• 2019 GAPNA Pharmacology Conference: Contemporary Pharmacology and Prescribing in Older AdultsJoin us at the 2019 GAPNA Pharmacology Conference:
    Contemporary Pharmacology and Prescribing in Older Adults

    March 28-30, 2019, Chicago Hilton, Chicago, IL.

    Earn up to 11.5 CNE hours.


    Find out more about it and REGISTER today!

  • AwardCall for Excellence Award Nominations

    The awards are: Emerging Chapter Award, Established Chapter Excellence Award, Special Interest Group Excellence Award, Excellence in Clinical Practice Award, Excellence in Community Service Award, Excellence in Education Award, Excellence in Leadership Award, and Excellence in Research Award.

    The nominations are tallied in July and the winners are announced every year during the Awards Celebration at the GAPNA Annual Conference.

    Now is the time to nominate a colleague or yourself - DEADLINE is June 1, 2018.

    Get started... nominate today!

  • W A N T E D   G A P N A   L E A D E R S!
    Call for Nominations!

    Have you ever considered stepping forward, accepting the challenge and volunteering for a position on the 2019 National Board of Directors? Register online NOW by April 1, 2019!

    Step Up - NOW is the Time! Register Here>

  • FREE continuing education credit is available for the following session:

    "Keynote Address - Health Policy: APRNs Working to the Full Extent of the Law"

    (session captured at the GAPNA 2018 Annual Conference)

    For March/April 2019 - Get Your Free CNE Now!

  • Poster Presentation


    This 22-module curriculum provides a basic knowledge base for Nurse Practitioners who looking to advance their expertise in caring for patients with dementia.

    FREE to GAPNA members until September 1, 2019

  • GAPNA Exchange


    GAPNA Exchange is a private, secure community for members to share ideas, ask questions, lend expertise, and network with peers.

    It features both an Open Forum discussion area along with smaller, segmented communities.

    Interact with GAPNA members wherever and whenever!

    Go to GAPNA Exchange

In Memoriam: Norma Small

Remembering a GAPNA Leader, Colleague, Mentor, and Friend

by Kathleen Fletcher

Everything Norma Small accomplished in her three careers in nursing was done with passion, commitment, and a desire to shape future nursing leaders. GAPNA is very fortunate that gerontological nursing was one of her chosen careers.

GAPNA was saddened by the loss of our leader, colleague, mentor, and friend Norma Small, APRN, PhD, RN, when she passed away in 2015.

What we remember most about Norma was her constant smile and her small but formidable stature. She was fearless and committed but also outspoken, stubborn, and protective.

First Career

Her first career with the Army Nurse Corp (ANC) spanned 22 years (1956-1978). Her first clinical site was in Washington, DC through the University of Maryland and the Walter Reed Institute. Norma noted “I was a medical-surgical nurse with a focus on nursing administration. I became disappointed that my skills were not being used to their fullest.

I soon learned that geriatric nursing was where the ‘real action’ was and I retired from the ANC and began to build my professional development around the care of older adults.” She continued to be a faculty member and received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) faculty fellowship in primary care.

She was recruited to Georgetown University and was Project Director for the RWJF Teaching Nursing Home (TNH) grant. TNH faculty are also considered staff with responsibilities in the nursing home. Here she learned about the National Conference of Gerontological Nurse Practitioners (NCGNP) and attended her first conference in 1985.

View the Past Board of Directors And Founding Members of GAPNA.

Second Career

Her second career in gerontological nursing spanned 30 years. Never content to be just a member, Norma became involved to make change happen as a NCGNP/GAPNA member (1985), NCGNP President (1991), GAPNA political activist (1991), and GAPNA Archivist (1992).

She received the GAPNA Pioneer Award in the TNH in 2007. Upon receipt of this prestigious award she said “NCGNP will only be there for future challenges if each member takes responsibility to be active as a leader in NCGNP.” Norma was very protective of our history, having seen a series of management companies lose parts of our documented history.

She kept our documents in a flood-prone basement in Johnstown, PA. As incoming History Chair and member of her Archivist Committee, she trusted me. I arranged to meet her at a restaurant in Johnstown where I was en route from my home in Virginia to visit my family in Pittsburgh, PA, and she gave me the archives. I was honored.

She remained active and engaged with GAPNA and continued attending every conference even as her health was failing. The last GAPNA Conference she attended was the 25th Annual Conference in 2006.

Third Career

Her third career launched in 1989, overlapping with GAPNA and spanning 26 years. She was a charter member of Health Ministries Association. As Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, she developed the first graduate program in parish nursing and was instrumental in the American Nurses Association designating parish nursing as a specialty in 1998.

Following her retirement from all three careers, she returned to the family homestead in Johnstown with her faithful pets, Buddy and Rosebud, her beautiful Labrador retrievers. She continued to be a national consultant and speaker, remained involved with GAPNA and parish nursing, and provided leadership through mentorship, knowing the gifts she was given were meant to be shared.

Lost but never forgotten: an obituary in the Johnstown paper written by Sharon Stanton of Health Ministries Association said, “Sadly we lost this pioneering visionary and faithful servant to God to Cancer in July 2015.”

Kathleen Fletcher, MSN, RN, APRN-BC, GNP, FAAN

Sweet Memories

Photo 1

Norma Small (left) incoming NCGNP (GAPNA President) with outgoing President Linda Grissom (1990)

Photo 2

10th Annual Conference, “Celebrating 10 Years of Progress,” is held at the Kahler Plaza, Rochester, MN. Past presidents from 1981-1991 (l to r): Norma Small, Linda Grissom, C. Ruth Broderick, Bernie Gorek, Sally Nail, Ruth Lueck (not pictured: Della Park and Carol Gustafson)

Photo 3

Officers (l to r); Normal Small, president; Joe Caraway, president-elect; Phyllis Freeman, vice-president; Norma Richards, secretary; Carol Wooden, treasurer