Hall of Fame Award
This prestigious award recognizes an individual’s lifelong commitment to the field of nursing
and its impact on the health and/or social history of the U.S.
Mary Ellen Patton, RN
Ohio Nurses Association
Mary Ellen Patton has distinguished herself for a generation of commitment to the profession
and is well recognized for her contribution to the economic and general welfare movement.
She has been a committed and outspoken advocate for improving the working conditions of all
registered nurses regardless of setting.
In the 1960s, she co-led a 13-day mass resignation action. She believed registered nurses in the
state of Ohio were undervalued and was determined to change the wages and benefits for all
registered nurses making less than $2.00 per hour. Mrs. Patton’s efforts spearheaded the economic
and general welfare program in Ohio and led to the Ohio Nurses Association’s (ONA) first
Mrs. Patton has exemplified the qualities of a staff nurse leader for more than 20 years as a local,
district, state and national officer.
She served on the ANA Board of Directors for eight years while also serving as ONA’s treasurer
for four of those years. Patton has continually served the local unit and district in many capacities.
Mrs. Patton has shown staff nurses that it is not only important to be involved but it is also possible to do so as a busy staff nurse.
She championed the staff nurses’ role in determining their own work environment and not relying on others to tell nurses what was best for the care they needed to deliver.
She has been an inspirational role model and mentor to nurses across the United States. As an often-requested speaker, Patton was a founding member of the Institute of Constituent Member Collective Bargaining Programs and the ANA Staff Nurse Caucus.
Mrs. Patton has won a host of awards throughout her career. In 1995, ANA established the Mary Ellen Patton Staff Nurse Leadership Award in her honor, and she was its first recipient. Among other honors, she has received ANA’s Shirley Titus Award, the Ohio Nurses Association Diamond Jubilee Nurse Award, the YMCA Woman of the Year award and the Youngstown Recognition of Leadership award.
Patton’s dedication and commitment to nursing continue to serve as an inspiration to all.