The Central San Joaquin Valley Nursing Hall of Fame inducted former Chief Nurse Executive of Madera Community Hospital Mary Farrell and CEO of Saint Agnes Medical Center Nancy Hollingsworth at its 11th annual awards luncheon. They join a prestigious list of nursing leaders from throughout the region who have promoted the profession through a lifetime of dedicated work and achievements.

Mary Farrell

Farrell has led a 38 year career with Madera Community Hospital. Like most nurses, she started off as a staff nurse and later moved up the administrative ladder to become supervisor at the hospital. She held the position of vice president, patient care services and chief nurse executive for 17 years until her retirement this past spring.

Farrell is credited with developing the Nurse Extern Program, which allows qualified nursing students the opportunity to perform clinical rotations throughout the hospital during their last two years of nursing school and be guided one-on-one with a full-time hospital registered nurse who serves as a tutor and mentor to the student. The goal of the program is to enhance nursing skills at the bedside, while exposing students to all clinical areas of the hospital.

“Mary is very much an advocate for nursing,” said Pilar De La Cruz-Reyes, director of the Central California Center for Excellence in Nursing. “She has created her own paradigm to bring new nurses to the valley. Through her promotion of lifelong learning, she implemented the Extern Program that has helped support Fresno State School of Nursing students for years.”

Nancy Hollingsworth

Hollingsworth is a Fresno State alumna, having received her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She began her nursing career at Saint Agnes Medical Center in 1982, as a staff oncology nurse. She would then lead a lifelong career with Saint Agnes that led to many promotions and eventually in 2011, she was named as the CEO.

In her many leadership roles, Hollingsworth always upheld her passion for helping others to pursue a career in the healthcare field – especially for students in Fresno State’s School of Nursing. As a member of the Dean’s Council for the College of Health and Human Services, she helped advocate for the passage of the bill that allowed the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program to be introduced within the California State University System, with Fresno State as one of the designated sites. The DNP program has been in place since 2012.

Hollingsworth, along with the California State University, Fresno Foundation, also established the Trinity Health Scholarship Program at Fresno State, which provides financial support to students pursuing clinical degrees. Multiple scholarships have been awarded to undergraduate and graduate nursing students, since its inception.

Hollingsworth and Interim Dean of College of Health and Human Services, Jody Hironaka-Juteau (l), at the 2013 Top Dog Awards. Photo courtesy of Fresno State Alumni Association.

“Nancy epitomizes the leadership of nurses because of her ability to grow within her profession,” said De La Cruz-Reyes. “She has touched many lives throughout her career and has impacted many Fresno State nursing students through her dedication to the nursing program. Nancy is very proud to be a graduate of the Fresno State nursing program and credits much of her success to the education she received at Fresno State.”

Originated in 2004, the Nursing Hall of Fame is a collaborative project that aims to honor the distinctive careers of nurse leaders. It is sponsored by Fresno State’s School of Nursing, the Nursing Leadership Coalition of the Central San Joaquin Valley and the Mu Nu Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

The Nursing Hall of Fame plaque is displayed proudly outside of the School of Nursing office in Fresno State’s McLane Hall, along with other historic nursing memorabilia.

For more information on the Nursing Hall of Fame, contact Pilar De La Cruz-Reyes at 559.228.2155.