Bonnie Faherty – 2015 Distinguished Alum for the School of Nursing

From the moment she entered the diploma program for nursing in New Mexico, Dr. Bonnie Faherty has had her eyes open for opportunity. Opportunity to improve health outcomes and opportunity to advance the profession of nursing.

Bonnie has obtained advanced degrees in other subjects throughout her career in addition to nursing – a Master’s in Public Health and Doctorate in Public Administration – but in her heart she is always a nurse.

Bonnie attributes her success to taking advantage of all the options nursing has to offer. “I’ve tried it all and done it all and pretty much loved it all.” And she has done it all – from public health nurse, to acute care nurse, to home health nurse to registry work. She was a lecturer in primary care here at the School for seven years and taught nursing at Cal State LA, Santa Monica College and Cal State Northridge.

But where Faherty has really made her mark is her advocacy work for nursing and healthcare. “I think it is my role to serve as a visible reminder to others of the value and engagement of nurses in our society.” She has been very active in the American Nurses Association on both the local and national level and Gamma Tau at Large Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International.

Faherty believes nurses make great advocates because a nurses role is educating people and, “we tend to be very articulate.” Bonnie does more than just talk about advocacy. For the past few years, she and her husband, who are proud alums of UCLA and loyal supporters to the School of Nursing, have sponsored nursing students to attend advocacy events in Washington DC. “We really believe in civic engagement and health care and affecting change through government policy. By sponsoring these trips, we want to nurture this passion and expose students to government and policy.”

All her years of volunteer and advocacy work paid off when, in 2009, she was invited to attend a news conference at the White House to show support for President Obama and the Affordable Care Act. There she sat, in the front row of the event, listening to the President spotlight the role nurses play in the healthcare system. “It was surreal. I met new nurse colleagues and enjoyed a moment in the history of our profession and our country.”

Her advocacy work was also recognized by UCLA as she and her husband were recognized as “Volunteer Advocate of the Year” as members of the Bruin Caucus in 2012.

Dr. Suzette Cardin, one of Faherty’s long time colleagues stated it best: “Bonnie is a true advocate for nursing. She is very proud to be a nurse and this has been seen in the many accomplishments she has achieved to date. It is always fun, interesting and professionally rewarding to work with Bonnie on any project, presentation or professional activity that we are both involved in. She is a True Bruin.”

Now retired, Faherty still keeps active and she is still looking for any opportunity to educate people about being a nurse. “I am humbled that my peers and colleagues want to recognize me for my accomplishments.”