Dr. Linda Young, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, is among the national nursing leaders selected to be part of the 2020 Class of Fellows of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN).Young — one of just 230 inductees in 2020 — will be recognized for her significant contributions to health and health care during the Academy’s annual policy conference, taking place virtually Oct. 29-31.The newest class of AAN Fellows represents 38 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territory of Guam and 13 countries.Young is one of only two inductees from the state of Wisconsin.The AAN Fellowship is awarded to health care leaders “based on their contributions to advance the public’s health.”

In a statement announcing the inductees, FAAN president Eileen Sullivan said their work across many fields of expertise “exemplifies the power of nursing knowledge in creating meaningful change.” Sullivan also stated the inductees all have worked to fulfill the organization’s mission to “improve health equity through nursing leadership, innovation and science.”

Photo of Dean Linda YoungYoung compares the Fellowship honor to “Hall of Fame” status in professional sports.

“There are 3.8 million nurses in the United States, and only 2,700 are Fellows in the American Academy of Nursing,” Young said. “I am deeply honored to now have the initials FAAN after my name.”

Young said she’s proud to be an inductee in 2020, an unprecedented time in the field of public health.

“As a Fellow in the AAN, I will work with other national nurse leaders who are distinguished in policy, practice, research and administration to move forward our global health,” Young said. “My international work, in terms of experiences, partnerships and memberships in world health organizations like the International Family Nursing Association, have enabled me to make an impact on that global level.”

Young’s international efforts are part of her 40-year career in nurse education.

Highlights from her four decades of working in nursing education include:

  • Developing a 10-year health care partnership with communities in El Salvador, involving students in the partnership as volunteers or clinical immersion experiences.
  • Securing a $3.2 million incentive grant, Nurses for Wisconsin, that involved UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee and UW Oshkosh nursing programs. The funds resulted in 51 “Nurses 4 WI” awardees receiving funding to obtain their terminal degrees in nursing, and provided loan forgiveness for new faculty hires. Recipients in both initiatives are expected to teach for at least three years in a Wisconsin nursing program.
  • Serving as president of ANEW (Administrators of Nursing Education programs in Wisconsin), a term that included taking the lead on the $10 million state budget ask to address the growing nurse faculty shortage in the state.
  • Serving as current chair of ANEW legislative committee.
  • Establishing UW-Eau Claire’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences as the college to oversee the Wisconsin Center for Nursing (WCN) Nursing Education and Nursing Faculty Workforce Survey analysis and report.
  • Leading Wisconsin’s nursing deans in preparing to discuss health and nursing education issues on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. twice a year.
  • Serving as a Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) site visitor for baccalaureate and graduate nursing program accreditation across the country.

UW-Eau Claire Provost Patricia Kleine said she is pleased to see Young honored in a manner equal to her contributions to the UW-Eau Claire campus, the Eau Claire community and the nursing profession.

“Dean Young has worked tirelessly at raising the awareness of the imminent nursing shortage in health care and the challenges facing academic preparation programs in recruiting and maintaining nursing faculty at both the state and national levels,” Kleine said. “As a dean, she is committed to raising the profile of the nursing profession, asserting the involvement of the nursing college in campus-wide initiatives, and maintaining the high standards set for students enrolled in the college.

“Dean Young is always ready to lead when needed. For example, she used her personal time to help staff a call center as the COVID-19 crisis began to rapidly spread in the Eau Claire area. The American Academy of Nursing has truly recognized one of its strongest advocates when honoring Dean Young with this fellowship.”

Fellow FAAN member and frequent state policy collaborator Barbara Nichols said she is proud to welcome Young to the elite group of nursing education leaders.

“Dr. Young serves as vice president of the Wisconsin Center for Nursing, where her exceptional skills as an innovative educator and leader impact all aspects of nursing education while advancing excellence in care,” said Nichols, executive director of the Wisconsin Center for Nursing in Milwaukee. “I’m personally and professionally proud to welcome her as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.”

While she is proud to have her contributions recognized, Young said there still is much she hopes to accomplish. Among her goals is growing nursing programs within her college so it can help address the nurse shortage.

“Over the next five years, I would love to see our college expand in the local community, the Chippewa Valley region and beyond,” Young said. ” We need more nurses at the baccalaureate and graduate level. We are the answer to that, so my hope is that more resources will be invested in us so we can expand to meet the needs in our society.”