Navy’s next chief nurse receives UB alumni award

Release Date: June 10, 2013 This content is archived.

“UB’s community partners opened their doors to us and provided phenomenal experiences on which to build careers. ”
Rebecca McCormick-Boyle, Rear Admiral
U.S. Navy

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Rear Adm. Rebecca McCormick-Boyle, Navy chief of staff, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, and a 1981 graduate of the UB School of Nursing, recently came back to her alma mater to receive the school’s 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award.

McCormick-Boyle recently was named the 24th director of the United States Navy Nurse Corps, effective Aug. 1. This designation also is known as the chief nurse of the Navy. The Nurse Corps director is responsible for nursing policy and professional practice standards. Additionally, the director makes recommendations regarding workforce procurement, distribution, training and career development.

“I am a very proud UB School of Nursing alumna, and among so many phenomenal nurses, I am very humbled by the honor the school has bestowed on me,” McCormick-Boyle said in accepting her award at the School of Nursing’s annual May celebration.

She went on to thank UB nursing for all it has given her, citing specifically that her UB education had instilled in her “strong principles and values as a nurse; a thirst for ongoing education and a commitment to clinical leadership; the conviction that the nurse’s voice must be part of the ‘dialogue’; and, especially, the memories.”

“How eye-opening were those experiences to a very young adult,” she recalled. “I remember being incredulous at how early nurses arrived at work and being grateful for the kindness of the nurses who mentored us during those experiences.

“UB’s community partners opened their doors to us and provided phenomenal experiences on which to build careers,” she said.

Marsha Lewis, professor and dean of the nursing school, noted that McCormick-Boyle is a very accomplished alumna and the school is proud to call her one of its own.

“Throughout her professional career, she has been recognized as an outstanding leader and mentor,” Lewis said. “The rear admiral represents an alumna who has made innumerable contributions to improve health and wellness on a global scale and is someone our students can strive to emulate.”

The Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest award given by the School of Nursing to an alumnus, recognizes exceptional career accomplishments, community or university service, or research and scholarly activity.

Lewis said that McCormick-Boyle received the award because she is a stellar example of an alumna who embodies the award’s qualifications. Her rise through the ranks as a Navy nurse allowed her to continue to play a pivotal role in coordinating humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and contingency support activities on a global scale.

“Throughout her illustrious career, the rear admiral has been a role model for professional nurses and will continue to serve as an inspiration for all nurses as the director of the United States Navy Nurse Corps,” said Lewis.

In her address to recent graduates, alumni, donors friends, faculty and staff, McCormick-Boyle considered the challenges of her new promotion. “I find myself more than ever before reflecting back on the lessons taught within this great institution and this great community regarding the profession of nursing, the vital importance of competent, compassionate nurses and the mentor’s role in stimulating life-long learning in the pursuit of one’s dreams and aspirations.”

McCormick-Boyle is a native of Griffins Mills, N.Y. Following graduation from the UB School of Nursing in 1981, she enlisted in the Navy and reported to the Naval Hospital, Orlando, Fla., where she worked as a surgical and critical care nurse. In 1984, she transferred to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and served as a coronary care nurse before returning to Buffalo in 1987 to be a medical programs recruiter.

In 1991, she reported to the Naval Hospital, Okinawa, Japan, as division officer for in-patient and ambulatory care. While in Okinawa, she completed her master’s degree in human resource management systems from Chapman University. She then earned a master’s degree in health administration from Baylor University in 1996.

She subsequently held three different leadership positions at the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, N.C.: director, Branch Medical Clinics; executive assistant, Commanding Officer for Health Care Operations; and senior nurse, Fleet Hospital.

In 1999, she reported to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery as special projects coordinator for Navy Medicine’s Optimization Initiative. In 2003, she was promoted to captain and became the nurse corps’ career plans officer.

Selected for executive medicine, she served as executive officer, Naval Health Clinic Great Lakes, from 2005-07 and as commanding officer, Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River, from 2007-09.

In July 2009, she returned to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery as the assistant deputy chief for medical operations before assuming the role of chief of staff in January 2012. She was promoted to rear admiral in July 2012.

Her decorations include the Legion of Merit (two awards), the Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards) and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

She is an American College of Health Care Executives fellow and recipient of the 2011 Navy Regent’s Senior Health Care Executive Award.

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