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Leaving A Nursing Legacy 65 over 65 - Diane Avery

Pearl of Wisdom
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

About the Honoree
It is an honor and a privilege to care for our veterans - something Professor Diane Avery feels strongly about. She currently works at the Veterans Administration (VA)-CT Healthcare System in the hospital education service. She is a trainer of all things nursing and Veteran focused care. She is dedicated to the growth and development of nursing students and staff within the organization.

Diane's determination to become a nurse began when she was just five years old. She was a natural caregiver looking after anyone and everyone in her family and community. By the time she was a pre-teen, she began babysitting for a nurse's children. Each day she would watch the woman go off to work and be able to hear about the stories of nursing and care that her neighbor provided. This experience further solidified her desire to care for people and she realized her greatest desire and goal was to become a nurse.

Diane began her nursing education at Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing in 1971. Throughout her schooling she took a job as a nursing assistant in the float pool at Bridgeport Hospital, utilizing her nursing colleagues to study and help understand the curriculum that she was pursuing. She received her diploma in Nursing from Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing in 1974; and accepted her first nursing position on a surgical floor which further solidified her love of nursing. Diane excelled in her career and, within two years, was named the Assistant Nurse Manager of the Neuroscience floor. Diane understood the importance and gift of leadership that she had and transferred to practice as the Assistant Nurse Manager of the Orthopedic Unit. This led to her favorite position, as she was then named the Nurse Manager of the unit. After eight years, Diane was mentored and encouraged to return to school for her Bachelor's Degree.

In 1990, Diane graduated from Sacred Heart University with her BSN, and accepted the role of the Assistant Director of Surgical Services. Her main responsibility was to educate the nurse managers on leadership principles, human resource management, and budget. After a short period of time, the nurse managers gained independence in their leadership abilities and Diane was transitioned to the role of Program Director for Clinical Information Services. Diane was tasked with researching and identifying an electronic medical record that would meet the needs of nursing and business departments alike. This was a challenging role and to add to the challenge, Diane enrolled in a Master's program for Health Systems Management, which she completed in 2000.

As only she could, Diane accepted another new position, and took on the role of Nursing Director for Maternal Child Health, Psychiatry, and Rehab. Being that she knew she was to lead a department that she had minimal experience with, Diane signed up to work for three months as a labor and delivery nurse; teaching staff the importance of servant leadership. She continued to serve in several leadership roles including Director of Nursing for Critical Care and Medical Services. Diane followed her passion for education and in 2006 joined the Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing as a clinical instructor and faculty member. She served in this capacity for six years. In the fall of 2012, Diane became an employee of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System as a clinical instructor for the VA Nursing Academy, a partnership program with Fairfield University. She is a passionate educator and mentor for staff throughout the organization and takes pride in serving the Veteran population. In 2015, Diane was recognized as a Nightingale Award recipient due to her contributions to the nursing profession.

Diane received the Fairfield University President's Innovation award in 2017 as a result of her commitment to ensuring that all students receive the necessary level of knowledge to care for Veterans. Diane developed a Certificate program aimed at educating students on Veterans issues. She is a skilled healthcare professional with over 40 years of diversified experience in administration, management, education and clinical nursing. She has a proven ability to direct projects, lead staff and work with individuals in a variety of situations including business, clinical and academic settings. Her diverse background from nursing assistant to nursing director to educator allow her to grow and develop staff throughout the organization and make her an invaluable member of the hospital education team at VA Connecticut.

Congratulations Diane, we applaud all that you do for nursing in Connecticut!


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