Witzel first to receive UND Nurse Practitioner award

Many in the medical profession understand that recognition for work most often goes unnoticed.

Gwen Witzel

Posted on 10/24/15

By Melissa Anderson

For local Nurse Practitioner Gwen Witzel, her years of hard work have been noticed and recognized by her peers when she was awarded the University of North Dakota (UND) Nurse Practitioner Outstanding Alumni Award for 2015.

“It was a surprise. They had called me two weeks before the event to tell me I had won,” Witzel stated.

This was the first year for the award. The criteria for this award was to be nominated by your peers and to have made a significant contribution to the Nurse Practitioner profession.

Witzel was chosen as the first time recipient as a result of her strength in three areas: being an outstanding clinician, a willing educator, and a leader in the Nurse Practitioner profession.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by my peers for doing something that I love. I was very surprised,” Witzel stated.

The award ceremony was held in concurrence with the UND homecoming weekend festivities. It was during the 2015 UND homecoming that the an all class reunion for the college of nursing program was held.

“It was the 20th anniversary  celebration,” Witzel said.

Witzel began her career in Langdon at the Cavalier County Memorial Hospital as a Nurse Practitioner in 1997. She now works at both the Langdon and Walhalla locations.

This isn’t the first time that Witzel has been recognized for her work with the Nurse Practitioner profession. Witzel was previously recognized in 2009 as the North Dakota Outstanding Rural Provider of the Year. Over the course of her career, Witzel has volunteered her time to serve as a clinical preceptor for Nurse Practitioner students from three different universities.

She has been a leader in North Dakota moving the Nurse Practitioner profession forward by being a cofounder of the ND Nurse Practitioner Association and lobbying  for full practice authority for Nurse Practitioners at the state legislature which was passed in 2011.

“I have been very involved with the state Nurse Practitioners program and served on the board at the national level,” Witzel said.

Witzel also serves on a committee with the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington D.C. working with a federal program to aid in attracting health care providers to practice in rural communities. She has been a board member to the National Nurse Practitioner organizations and has been inducted into the Fellows of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

“I enjoy being involved in both the political and clinical aspect of the profession,” Witzel stated.

According to Jana Zwilling NP, Director of the Family Nurse Practitioner Program, College of Nursing at UND, ”Harvard medical school defines leadership as ‘making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in you absence.’ This is what Gwen Witzel has done for the Nurse Practitioner profession and why she is deserving of this award.”

Congratulations to Gwen Witzel on being the first to be awarded the UND Nurse Practitioner Outstanding Alumni.