues that affect us, not only here but globally, is so important and so rewarding,” said Dr. Norton, who does the majority of her teaching at the United Nations.


And her work in nursing education has indeed taken her across the globe. She lived in Karachi, Pakistan, for six months a year, over a period of three years, to complete her doctoral dissertation, which was titled "Educational and Social Innovations in an Islamic Republic: The Development of a School of Nursing."


She has served as an educational consultant, guiding the development of a school of nursing at the Aga Khan University of Health Sciences in Karachi and witnessed first-hand how cultural attitudes toward women and nursing hindered student recruitment, which could ultimately improve maternal child health care.


As an Assistant Professor at Catholic University of America, Dr. Norton taught in a collaborative project with the Imperial Medical Center of Iran. While in Tehran, in collaboration with the local United Nations office, she developed a community health experience for students, which provided an immunization program for rural villages outside the city.


In Amman, Jordan, with the support of a Fulbright award, Dr. Norton helped establish the first Master of Science in Nursing Program in the region. She remains a consultant for the Ph.D. Nursing Program at the University of Jordan.


Another Fulbright Award supported the production of a video titled, "Arab Voices Responding to Human Security and Dignity in the Middle East," which was screened at the United Nations.


“I believe that the work our students are doing and the experience they are gaining through Felician’s collaboration with the U.N. are something they will be able to take with them wherever they go,” said Dr. Norton.


Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing, was founded by Nell J. Watts, a visionary nurse leader at the University of Indiana.  The award is named in her honor.