As we continue our year-long celebration of nursing it is only fitting to celebrate those individual nurses who have left their mark on their community.  Let me introduce Gabriela Bocec, a former nurse from Romania who came into my life over twenty years ago.  In June 2000, she completed The International Nursing Leadership Institute (INLI), a yearlong course of study comprised of three separate sessions, which must be attended in their entirety, and a required project must be completed.

Gabriela, along with Jolanta Zolite, from Latvia, Eduard Ovsiannikov, from Russia and Zhumabike Romashova, from Kazakhstan, all graduates of INLI the previous June, comprised the NIS/CEE faculty and were supported/mentored by Ann Marie Brooks, Sharon Weinstein and Jane Younger.

Gabriela Bocec, then, Executive Director of Romanian Nursing Association had worked with the Louisville-Romanian partnership initiated by Humana Foundation. From 1990 to 2000 she had been working on a National Task Force to define the priorities for nursing as well as to start to build the Nurses’ Association. Serving as President for the first six years she later became the Executive Director. Under Gabriela’s leadership some of RNA’s notable activities include an annual National Nurses’ Conference with International participation, International Nurses’ Day, a special moment for Romanian people to understand what nursing is and through the efforts and support of a US nurse Connie Tzolan, initiated a magazine, “Nursing” written by and for nurses.

In 1992, Gabriela became a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing (UK), being recognized for her efforts to introduce the nursing concept into the educational system and nursing practice.  In 2001, she was inducted into STTI—Iota Zeta Chapter in Louisville.

Sadly, Gabriela lost her hard fought battle with cancer in 2007,  but she left a huge footprint on Nursing.


Jane Younger, MSN, RN, Nurse Consultant