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Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Sophia Rodgers

Photo: Toni BergClass of 1989 and 1992

Sophia Rodgers is a recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award from the UNM College of Nursing. Since graduating from nursing in 1980, Sophia has blazed trails for nursing.

She began the first inpatient case management/clinical nurse specialist program in New Mexico in 1989, and developed several innovative roles since, including the first Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) positions in trauma/surgical critical care and pulmonary critical care. In this role she became the first nurse practitioner in New Mexico to manage critically ill patients in the ICU and requested advance procedures, including the insertion of arterial and central catheters, intubations, and chest tubes. This has inspired other institutions to create similar positions throughout New Mexico and the nation as well.

In 2001, Sophia participated in an ad hoc committee with the University of New Mexico College of nursing to develop the first ACNP post graduate program. Since then, she has mentored numerous nurse practitioners in this role.

Sophia continually strives for excellence in patient care, receiving numerous awards for her efforts. These include the New Mexico Excellent Nurse Practitioner of the Year Award from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners; the Clinical Excellence Award for Excellent Nurse Practitioner of the Year from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses; and the New Mexico Nurse Excellence Award for Advanced Practice.  She was the first New Mexico nurse practitioner to be inducted as a fellow into the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and in 2008 became the second New Mexico clinician and one of only 50 nurses internationally to be inducted as a fellow into the American College of Critical Care Medicine.

Sophia conducted the first Society of Critical Care Medicine Fundamental Critical Care Support (FCCS) course in New Mexico, which was offered to all hospitals within the state. It achieved national recognition and the course has been attended by clinicians from over 15 states. Moreover, she has assisted hospitals in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Kentucky and Alaska in setting up their first course. She has taught the FCCS course at various nursing conferences as well as the annual Society of Critical Care Medicine Congress and has also mentored numerous nurses and physicians to become instructors.

Sophia is also a well sought after national and international speaker. Her topics include the ACNP role, various acute and critical care topics. She has presented at numerous local, regional, national and international conferences.

Through her participation in several organizations, including the Society of Critical Care Medicine, American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Society of Hospital Medicine, Sophia’s career has been dedicated to developing the practice and role of the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) on the national level, and we are proud to count her among one of our alums.

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