2024 NAO Award Winners

2024 NAO Award Winners Barb King and Adam Schneider-Price

Q&A: Barbara J. King, MS’87, PhD’10, and Adam Schneider-Price, DNP’17

The University of Wisconsin–Madison Nurses Alumni Organization (UW NAO) proudly announces the 2024 NAO Award Winners. Barbara J. King, MS’87, PhD’10, has been selected as the 2024 Distinguished Achievement Award recipient, and Adam Schneider-Price, DNP’17 has earned the 2024 Outstanding Badger Nurse Award.

Dr. King currently holds the Charlotte Jane and Ralph A. Rodefer (Road-a-fur) Chair and is the Director of the Center for Aging Research & Education (CARE).  Dr. King’s research is dedicated to creating sustainable and scalable practice change to promote patient safety for hospitalized older adults. Her efforts include identifying systemic barriers that prevent nurses from delivering the best care to older patients and developing realistic solutions that enable healthcare systems to remove or overcome those barriers. Her experience as a geriatric nurse practitioner has provided her with a unique and valuable perspective as a researcher, teacher, and mentor.

Dr. Schneider-Price earned his bachelor’s degree in nursing from Edgewood College in 2012 and went on to work as a critical care nurse in an intensive care unit and emergency room. Through this role he quickly found a passion for providing end-of-life care for critically ill patients. He found his way to UW–Madison to earn his Doctor of Nursing practice in 2017. For the last 10+ years, he has been fortunate enough to hold his dream job working as a nurse practitioner within the UW Health Organ and Tissue Donation unit.

Get to know the 2024 NAO Award Winners:

Why did you choose UW–Madison?

Barb King
Barbara J. King, MS’87, PhD’10

King: I was a graduate of the Master’s of Nursing program at UW–Madison and knew of the level of rigor of graduate study and training in research. A bonus is that this top-ranked program was in my backyard!

Schneider-Price: Having lived in Madison, WI, my entire life, choosing UW–Madison was not a hard decision. I’ve always been intimately familiar with the remarkable community and the educational reputation of the university. Having met many graduates from UW–Madison, I knew that the professors at UW–Madison cared about their students’ education and their future success. I selected UW–Madison knowing that I would come out on the other side with a degree that would give me a broader perspective of the world while also preparing me to succeed in any professional environment.

Describe how your nursing education has influenced your career or life path.

King: I would not be able to pursue my research questions or thoughts about improving health care systems for older adults without a PhD. The PhD program at the UW–Madison School of Nursing helped me intersect my many years of clinical practice and expertise in geriatrics with building a program of research to improve outcomes for older adults and acute care organizations.

Adam Schneider-Price, DNP’17
Adam Schneider-Price, DNP’17

Schneider-Price: Nursing has allowed me to think about life from a variety of perspectives. I think so many people don’t know what nursing means or what the profession does daily. People may have an idea because of what they see on TV or may say, “My family member is a nurse, and they are so great.” But nursing is so incredibly complex and variable. It allows you to function in various roles because you become an expert problem solver and task completer; you even gain a deeper appreciation of caring for the patients you help or even the professionals you work alongside. You don’t have to work at the bedside or in a clinic. You can work in management, education, quality improvement, informational systems, traveling support, forensics, legal, and so many more areas. I was absolutely drawn to the open-ended world of nursing.

Why did you choose nursing? Did you always know you wanted to be a nurse, or did you explore other options first?

King: Well, that is a decades-old question! When I was planning education beyond high school there were few options or career counseling directions for females. Often young adult females were counseled to be teachers, secretaries, or nurses. I have always gravitated to courses in STEM, and I have an intrinsic need to improve how we as humans take care of each other and the environment. Nursing seemed like a good fit for me from the beginning.

Schneider-Price: My mother had a major influence on my decision to become a nurse. She worked as a nurse in a clinic setting for over 40 years. She made her patients feel like family. She would come home with thank you cards or get phone calls from patients and families thanking her for everything she did to care for them through hard times. Her constant positivity was infectious. I really loved that she was able to care for her patients as a direct patient care nurse while also mentoring others and functioning as a clinic manager. I loved that she would get a well-rounded sense of accomplishment by operating in multiple roles, and I knew I wanted to work in a similar way. Of course, my father encouraged me to go into health care, too. As an artist, I saw him working day by day doing something he loved. I grew up seeing him wake up every day not going to just a desk job but working on his passion. I knew I had to end up in a role where I went to work every day not just working in a “job,” but doing something I loved every day. I knew the nursing field was broad enough to help me find that passion.

Which role, position, or experience has been the most significant to your nursing career? Why?

King: I think two roles overlap in terms of significance in my nursing career: my role as an advanced practice nurse in geriatrics and my role as a researcher. My role as an advanced practice nurse in geriatrics allowed me to provide primary care to a complex population and serve as a consultant on interdisciplinary teams, develop new outpatient care programs, and work with community organizations to provide better aging care. My clinical practice and lens influence how I pursue research. My research career has expanded my reach in terms of making an impact on the quality of care for older adults. Through research, I am influencing how care of older adults in hospitals is delivered across the nation and internationally, thus impacting practice.

Schneider-Price: After working as a critical care nurse in an intensive care unit (ICU) and emergency room (ER), I quickly found a passion for providing end-of-life care for critically ill patients. I ended up working in the ICU where my grandmother passed away. I saw the amazing care those nurses provided and will cherish those memories my entire life. For over 10 years, I have been fortunate enough to find my dream job working for UW Organ and Tissue Donation. Our team coordinates lifesaving gifts from dying patients in ICUs to individuals on the waitlist who will likely die without a transplant. I love that I can be involved in such an amazing miracle each day.

This work has been a dream because it allows me to provide patient care, medically manage critically ill patients, work with multi-disciplinary teams, provide education and training, speak at conferences, solve incredible problems I never thought I would encounter, and even see donor families meet recipients. I’ve seen fathers and mothers listen to their son’s heartbeat again after seeing them say their forever goodbyes.

I love that my Doctor of Nursing practice (DNP) from UW–Madison prepared me to work with the department and be able to look at how we manage our organ donors in the ICU to increase the number of life-saving gifts we can provide. Specifically, we worked to incorporate literature that standardizes our donor management strategies, such as lung maneuvers or heart restoration protocols, which ultimately lead to more organs transplanted from patients dying in the ICU. I’ve also been fortunate to work in a variety of roles for the organization, including working as an organ procurement coordinator, senior coordinator, nurse practitioner, and now as the clinical quality and compliance manager. I get to support the department by leading evidence-based practice implementation and quality improvement initiatives. More importantly, I get to go to a job that I love every day.

Which School of Nursing member (faculty, leadership, or staff) had (or has) the biggest impact on your experience?

King: That would be Dr. Barbara Bowers — she was another big reason I chose the UW–Madison School of Nursing for my PhD program. Barb continues to serve as a critical and valued mentor today.

Schneider-Price: Dr. Pam McGranahan has always been such an incredible mentor for me throughout my entire nursing education and career. As I was going through my education, I noticed that I had different plans for my career than the rest of my cohort. I felt like I was on an island because I didn’t plan to work in a clinic or hospital providing direct patient care. I wanted to work more in the quality improvement and leadership field. I was so fortunate to have Dr. McGranahan encourage me to pursue a DNP with the idea that I didn’t necessarily have to work as a frontline nurse practitioner but use my doctoral degree to support organizations and nurses with implementing evidence-based practices. Dr. McGranahan was very supportive and was always available if I had questions or needed reassurance that I was on the right path. And it was true. My degree allowed me to gain experience and bring the necessary skills to the organization that I loved and be able to grow as a leader.

What advice would you give to recent graduates and or individuals considering earning an advanced degree?

King: If you find that you are continually saying to yourself, “Why does this happen?” “How can we improve health care?” or “I read about this innovation, I wonder if it can be implemented in my practice setting,” then an advanced degree is the avenue to pursue. Nurses are innovators, and as the largest represented provider in health care, we are in ideal positions to move care quality across settings.  I tell nurses often: Use your voice and ask your questions to improve outcomes for patients, communities, and health care organizations.

Schneider-Price: I would tell anyone who wants to advance their personal education, learn new ways to take care of their patients, or grow professionally, they need to pursue an advanced degree. It was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life, and it allowed me to push myself to think of patient care from new perspectives. I can work now through the rest of my professional career, pulling the unique skills I obtained during my doctoral education and clinical rotations that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’m able to improve patient care as well as support other health care professionals with their own development. I love that it is a terminal degree in my field, providing me the confidence and security of knowing that I am ready to take on any problem that may challenge me. I also made valuable relationships with professors and my cohort that I will maintain for the rest of my life. I’m so fortunate to have this background, and I owe much of my success to the education I received at the UW–Madison School of Nursing.