Catherine J. Rick

Catherine RickCommencement May 22, 2011

Honorary Degree: Doctor of Science
Conferred on Catherine J. Rick

Candidate presented by: Dr. Margaret Faut Callahan, Dean, College of Nursing

Catherine Rick, the Chief Nursing Officer for the Veteran’s Administration, serves as the voice of more than 75,000 nurses in the largest integrated health care system in the world. Her pioneering efforts over the past decade are cited as a national model for the private sector, setting the stage for health care improvements for American society.

Ms. Rick created and implemented a comprehensive governance model that transformed the Veterans Health System. This model has ensured that the care provided to our nation’s veterans is thorough, compassionate, and of the highest quality. This visionary, unique model of care, with all of its component parts and complexity, has changed the way healthcare is delivered to our veterans worldwide. The innovative changes include pioneering one of the first nurse-sensitive information systems, implementing new nursing roles in the service sector, and elevating nursing education standards. Her work created the structures for systems improvement, data-driven inquiry, and the ability for nurses to act at the point of care, concurrently capturing and spreading innovation throughout the entire VA system.

During the recent health reform debate, many of Ms. Rick’s innovations within the Veteran’s Administration were credited with bending the cost curve and achieving quality across a full continuum of care.

Ms. Rick has demonstrated her passion for patient safety and quality of patient care delivery by finding ways to improve patient care outcomes, including, but not limited to, the work of nursing. Her innovative approach to leadership and collaboration has led to the development of one of the most admired and comprehensive integrated health care systems in the world.

She has more than 35 years of experience in clinical, leadership, and executive health care roles. Ms. Rick is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Nursing at the Uniformed Services University. She has published on a wide range of topics, and is a frequent speaker on topics relating to advancing nursing practice, patient care delivery models, and leadership principles for nursing roles.

Ms. Rick received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Alverno College and her Master of Science in Nursing Administration from Marquette University. She has been honored by many nursing and health care organizations, including the 2004 Presidential Meritorious Rank Award; the 2004 Distinguished Alumna Award from Marquette; the 2005 McGovern Award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing; and the 2008 Outstanding Nurse Scholar by Sigma Theta Tau International, Delta Gamma Chapter. She is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and of the American Academy of Nursing.

Because of her unwavering commitment to our nation’s veterans, her compassion for all, and her visionary leadership in health care, Reverend President, I hereby recommend Catherine Rick for the Marquette University degree Doctor of Science, honoris causa.