Catherine Witt Receives National Nursing Leadership Award

Donnie VeaseyJanuary 03, 2013


Catherine Witt, an assistant professor in the Loretto Heights School of Nursing (LHSON) in Regis University’s Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions (RHCHP), has won the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) 2012 Leadership Award.

The award, which Witt received at the NANN national meeting in Palm Springs at the opening assembly, recognizes superior leadership skills and consistent excellence in practice. Witt was honored for her work as editor of the NANN Journal and as coordinator of the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program at Regis University.

“We are delighted with the national recognition for Cathy,” said Janet Houser, academic dean of RHCHP. “Our programs are focused on the transition from learner to leader, and so the demonstration of leadership skill among our faculty and students is an expectation. This award is well-deserved and we are immensely proud.”

“Winning the award was very meaningful to me,” said Witt, who has been primarily teaching in the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program, teaching some DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) nursing student and accelerated nursing students for the past 10-plus years – the past 2 ½ years as a full-time faculty member. “I have been involved in the NANN for over 25 years. I have seen many changes in neonatal nursing over the years as we are able to save smaller and sicker babies. NANN has undergone changes and upheavals as well. It has been exciting to be a part of that and to be recognized for being a leader in the organization for such a long time.”
Witt, who is also a past president of the NANN, notes that despite the award she has gained much more from NANN.

“I have met phenomenal nurses from all over the country who devote their careers to taking care of our tiniest patients,” she said. “I have learned about running a professional organization, publishing, and research. I had the opportunity to learn how to write a manuscript, how to be an editor, and to refine presentation skills through the association. I started by answering a request for committee members, never thinking it would lead to all the opportunities I have had.”
Witt has a passion for teaching and has great expectations for her students.
“I love teaching because you can make a difference not only in the lives of your students, but in the patients they will go on to take care of,” Witt explained. “I also believe that nursing students should be prepared to be leaders in nursing and in health care, and to view nursing as a profession, not just a job. I also think students learn best in a supportive environment from faculty who know what it is like to practice in the real world - which is why I love being at Regis.”

In her spare time – which is minimal these days as she is in the dissertation phase of her doctoral program in nursing education from the University of Northern Colorado – Witt likes to travel, read history and fiction, do needlepoint and is a children’s leaders in bible study fellowship. And she adds that she’s a Colorado Rockies baseball team fan.

She earned a master’s degree in neonatal nursing from the University of Colorado and a BSN from the University of Northern Colorado.

Carol Weber, dean and professor in LHSON, notes that in addition to the leadership award, LHSON received recognition for “creating an environment that fosters superior leadership skills in neonatal nursing practice.”