Dr. Kydd is Senior Lecturer, School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery, University of the West of Scotland, Hamilton Campus, Hamilton, Scotland.
The author discloses that she has no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity, including research support.
Address correspondence to Angela Kydd, PhD, MSc, RGN, RMN, PGCE, Senior Lecturer, School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery, University of the West of Scotland, Hamilton Campus, Almada Building, Hamilton, Scotland ML3 OJB; e-mail: Angela.Kydd@uws.ac.uk.
Dr. Theris Touhy is currently a Professor of Nursing in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Terri, as she likes to be known, has made a significant contribution to gerontological nursing and remains grounded in the essence of good gerontological nursing—caring. She speaks with great passion about the privilege of being a gerontological nurse, and her presentations and articles have been a source of inspiration to many.
Terri has had a long and varied career as a faculty member and a clinical nurse specialist in long-term care. When I informed Terri that I had volunteered to write a spotlight on her for the Journal of Gerontological Nursing, as I admire her and her work, she was genuinely surprised, shocked, and quite dismissive of her skills. She told me, “I am a pretty good teacher, have done some research, and I wrote and helped out on a few books,” yet when I started looking into more of her work, I soon discovered that this woman is one of few people who excels in teaching, researching, and writing on gerontological nursing.
Terri’s love of teaching has been rewarded with many prestigious awards and nominations over the years. She has twice been awarded the College of Nursing’s Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award in 1998 and 2002 and was nominated for this award in 2001 and 2007. In 2001, Terri received the FAU Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and in 2003 she was honored with the Geriatric Faculty Award from the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing. Her teaching was recognized previously in 1999 with the Inaugural Award from Virginia Commonwealth University and the Templeton Foundation for the development of a course in spirituality in nursing.
Terri served as the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the College of Nursing and was active in the enhancement of the curriculum and development of new programs reflective of the philosophy and conceptual framework of caring. She has presented and published on teaching methods reflective of the College’s unique approach to caring-based education in nursing.
Terri teaches at all levels of the program of study and is most proud of her work in developing programs to enhance the knowledge of students in gerontological nursing; in fact, she and a colleague developed an online interdisciplinary gerontology certificate program at the university. Under the leadership of Dr. Ruth Tappen, Terri worked with a faculty team in the development of the blended-role gerontological nursing master’s program and the ethnogeriatric curricular additions to the program, as well as the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program with a focus in aging services and diversity. The master’s and doctoral programs have received funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Nursing. Since the beginning of the nursing program at FAU, students have had rich exposure to lectures and nursing practice courses teaching care of older adults, and many undergraduate students have gone on to study gerontological nursing at the master’s level.
In September 2007, Terri was elected as a Distinguished Practitioner of the National Academies of Practice, Nursing, and in October 2008 she gained a Fulbright Senior Specialist grant to work at the University of the West of Scotland in public health and gerontology.
Terri’s program of research has focused on nurturing the wholeness of older adults through caring with a special emphasis on spirituality and aging and improving care for older people in nursing homes, those with memory loss, and those at the end of life. In recognition of her DNP research study examining hope, spirituality, and connectedness with others among institutionalized older adults (Touhy, 2001), she received both the Marie Haug Award for Excellence in Aging Research and the Cushing and Robb Award for Advanced Study in Nursing, both at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Terri and Dr. Tappen received funding from the U.S. Administration on Aging in 2001 to develop the caring-based gerontological nurse practitioner model for the Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center at FAU. The Center provides adult day health services, diagnosis, client and caregiver support services, and innovative programs such as art therapy and yoga. Terri served as Co-Director of Training for the Center, designing and conducting training programs for the staff and participating in interdisciplinary research on the effect of several therapeutic interventions on mood and memory in individuals with mild to moderate memory impairment; research on such interventions is ongoing at the Center. Terri was the principal investigator of two recently completed studies at the Center, one on using story theory to understand the health challenge of living with early-stage dementia, a qualitative study with individuals with early-stage dementia, their spouse, and the couple as a unit; and another titled “What Matters Most to Carers of People with Mild to Moderate Dementia as Evidence for Transforming Care” (Hain, Touhy, & Engström, 2010). Terri was also the principal investigator of a grant to implement a caring-based model of practice in a skilled nursing facility (Touhy, Strews, & Brown, 2005) and was the recipient of an American Nurses Foundation grant to study spirituality at the end of life in nursing homes (Touhy, Brown, & Smith, 2005). Currently, Terri is working with Dr. Tappen and Dr. Joseph Ouslander on a quality improvement project funded by the American Medical Directors Association and Pfizer to improve continence and urinary tract infection management in nursing homes.
Terri has worked with Drs. Priscilla Ebersole and Pat Hess on newer editions of their original books Toward Healthy Aging: Human Needs and Nursing Response (Ebersole, Hess, Touhy, Jett, & Luggen, 2008) and Gerontological Nursing and Healthy Aging (Ebersole, Hess, Touhy, & Jett, 2005; Touhy & Jett, 2009). Both books won the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year award (in 2008 and 2005, respectively) and are widely used in nursing programs nationally and internationally. Terri and Dr. Kathleen Jett are co-authors of the eighth edition of Toward Healthy Aging: Human Needs and Nursing Response, to be published in spring 2011. Terri also worked with Dr. Ebersole on Geriatric Nursing: Growth of a Specialty, which was published in 2006. This is the only book on the history of the specialty and was selected as a Doody’s Core Title and an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice magazine, a publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries.
I heard Terri speak more than 10 years ago at a Gerontological Society of America conference. She spoke of the privilege of caring for older people and the benefits of educating nurses in the art and science of nursing. I admired her work and the way she spoke and sought her out after the session. Since that day we have become friends. She came to work with me at the University of the West of Scotland in 2008 when she was awarded the Fulbright Senior Specialist grant. During her month in Scotland, Terri gave several lectures to students and tutors at three different universities. She is well known in the United Kingdom (UK), as she is a recommended author in our gerontological nursing programs; members of our palliative care team were also familiar with her work on spirituality and end-of-life care. Her month in Scotland was a busy one, traveling around to various venues, as many people had made requests to meet with her. Despite the cold weather, she was fun, perpetually optimistic, and extremely interested in the students and tutors she met, sharing ideas and knowledge and discussing best practices in gerontological nursing in the United States and the UK and ways to improve care for older adults.
Terri’s contribution to placing gerontological nursing and research firmly on the aging agenda has been great. Her dedication, enthusiasm, and knowledge as a teacher, researcher, and author are evident in her work; in fact, in 2009 her alma mater, St. Xavier University in Chicago, named her as a Distinguished Nursing Alumni. However, being a gerontological nurse is the achievement she is most proud of, and this is at the heart of her lifelong philosophy of giving her best to her patients, students, and readers.
- Ebersole, P., Hess, P., Touhy, T. & Jett, K. (2005). Gerontological nursing and healthy aging (2nd ed.). St. Louis: Mosby.
- Ebersole, P., Hess, P., Touhy, T.A., Jett, K.F. & Luggen, A.S. (2008). Toward healthy aging: Human needs and nursing response (7th ed.). St. Louis: Mosby.
- Ebersole, P. & Touhy, T.A. (2006). Geriatric nursing: Growth of a specialty. New York: Springer.
- Hain, D., Touhy, T.A. & Engström, G. (2010). What matters most to carers of people with mild to moderate dementia as evidence for transforming care. Alzheimer’s Care Today, 11, 162–171.
- Touhy, T.A. (2001). Nurturing hope and spirituality in the nursing home. Holistic Nursing Practice, 15(4), 45–56.
- Touhy, T.A., Brown, C. & Smith, C.J. (2005). Spiritual caring: End of life in a nursing home. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 31(9), 27–35.
- Touhy, T.A. & Jett, K.F. (2009). Ebersole and Hess’ gerontological nursing and healthy aging (3rd ed.). St. Louis: Mosby.
- Touhy, T.A., Strews, W. & Brown, C. (2005). Expressions of caring as lived by nursing home staff, families and residents. International Journal for Human Caring, 9(3), 31–37.