Nurse Practitioners and Advocates to Be Honored at National AANP Conference

APRIL 24, 2016 – Nurse practitioners and nurse practitioner advocates, recipients of the prestigious American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) 2016 State Award for Excellence, will be honored at an awards ceremony and reception during the AANP 2016 National Conference June 21-26, 2016, in San Antonio, TX.  Erich Widemark of Peoria, Arizona will be among the recipients honored.

The State Award for Nurse Practitioner Excellence, founded in 1991, recognizes a nurse practitioner (NP) in a state who demonstrates excellence in practice.  In 1993, the State Award for Nurse Practitioner Advocate was added to recognize the efforts of individuals who have made a significant contribution toward increasing awareness and acceptance of NPs.

Erich Widemark started the Coalition of Arizona Nurses in Advanced Practice (CAZNAP) in April of 2000.  This virtual online community of practice listserv has been a vital communications medium for Arizona Nurse Practitioners across the state.  With over 60,000 messages and almost 2000 members, the CAZNAP listserv continues to assist Nurse Practitioners across the state with employment opportunities, patient referrals, clinical and professional discussions, advocacy, and policy news.  Members have been able to connect with friends and colleagues, find preceptors, APRN and DNP programs, and attend continuing education opportunities.  Erich Widemark also created and continues to update the website which includes the latest news pertaining to Arizona Nurse Practitioners.  Recently added is an APRN Memorial page recognizing those Advanced Practice Nurses that came before us, and who will always be important for us to recognize as the profession advances.


The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties.  It represents the interests of more than 205,000 NPs, including approximately 65,000 members and 200 organizations, providing a unified networking platform and advocating for their role as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered and personalized health care.  The organization provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other health care consumers.

For more information, visit  To locate a nurse practitioner in your area, visit


Summary Update

nursescare4azSummary Update
SB 1473 and HB 2236

The Advanced Practice Nurses of Arizona submitted a Sunrise Application to move Arizona towards the APRN consensus model.  After this was approved by a vote of 5 to 4, SB 1473 was introduced in the Senate.  When it was apparent that this was not going to get enough votes to pass out of the Senate Health Committee, a strike-all HB 2236 was introduced.  This bill changed some of the language by which Nurse Practitioners collaborate.  Unfortunately no one could come to a consensus on the language change that would satisfy legislators, physician professional organizations, and nursing professional organizations.  HB 2236 was withdrawn and nothing else will be moving forward for this legislative period.  Many thanks to all the Advanced Practice Nurses, Physicians, Patients, and other colleagues that supported our move towards a national model that would allow for compact state licensure at the APRN level.  Stay current and active with the Arizona Nurse Practitioner Council and the Arizona Nurses Association for future plans.


News Updates SB 1473

2EC549AE-9795-48F0-B497-2DE15A1D11B8The APRN leaders of Arizona are in the process of rewriting parts of the bill to better clarify concerns of our legislators. Here is a press release describing details of SB 1473!

On FEBRUARY 10th at 2PM one hundred plus people flooded the hearing room to promote their profession and defend patients’ rights to have access to affordable high quality health care.  After some intense discussion regarding the bill, it was clear that we would not have enough votes to make it out of committee.  The vote was held, but testimony was allowed for both sides.  We now have an opportunity to make additional changes to the bill to satisfy legislators.  You can view the hearing at  Stayed tuned as we move forward for Arizona healthcare.

On January 19 was Lobby Day.  This wasa special day specific to support Advanced Practice.  Hundreds of APRNs showed up to meet with legislators and discuss how important modernizing legislation for APRNs really is.  Many thanks to all those who attended.

On December 7, 2015 at 2:30pm after 5 1/2 hours of testimony, our Sunrise Application to allow us the ability to introduce legislation passed by a vote of 5 for to 4 against.  Thank you to those who helped both in the background, and to those who stood in front of a somewhat hostile board and Medical Association representatives standing up for the quality of Advanced Practice care and outcomes.


Evans Gay

GayEvansGay Evans, FNP died on December 14, 2012 at the age of 74.  Gay’s interest in health education goes back to the early years after she graduated from the Oklahoma Baptist University School of Nursing in 1959. Working as a public health nurse with migrant workers in Bellglade, Florida, instilled in her the need for and value of teaching others how to take care of their own health and the health of their family. Her desire to magnify what she could do as one individual led her to enroll at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health where she received her Master of Science Degree in 1965. After graduation she moved to California where she taught nursing students at the University of San Francisco. In 1975, Gay earned her Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) certification at the University of Arizona College of Nursing. In 1977, she began working as an FNP at the El Rio Neighborhood Health Center in Tucson. When El Rio began to serve the homeless, Gay asked to become one of the nurse practitioners providing direct patient care to this underserved population. She believed if the homeless, abused women living in shelters, and prisoners could learn positive health practices they could improve their own lives and teach their children important health skills. This would help give them a path out of poverty. With this goal at the center of her work, Gay Founded and Directed The Health Education Project (T.H.E. Project) at El Rio Health Center. Gay’s greatest strength was her ability to recruit and develop a dynamic corps of volunteers who created all of T.H.E. Projects’ curricula in concert with Gay, taught all of its classes, and assisted Gay with its administration. Over 90 health and life-skills courses were taught in the shelters and prisons of Tucson each month, with Gay as the only paid person involved. If you knew Gay, chances are she recruited you to help – finding and eliciting skills you never knew you had – whether it was in public health projects, successfully lobbying for the right of nurse practitioners in Arizona to prescribe medicine, or at St. Francis – her faith community for almost forty years – with its youth programs, Health Ministries Team, Stephens Ministries, and numerous other efforts. See more here.


Ronsman Kaye

ronsmankayeKaye Ronsman, ANP passed away on April 2, 2014 at the age of 65.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh (1975). She earned her degree as a geriatric nurse practitioner (1979) and her master’s degree in nursing (1980) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Throughout her career as a geriatric nurse practitioner, Kaye was a respected teacher and clinician. In both her professional and personal life, her love of the elderly was radiant. In 1979, Kaye met her life partner, Kathy Phelan. In 1981, the couple moved to Tucson where, as one of the first generation of master’s prepared geriatric nurse practitioners, Kaye was recruited as a lecturer at the University of Arizona College of Nursing (1981-1987). In 1988, eager to do more clinical work, Kaye joined the Geriatric Extended Care team (now the VA Community Living Center) at Tucson Veterans Hospital (1988 – 2003 and 2008 – 2013), where she had a rewarding and satisfying career. When a family caregiving opportunity took Kaye and Kathy back to Green Bay for a few years, Kaye joined the Nursing Assistant Faculty at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (2006 – 2008). Kaye spent the last months of her life in the loving care of her spouse, Kathy, and her cherished sister, Diane. More information found here.


Rahnema Patricia

mayberahnemaPatricia Rahnema, FNP passed away September 14, 2014 at the age of 60.   Patti started her long career in nursing as an RN at North York General Hospital, Ontario in 1973. During the next 40 years, she enthusiastically pursued her love of cardiovascular disease doing what she did best, diagnosing, treating, helping and mentoring others. She was the author of books in critical care, notably her publication titled “Critical Care Nursing” which continues to be used by many nursing colleges, and this combined with her published journal articles and her teaching and lecturing skills made her a recognized pioneer and leader in her field.   She was one of the first cardiac nurse practitioners in Arizona and was a member of the American College of Cardiology, ACCN, College of Nurses of Ontario and FCCS.  More information can be found here.


Ernst Kathleen

ernstKathleenKathleen Ernst, ANP, ACNP died suddenly on July 14, 2014, age 64.  Kathleen started as a Nurse Practitioner at Erie County Medical Center  in Buffalo, NY after graduating with her MSN at State University of New York at Buffalo in 1999. Moving to Phoenix in 2002, she worked at various practices including Geriatrix, Premiere Physicians, and Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.  She completed her ACNP in 9/2013 and worked on the medical management of hospitalized patients including trauma services, neurology, neuro-surgery, and orthopedics.  She precepted students.


Allison Robert

allison robert another picRobert W. Allison, ANP passed away on November 22, 2013 at the age of 63.  Bob dedicated his life to the healthcare profession as a Nurse and later in life as an Adult Nurse Practitioner. He has worked at many facilities in CA, Seattle, Florida and lastly in Arizona. His passion was education and he was working on a Doctor of Nursing Practice at the University of Southern Alabama at the time of his death. He earned his MSN at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL in 2002; a BSN from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL in 1998 and a Nursing degree from Cypress College in Southern CA in 1980.  The inscription on his grave reads, “I have fought the good fight.  I have finished my course.  I have kept my faith.”