Fairfield University's Theresa Tavella Quell, Ph. D., "an ordinary nurse trying to make a difference," named president of the Connecticut Nurses' Association


Theresa Tavella QuellTheresa Tavella Quell, Ph.D., RN, '79, the undergraduate program director for Fairfield University's School of Nursing, has assumed the presidency of the Connecticut Nurses' Association (CNA), an organization that represents nurses across all specialties in the state and works to promote issues that affect the nursing profession.

Dr. Quell, a lifelong Norwalk resident, is the 45th president of the Association and served as its president-elect from 2006 to 2007. The Association was established in 1904 as the professional organization of registered nurses in Connecticut.

As CNA's chief elected officer, Dr. Quell will represent the association at national and state meetings and serve as the spokesperson for the association. She also will lead CNA's board of directors as it carries out its mission and strategic initiatives. Those initiatives include spearheading issues concerning the education of nurses, legislation, as well as compensation to protect and advance the practice of nursing.

Dr. Quell, a self-described "ordinary nurse trying to make a difference," said that it is vital for nurses to be agents of change for both better healthcare and the nursing profession. "I see my role as being patient advocate, and vocal proponent of the value of the profession."

She feels that a major challenge to the nursing profession is the looming shortage of registered nurses. Connecticut is facing a shortage of 11,000 nurses by 2010, and, just as alarming, almost 75% of nursing faculty will retire in the next 10 to 15 years.

Dr. Quell has called on CNA members to further their education, and to serve as positive role models to student nurses by taking them under their wings. "We don't just need students to consider nursing, because that is happening and in fact, programs across the country are bursting at the seams, and turning away thousands of qualified candidates. The challenge now is that we don't have enough nursing faculty."

The Association's goals also include stimulating and promoting research in nursing, disseminating research findings, and encouraging the use of new knowledge as a basis for nursing. It also supports legislation as it relates to nursing and healthcare, and strives to maintain relationships with allied professional, governmental and community groups.

Dr. Quell has been a staff member of the School of Nursing for the past 23 years. She has held numerous positions with CNA since becoming a member in 1981, including chair of the District III Program Committee and Government Relations Cabinet member. She has been a member of the American Nurses Association (ANA) since 1981. CNA is a constituent member of ANA. She was also CNA's liaison to the office of United States Congressman Christopher Shays.

She was recently appointed by the mayor to the Norwalk Board of Health. In addition, she sits on the School Based Health Advisory Board in Norwalk, and is the vice president of the Board of Directors of the Southwest Area Health Education Center (AHEC).

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 8, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 140