Professor Ginette Ferszt of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Nursing was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing at the organization’s 2017 Transforming Health, Driving Policy Conference last week in Washington, D.C.
Ferszt was selected for her pioneering and significant contributions regarding the health needs and health care disparities facing incarcerated women, which began with facilitating groups in a correctional facility. “I felt compelled to respond to the health care needs of incarcerated women and the shocking continued use of shackling pregnant women during labor and delivery in many states across the country,” said Ferszt, who lives in Kingston, R.I.
Through sustained leadership, Ferszt participated in developing standards of care for pregnant women inmates in Rhode Island, influenced national position papers and legislative changes abolishing the use of shackles with pregnant women behind bars. Her research on national shackling practices, cited nationally and internationally, has had a wide-ranging impact on the care of incarcerated pregnant women.
“These contributions reflect her unflagging commitment to improving the lives of others through nursing knowledge, leadership and influence; characteristics integral and advantageous to the work of the Academy,” said Barbara Wolfe, dean of the URI College of Nursing.
At URI, Ferszt teaches psychiatric mental health nursing and nursing research at the undergraduate level, as well as qualitative research at the graduate level.
Nursing leaders in education, management, practice and research are among 2,500 Fellows from 29 countries, all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This select group includes hospital and association executives, lawmakers, educators, university presidents, researchers, consultants and entrepreneurs.
Applicants are reviewed by a panel composed of elected and appointed fellows, and selection is based, in part, on the extent the nominee’s nursing career has influenced health policies and the health and well-being of all, according to the Academy. While this peer-nominated honor recognizes contributions to nursing that have lasting impact, Academy Fellowship also comes with a responsibility to contribute to the organization, the profession and the health and health care of the nation.