Patricia Gorzka, BSN '64, PhD, ARNP, FAANP

Distinguished Alumni Award 2010:

‌Dr. Patricia Gorzka is associate professor and director of continuing education, College of Nursing at the University of South Florida (USF). She received a diploma in nursing from the University of Rochester, and a BSN from FPB. She earned an MS in nursing with a focus on child health from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1973, a PhD from Adelphi University in 1988 with a major in nursing and a minor in education, and a post-master’s certificate as a child health nurse practitioner from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1997. She is an elected Fellow in the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Dr. Gorzka began her career in clinical practice in pediatrics, working at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland while also being a student in the BSN program. Upon graduation, she worked as a school nurse and in public health, before beginning her career as a nurse educator. Dr. Gorzka has held faculty positions at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Stony Brook, Rocky Mountain University of the Health Professions, and at the University of South Florida for the last 22 years. She has taught in undergraduate, graduate, and DNP programs, and earned many teaching honors and awards, which reflect an ability to share her nursing knowledge, and to mentor and motivate nurses and students to strive for excellence. Dr. Gorzka has published and spoken on her research interests in homeless families and children, as well as temperament in children.

Dr. Gorzka believes strongly in modeling professionalism to her students and does so through her numerous leadership positions in nursing organizations at the local, state, and international levels, including Sigma Theta Tau International and the Florida Nurses Association. Dr. Gorzka’s leadership positions and vision have provided her with opportunities to be a strong advocate for nursing. Her professional administrative/leadership experience includes service as interim dean at the USF College of Nursing, where she successfully established the first $1 million endowed chair for nursing informatics in the country and received approval for the establishment of a nursing PhD program. As associate dean for student affairs at USF, she was recognized for her commitment to multiculturalism and diversity within nursing as she developed the college’s first community advisory board for minority students. Dr. Gorzka also developed one of the first neonatal nurse practitioner programs at SUNY/Stony Brook.

In 1985, Dr. Gorzka led one of the first educational nursing exchanges to China. She recently concluded a five-year cross cultural study, “Role Model Behaviors in Nursing Faculty in the United States and Japan,” with nursing faculty from Japanese universities. The study has been presented at national and international conferences. In her present position at USF, Dr. Gorzka helps graduate nurses acquire new knowledge and skills relevant to developing their careers and providing high quality patient care. In 2005, Dr. Gorzka gave the key note speech on nursing continuing education in the U.S. at the Japanese Association for Nursing Education in Tokyo. She is co-author of a model for continuing education for nurse practitioners published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She was invited to be a member of the 2009 task force for re-writing the ANCC Accreditation Manual.

“It has been my privilege to share the dreams, successes and some of the failures of the many students and nurses whose paths I have crossed. I have been inspired by them and hope that in some small way, I have been inspirational to them,” she says.

Dr. Gorzka is an advocate and visionary in the field of multidisciplinary nursing education. She demonstrates the value of collaboration and creative problem solving to develop models for exemplary nursing leadership at local, state, and national levels. The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing Alumni Association is proud to bestow upon her its highest honor.

Patricia Gorzka