Susan Jacobs says she feels particularly grateful for her New Year's Honour "because I'm not a native New Zealander".
Dr Jacobs, the dean of the faculty of Education, Humanities and Health Science at EIT, arrived at the institute from Portland, Oregon, in 1986, and has had a significant impact on its development over the ensuing 28 years.
She has been honoured for her services to nursing education, having played a pivotal role in positioning EIT as a leading provider of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
A dean since 1993, and one of only two deans at EIT, she was instrumental in the development of a joint memorial scholarship between Hawke's Bay District Health Board's Maori Workforce Strategy and the School of Nursing.
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Since 2006, she has been the Chair of the Stewart Centre at EIT Trust, a brain injury rehabilitation service. She was a member of the Management Board for Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, and was founder and member of the Editorial Board for Vision: A Journal of Nursing. She is a Fellow of the College of Nurses Aotearoa, New Zealand.
"Looking back, particularly at nursing, the moment I am perhaps proudest of was when the NZQA panel told us in 2002 that they were going to approve the Master of Nursing for accreditation," Dr Jacobs says.
"That was EIT's first masters degree and it was particularly lovely to see that masters because it was jointly accredited by the Nursing Council of New Zealand and NZQA. It led to a pathway for nurses to become nurse practitioners - the highest qualification of practice for nurses."
While her current role is much wider than just nurse education, nursing remains close to her heart because it is where her own career started, she says.
"People say once a nurse, always a nurse and I wouldn't disagree with that at all. I'm very proud of my nursing profession and I'm certainly motivated to do things that will benefit nurses and ultimately the people that they serve."