Posted on Mar 17, 2021

Nurse practitioner pioneer receives COVID-19 vaccine at USF

Nurse practitioner pioneer receives COVID-19 vaccine at USF

She is a pioneer within the nurse practitioner profession, a recipient of an honorary doctorate of nursing degree from the University of South Florida, and now among the millions of seniors inoculated from COVID-19.

Considered a living legend in the nursing field, Loretta “Lee” Ford received her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on March 3 from a fellow nurse practitioner and USF Health College of Nursing Assistant Professor Marcia Johansson, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, at the USF Health Morsani Clinic.

After the shot, Ford happily posed for selfies and chatted with nursing students, many of whom shared their admiration for the woman who co-founded the nurse practitioner role in 1965 at the University of Colorado.

“I’m just a common person,” said Dr. Ford, who turned 100 in December and lives in Wildwood, Florida.

She said she hopes getting the COVID vaccine encourages others at any age to do the same.

“In terms of preventing the disease, I feel I have some responsibility, not as a professional, but as a citizen, to demonstrate that I believe in it,” Dr. Ford said.

Loretta Ford and Marcia Johansson pose for a photo after Ford received her COVID-19 vaccine at the USF Health Morsani Clinic.

Originally trained as a public health nurse, she said she appreciates how all nurses, not just nurse practitioners, have taken a lead role in responding to the pandemic.

“What’s most rewarding is to see how much leadership (nurses) are providing now. They’ve been able to take leadership positions and do a great deal of the community organizing and the education of people,” Dr. Ford said.

Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing