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Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Terri Fortner

Photo: Terri FortnerClass of 1991

Terri Fortner is a recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award from the UNM College of Nursing.  She is currently an Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in Farmington, NM and chair of the board of the New Mexico Board of Nursing.

As a strong advocate for the advancement of nursing, Terri encouraged nurses to continue their education and supports their research efforts. She also encourages nursing education programs and other nursing organizations to develop innovative efforts to support the recruitment, retention, career and educational opportunities for current and prospective nurses.

Terri has been involved with her community in Farmington since her graduation from Farmington High School in 1979.  She earned a MSN and credentialed as an Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in 2009. In 2012, she began her own clinic, Across the Mind Mental Health Services. In addition to this, she has been  able to devote an incredible amount of time to not only her volunteer work with the New Mexico Board of Nursing, but Leadership San Juan Curriculum, New Mexico School Nurses’ Association, the American Psychiatric Nurses’ Association, the New Mexico Nurse Practitioner Council Region 5, and Leadership New Mexico.

Terri was appointed to the New Mexico Board of Nursing in 2007 and guided the office through many difficult transitions during her tenure. In March 2009, the Executive Director of the Board of Nursing resigned abruptly, and was followed by the Board Chair and Vice Chair.  This left Terri as the only officer of the Board of Nursing. In this capacity, Ms. Fortner served unofficially as the Chair of the board as well as Executive Director until an interim director could be appointed. Her responsibilities changed dramatically as she became instrumental in the day-to-day operations of the office.

In 2010, a new Executive Director was hired, but once again they abruptly vacated the position, leaving Terri, Chair of the Board, in charge of the office and operations until another Interim Executive Director could be appointed. It was at Terri’s encouragement that the Interim Executive Director applied for the position and was hired by the board members and appointed by the Governor.

Without Terri’s service to the Board of Nursing, there was a significant possibility that all Board processes would cease, significantly impacting nurses across the state as well as healthcare to its citizens. For a voluntary appointment to a Board, Terri gave unselfishly of herself so that New Mexico nurses would continue to be licensed in a timely manner; a significant contribution in a time of a nursing shortage.

With the support and love of her husband and daughters and her faith, Ms. Fortner has given unselfishly of herself so that nurses and the health care community in New Mexico continue to be provided with the best healthcare in the state. 

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