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University of Iowa News Release

June 28, 2006

Rzonca, Martin Honored At UI College Of Nursing Banquet

The University of Iowa College of Nursing honored Chet Rzonca (left), UI associate provost and dean of continuing education, with the Woodrow W. Morris Friend of Nursing Award, and Karen Martin of Omaha with the Distinguished Achievement in Nursing Award.

The two were honored at a June 10 banquet, part of the college's alumni reunion activities.

The Morris Friend of Nursing award is bestowed upon individuals who have championed the profession of nursing through the support of the UI College of Nursing.

As dean of continuing education at the UI, Rzonca administers a variety of programs, including the Center for Credit Programs (Saturday & Evening Classes, Guided Independent Study, Distance Education and the Bachelor of Liberal Studies), Summer and Winter Sessions, Center for Conferences and Institutes, Labor Center, Institute of Public Affairs, University Audiovisual and Video Centers, A. Craig Baird Debate, Summer Writing Festival and the Young Writers Workshop.

Rzonca took a leading role in developing the new strategic plan for distance learning at the three Regent universities. He has helped the UI College of Nursing to improve and grow off-campus and evening programs.

Rzonca earned a bachelor's degree at Central Connecticut State University, a master's at Morehead State University and a doctorate in vocational technical education at the University of Illinois. Before being tapped as interim dean of continuing education, Rzonca served the University in various capacities as a faculty member, program director and department chair in the College of Education.

The Distinguished Achievement in Nursing Award recognizes those who have excelled or made significant contributions to the field.

Martin has extensive experience in home care and community health practice, research, client records, information systems, quality improvement, and management. She currently is a health care consultant for Martin Associates after serving as director of research for the Visting Nurses Association of Omaha from 1978 through 1993. In the capacity of director of research, she developed grant proposals, organized and managed a research team, conducted and evaluated projects, and disseminated results. In addition, she was the principal investigator for two projects funded by the National Center for Nursing Research, which exceeded $1.2 million. Prior to these positions, she also worked as a nursing director, office nurse and staff nurse.

Martin has participated in more than 300 national and international workshops and presentations. She has been a Sigma Theta Tau Distinguished Lecturer since 1990, and most recently she has been a visiting professor in Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland, Japan and Taiwan. Martin has also been involved in workshops in New Zealand, Austria and Slovenia, and she has served as co-chair of the Omaha System International Conference. 

Martin is the author of more than 80 articles, chapters, and books and 70 editorials, including "Omaha System: A Key to Practice, Documentation and Information Management." She also is the co-developer of the Omaha System Web site (, and she serves on numerous editorial boards and review panels.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Nursing, 101 Nursing Building, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACT: Michele Francis, 319-335-8960,