Tallahassee, Fla. - Barbara Lumpkin, a nursing legend and advocate for more than four decades, passed away last night at the age of 81. Lumpkin was recently honored by the Florida Legislature and Governor Rick Scott through the Barbara Lumpkin Prescribing Act, which increased the scope of practice for advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) and physician assistants.
Lumpkin, originally from Ohio, earned her nursing degree in 1958 and worked clinically for 16 years before moving to Florida in 1974 to work for the Florida Nurses Association (FNA), where she led the FNA's Legislative Program. Lumpkin joined Baptist Health South Florida in 2007.
In 2016, Lumpkin shared her advice to young nurses with the Orlando Sentinel:
"My advice is to keep learning. When you think about what I've seen in my lifetime, think about what they're going to see with genetics and genomes and all of the research that's going on now. The world is your oyster. But there's one thing that will always be important in health care and that's the human connection with patients. That's where nursing has an opportunity that other professions don't have, because we're really the closest to the patients."
Rick Scott, Governor of Florida:
"Barbara Lumpkin was a relentless supporter of patients, nurses and the nursing profession in Florida. My wife, Ann, and I send our sincerest condolences to her family and friends."
Bill Nelson, U.S. Senator:
"Barbara Lumpkin was a champion for nursing and access to healthcare. While we mourn her loss, we also celebrate her life, her service, and her immense legacy. She defined what it means to care deeply for others, and to use her compassion to get things done through the legislative process. We are all grateful."
Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator:
"I am saddened by the loss of nursing champion Barbara Lumpkin. We are grateful for her service to our state, our nurses, and all those in need of compassionate care."
Charlie Crist, Congressman and Former Governor of Florida:
"Barbara Lumpkin represented the best of the nursing and healthcare profession in our state. We will remember her for her decades of advocacy, selflessness, and service to our state. And we will honor her by serving others with the same compassion, kindness, and tenacity that made her so dearly loved."
Jeb Bush, Former Governor of Florida:
"Barbara Lumpkin was unmatched in her advocacy on behalf of nurses. She accomplished so much for so many, and her legacy will live on through the caring, hardworking nurses she loved so much."
Denise Grimsley, Florida State Senator:
"Barbara Lumpkin was a friend, a mentor and an inspiration to so many. She was a nurse at Highlands General Hospital in Sebring the year I was born, and led the Florida Nurses Association the year I was first elected. We worked together to pass the Nurse Prescribing Act that I renamed the Barbara Lumpkin Act, a proud moment for both of us. I will miss Barbara's wisdom, her wit, and we take comfort in the inspiration and example of her life, so very well-lived."
Phillis Oeters, Vice President of Government Relations, Baptist Health South Florida:
"Barbara Lumpkin was a trailblazer, a mentor, and a friend to all nurses. I worked alongside her for decades and know that her advocacy saved and improved countless lives, and will continue to do so for future generations. She was truly a giant of the nursing profession and I will deeply miss my friend."
Martha DeCastro, Vice President for Nursing and Clinical Care Policy, Florida Hospital Association:
"For more than 40 years, Barbara Lumpkin dedicated her life and esteemed career to ensure nurses could provide the highest quality of care to all Floridians. She tirelessly advocated for policies to increase patient access and improve clinical performance. Her life's work culminated with the passage of the Nurse Prescribing Act in 2016. The outpouring of support from nurses across the state is a testament to her incredible legacy. I am so very grateful for her life, her passion, and for her friendship."
Willa Fuller, RN, Executive Director, Florida Nurses Association:
"Barbara Lumpkin was the backbone of the FNA legislative program for over 30 years. She has educated and mentored countless nurses and built the foundation for a strong presence for nurses in the health policy arena in our state as well as nationally. Her legacy is undeniable. She will be missed."
Alan Levine, former Secretary of the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration:
"Barbara Lumpkin was a nurse who rose in her profession to lead the Florida Nurses Association. She was a kind, empathetic woman, passionate about the nursing profession, and had a steady firmness about her that made her both credible and helpful. She will be missed. I'm praying for her to be at peace. She so deserves that."