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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU nurses receive awards

New Mexico State University assistant professor Debbie Cates and student Ruth Ann Romero, were honored at the Nursing Excellence Awards on Oct. 27 in Albuquerque.


Cates, assistant professor in the School of Nursing at NMSU, received the General Medical/Surgical Nurse Award. She is a staff nurse on an oncology/orthopedics/surgical unit at Memorial Medical Center and has more than 13 years experience as a nurse.

Cates is an active member on the Student Affairs Committee, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Committee and the Acute Care Elderly Committee at NMSU. She regularly volunteers at local clinics to educate and provide care to elderly patients. She is actively involved in her students' education, taking large groups to seminars and presentations to offer them a more in-depth view of the nursing profession.

In nominating Cates for the award, Jack McHale, director of Medical Surgical Nursing at Memorial Medical Center explained, "Debbie Cates is like Florence Nightingale reborn. She looks for ways to make her patients more comfortable in mind, body and spirit. She has the reputation as one of the best nurses here."

Ruth Ann Romero, a senior in NMSU's School of Nursing, received the Outstanding Nursing Student Award. She is expected to graduate in December with a bachelor of science in nursing degree. An officer of the Student Nurses Association, Romero was recently inducted into Sigma Theta Tau, the honor society of nursing. Her current grade point average places her in the top 1 percent of all NMSU School of Nursing students.

She actively promotes nursing to middle and high school students and represents the School of Nursing at many Aggie Day activities. She was selected by the director of the nursing school to testify to state legislators about the need for increased funding of nursing education in New Mexico.

"We are very proud of our faculty and students in the NMSU School of Nursing," said Teresa Keller, associate director for undergraduate studies for the School of Nursing at NMSU. "We think they exemplify the best of our profession. We also are pleased that two of them were recognized for their contributions to excellence in nursing for the state of New Mexico."