The College of Nursing last December bade farewell while celebrating two outstanding women whose careers focused on caring for children: Roxie Foster, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Lynn Gilbert, PhD, RN, PNP-C, FAAN. Together these nurse researchers’ careers at the college spanned 40 years.
Foster, PhD program director and chair of the Division of Adult and Senior Health, distinguished herself in the study of pain management in pediatrics, having conducted research to improve pediatric nurses’ pain management practices. She codirected the interdisciplinary Pain Consultation Services at The Children's Hospital from its inception in 1991 through 2010.
Foster influenced national pain management policy through her work with the American Pain Society and the American Society of Pain Management Nurses. Her role as vice president for Nursing Research and Education at The Children’s Hospital provided Foster the opportunity to explore methods for integration of caring theory and actualization of evidence-based practice.
She was first author or co-author in more than 30 publications on children’s pain and has been an investigator on 19 pediatric pain research studies.
Foster continues to serve as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, an international journal devoted to the application of best evidence. During her tenure as its editor, Foster has mentored scores of authors in disseminating science to guide nursing practice.
Among many honors, Foster in 2007 received the college’s Elisabeth H. Boeker Award for Faculty Excellence in Research and in 2001 the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Foster’s career in nursing education began in the late 1960s at Purdue University, where she was a nursing instructor; later she held staff nurse positions in acute care settings in Arizona, Indiana, Colorado and Illinois, followed by teaching positions at colleges in Denver. She joined the CU College of Nursing faculty in 1990.
Another expert in pediatric nursing care and science who will be missed, Lynn Gilbert also retired in December. Gilbert, associate professor emerita, taught in the college’s nationally ranked pediatric nurse practitioner program and practiced and precepted at faculty practice sites. Gilbert’s research interests included cardiovascular risks in children and lifelong health implications, and cross-cultural and international child health. Before coming to CU in 1994, Gilbert worked and taught in Africa; she then developed a pediatric primary care component for a community health service for medically indigent families in Colorado. She was active on the steering committee for the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners’ child overweight initiative (Healthy Eating and Activity Together) and as a child advocate at the local, state and international level.
Gilbert has been interested in child health around the world since her days at Stanford University, which she attended on a scholarship to study international relations and chose nursing as an additional major for bettering child well-being in the world. Since finishing her dual-degree in nursing and international relations in 1965, Gilbert worked in child health in Africa, South America and Haiti, teaching pediatric primary care to nurse practitioner students and providing care to indigent families in Colorado.
Gilbert received her master’s degree in maternal-child and public health from University of California San Francisco, her post-MS PNP certificate from CU in 1979 and a PhD in behavioral pediatrics and community child health from Union Graduate School in 1994. She chaired the early childhood section of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners’ (NAPNAP) obesity prevention guidelines received NAPNAP’s Henry Silver Memorial award in 1997.
Gilbert’s research focus at the College of Nursing was pediatric cardiovascular risk reduction, which was supported by the National Institute for Nursing Research, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Gilbert and her son Kevin developed a bilingual web-based community surveillance and clinical screening tool, HeartSmartKids, used with more than 60,000 children in the past five years. Childhood chances, choice and challenges provide a foundation for lifespan health and disparities—a theme she reiterated to her advanced-practice nursing students, in her clinic and community service and in her research.