Fairfield University Professor Jean W. Lange has been at the forefront of educating nursing students nationwide to care for older adults while improving their quality of life. At the heart of her work has been fostering understanding of the vital issue of end of life care.

For her many achievements, Lange, of Woodbridge, was recently inducted as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, considered one of the highest honors in the nursing profession. In receiving the honor at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., she joined four other individuals at Fairfield University's School of Nursing who have already been bestowed with the distinction: Jeanne Novotny, dean of the School of Nursing; Doris Troth Lippman, professor of nursing; Kathleen Wheeler, professor of nursing; and Anne Manton, former associate professor.

The criteria for consideration as an AAN fellow includes making a significant contribution to the nursing profession on a national or international level that goes beyond one's job. The invitation to fellowship is recognition of one's accomplishments within the nursing profession, and affords an opportunity to work with other leaders in health care in addressing the issues of the day.

"It gives me the opportunity to work with leaders in the nursing profession, perhaps even on the international level," Lange said. "The Academy does a lot of good work that places nurses at the forefront of important health care causes."

Lange was the primary investigator of a 2002 Hartford Foundation grant, which redesigned the curriculum to create more of a focus on older adults. She worked with colleagues to create one of the first programs in the country to fully integrate end of life consortium modules into graduate and undergraduate programs. To measure outcomes, she collaborated with ELNEC leaders to refine a knowledge assessment tool that has been adopted for use by educators in hospitals, hospice centers, home care agencies and universities nationwide. She has mentored graduate students to establish the first National Primary Care Week in the region, which led to a Governor's citation and the 2004 award from the national American Medical Student Foundation. Dean Novotny said the FAAN honor is a wonderful tribute to Lange and her outstanding work. "It is rare that a nursing school with a faculty as small as ours has this many members in the Academy, so we are very proud Jean on behalf of the profession and Fairfield University."

Lange, a Geneva, N.Y. native whose contributions have been recognized locally, regionally, and nationally, said she was elated about the honor. "It's humbling because the company you join comprises our most esteemed leaders in nursing," she said.