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SXU Alumna Named Nurse Influencer of the Year


Saint Xavier University (SXU) alumna Gloria Barrera '07, MSN, RN, PEL-CSN, has been selected as Nurse Influencer of the Year by the American Nurses Association Illinois. The Nurse Influencer Award recognizes an exemplary nurse who has influenced the science of nursing practice or a care delivery system, a community population and its health or recovery, or the profession of nursing through education, advocacy, policy or practice.

"Earning this recognition has shed light on the specialty of school nursing across the state of Illinois and is a testament to the service leadership journey I embarked on since graduating from SXU. As a nurse influencer, I understand and respect the responsibility I have in educating and empowering the next generation of nurse leaders," said Barrera.

Barrera's leadership has demonstrated positive influence within the specialty of school nursing locally, regionally and nationally. She has promoted wellness and educational success of school communities by supporting, developing and advocating for all professional school nurse leaders and believes that all students have a right to have their physical and mental health needs safely met while in the school setting.

Within her work, she ignited the idea for an inaugural School Nurse Lobby Day in 2023 and has spearheaded promoting legislation for appropriate funding for a school nurse capacity study in an effort to drive action for work in optimizing student health and learning, resulting in the Illinois State Board of Education allocating a school nurse capacity study funded at $350,000.

Barrera is grateful for the mentorship she received during her time at SXU and aims to deliver those same values to the students she teaches today.

"I am the current co-director of the RN-BSN program at UIC and aim to help create conditions where all students have the tools to succeed. I attribute my success to the core values I adopted as a student at SXU. I challenge my students today to strive to be exemplary in their career pursuits," said Barrera.

Barrera's dedication to the nursing profession, strong involvement with other nursing organizations, nursing leadership roles, and commitment to improving public health is unwavering -- she truly embodies the role of a nurse influencer.