CU Nursing - Spring/Summer 2022 - 12

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COL L EG E
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million American Indians and
Alaska Natives across the country,
something that Zink and Short hope
to address with the founding of the
CU/FLC nursing program.
VISION - PROVIDE QUALITY,
RELEVANT, ACCESSIBLE
HEALTHCARE TO RURAL,
INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES
Zink's vision to provide quality,
relevant, accessible healthcare to
rural, Indigenous communities is
something she learned from her
mother, Marilyn, a beloved nurse
at Durango's Mercy hospital. Zink
would eventually follow in her
mother's footsteps and pursue a
career in nursing. Thanks to her
years of experience in 4-H, she sold
enough sheep to put herself through
nursing school and ultimately
founded Southwest Women's Health
Karen
prepares a
lamb for show
Associates in Durango in 1989, one of only two private
practices in the country owned by nurse practitioners
at the time. In 2013, Zink was voted " Best Nurse " in the
Durango Herald Reader's Choice Awards. The family's
nursing tradition continues with Karen's daughter, Heidi,
who works as a certified nurse-midwife with Southwest
Midwives.
Zink credits her caregiving philosophy in part to Jean
Watson, a renowned American nurse theorist and former
dean of CU's College of Nursing, where Zink attended
graduate school.
CU Nursing's
former Dean
Jean Watson
has been a
big influence
in Karen
Zink's life
" [Watson] always said, 'Do as much as you can for as many
as you can for as long as you can,' " Zink recites.
In February 2021, Karen was on the frontlines of getting the
first COVID-19 vaccination clinic set up in La Plata County.
It took the team 18 days from concept to action. Her career
isn't the only arena where Zink makes moves.
PHILOSOPHY - PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES
FOR PEOPLE NOW
" Jerry and I work at a high rate of speed, " says Zink. " We've
started a few businesses, networked with other local businesses,
and have been steady community servants. As for
the nursing program, it's not something that I've leaned
CU College of Nursing | Spring/Summer 2022

CU Nursing - Spring/Summer 2022

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CU Nursing - Spring/Summer 2022 - 2
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