2004 Mary K. Sullivan, BSN '83
2004 Alumni Merit Award Recipient
Mary K. Sullivan, BSN ’83
May 5, 2004
Mary Kathleen Sullivan distinguished herself early as a Creighton nursing student. Today, she is one of the nation’s foremost advocates of forensic nursing.
When people are victims of violence, they are at risk of suffering twice; first, when they are assaulted and the second time when the medical evidence needed to support a case against the offender is destroyed or mismanaged. Mary Sullivan’s dream is to develop a national model for the investigation of hospital and nursing home incidents involving neglect, abuse or suspicious death.
Mary earned her bachelor of science in nursing degree at Creighton in 1983 and her master of science in nursing at the University of Phoenix in 2001. Today, in addition to her forensic nursing activities, Mary is a psychiatric nurse with the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Mary received training as a sexual assault nurse examiner in 1994, when forensic nursing was a relatively new field. That same year, Mary was assigned to serve on the Medical Inspector’s task force on Unexpected/Suspicious Patient Death, at the V.A. Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Within two years, Mary was appointed Forensic Nursing Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Through her work with the Veteran’s Affairs, which is the largest employer of nursing personnel, and with civilian hospital networks, Mary has put clinical forensic nursing on the map.
She is the first V.A. nurse to attain membership in the prestigious American Academy of Forensic Sciences. She also was appointed to the Charter Board of Forensic Nursing in the American College of Forensic Examiners. Recently, the National V.A. Nursing Executive Committee adopted Mary’s vision for implementing forensic nursing services in the V.A. system by including her specific goals and objectives in their overall strategic plan.
Motivated by her concern for victim patients, Mary Sullivan’s dream is well on its way to becoming a reality. For this reason and in recognition of her outstanding contributions to and leadership in her field, Creighton University is proud to confer upon Mary Kathleen Sullivan the 2004 Alumni Merit Award for the School of Nursing.