Rivier University to recognize nurse leader, educator and safety advocate at 80th Commencement on May 9

Karen Daley, Ph.D., RN, FAAN
Karen A. Daley, Ph.D., RN, FAAN will address graduates of the Class of 2015 at Rivier University’s Commencement ceremony on May 9, 2015 and will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters in recognition of her eminent career as a nurse, public health advocate, and educator.

Serving as a front-line caregiver and senior staff nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston for 25 years and advancing to leadership roles, including President of the American Nurses Association in which she represented the interest of the nation’s 3.1 million registered nurses, Dr. Daley has had a far-reaching impact on the nursing profession and the field of healthcare. She has been recognized with numerous awards for her outstanding leadership and excellence in practice. In addition to many notable honors, she was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” in 2011 and one of the “Top 25 Women in Healthcare” in 2013 by Modern Healthcare.

After a tragic accident in which she was co-infected with HIV and Hepatitis C by a workplace needlestick injury, Dr. Daley’s career transitioned from practice to prevention. She is a vocal, nationally recognized advocate for legislation mandating the use of safer needle devices in healthcare practice settings and has travelled throughout the world raising awareness among nurses, legislators, and healthcare administrators on the importance of needlestick prevention.

Testifying before the United States House of Representatives’ subcommittees on multiple occasions, she has advocated for stronger safeguards in healthcare practice and increased funding for nursing education and public health programs. She was instrumental in the passage of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, which mandates the use of safer needle devices in medical practice settings. She witnessed the signing ceremony in the Oval Office with President Clinton, turning this important legislation into law.

Dr. Daley serves as a living example of Rivier’s mission of ‘transforming hearts and minds to serve the world’; a mission that has been sharpened by significant initiatives in nursing, public health and global engagement. The University is a leader in the education of nursing and healthcare professionals, offering degrees from the associate to the doctoral level. Rivier has prepared the largest number of nurses in the state of New Hampshire and recently launched bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public health. In 2014, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded Rivier one of only 15 national Nursing Workforce Diversity grants throughout the country.

“Dr. Daley’s distinguished academic and nursing career, leadership roles, and tremendous advocacy efforts to improve the safety of the healthcare profession will serve as an inspiration to our students,” says Sister Paula Maria Buley, IHM, President. “Her life’s work and perseverance through chronic illness exemplifies the Rivier spirit of transformation.”

Prior to her election to the chief leadership role of the American Nurses Association, Dr. Daley served as President of the Massachusetts Association of Registered Nurses and the Massachusetts Center for Nursing, both in her home state. She is a skilled nurse researcher, published author and gifted speaker. She has served on the boards of ANA, the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and the ANA-PAC and is a current member of the Board of Trustees of the American Nurses Foundation and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Addressing professional groups on best practices through innovative collaboration, Dr. Daley continues her education and activism efforts. She stresses the importance of a team-based approach to patient-centered healthcare, noting the unique qualifications of nurses to lead care coordination teams. This collaboration results in improved patient outcomes, satisfaction, and safety, and reduces healthcare costs.

Dr. Daley was designated a ‘Living Legend’ by the Massachusetts Association of Registered Nurses for her significant contributions to the nursing profession, and she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Nursing for her advocacy work.

She holds a Ph.D. and a master of science degree in nursing from Boston College and a master’s in public health from Boston University School of Public Health. At the undergraduate level, she earned a bachelor’s in nursing from Curry College and a nursing diploma from the Catherine Labouré School of Nursing.

Rivier University’s Commencement ceremony will take place at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts on Saturday, May 9 at 10 a.m.