Nurse Practitioner in Baylor's Louise Herrington School of Nursing Chosen for Excellence Award

Lori pic
Nurse Practitioner Lori Spies of Louise Herrington School of Nursing (Photo by Becky Robbins, Louise Herrington School of Nursing)
Feb. 25, 2014

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WACO, Texas (Feb. 25, 2014) -- Lori Spies, R.N., a nurse practitioner and senior lecturer in Baylor University's Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) in Dallas, has been named one of 24 registered nurses chosen for D Magazine's third annual Excellence in Nursing Awards.

More than 450 registered nurses were nominated across 25 categories in the Dallas awards. Spies won the award for the nurse practitioner-primary care category.

Shelley Conroy, Ph.D., dean of LHSON, was named a finalist in the leadership category, while Jane Nunnelee, Ph.D., a senior lecturer at LHSON, was a finalist in the geriatrics category.

Spies, a stay-at-home mother until 20 years ago, decided to go to nursing school when her youngest daughter started kindergarten. She completed her Ph.D. dissertation, which is about nursing in Africa. Each spring, she takes a group of Baylor students to Ethiopia so they can obtain clinical hours toward their degree by working in a mission clinic. During the summer, she spends a few weeks in Uganda conducting research and orchestrating workshops on nursing research and clinical topics. She also has traveled to Argentina, Honduras, Mexico, India, Vietnam and China for her work.

Many of her nurse practitioner students in Dallas have gone on to help underserved individuals locally at places like the Agape Clinic in Dallas and Mission East Dallas, as well as distant locations, among them Guatemala, Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea.

"I chose to become a nurse because I wanted to be able to contribute meaningfully to global health, and I knew nursing skills would enable me to do that," Spies said. "I have been able to work in more settings and in ways I never imagined. I am grateful for my global nursing colleagues and the support I receive from Baylor University.

"I was surprised and pleased to be chosen for this award," she said. "I am proud of my profession and know many nurses and nurse practitioners who quietly provide great care and do wonderful things with little acknowledgement. I appreciate that D Magazine chooses to recognize our contributions as nurses."

D Magazine praised the men and women who won awards for their "hard work, sharp minds and easy bedside manner," noting that they go "go above and beyond to make North Texas a healthier place to live."


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


The Baylor Louise Herrington School of Nursing was established in 1909 as a diploma program within Baylor Hospital in Dallas, which is now Baylor University Medical Center, and in 1950 became one of the six degree-granting schools of Baylor University. The first Bachelor of Science in nursing degrees were awarded in 1954, establishing the school as one of the oldest baccalaureate nursing programs in the United States. In 1999, the School was renamed the Louise Herrington School of Nursing after Louise Herrington Ornelas, a 1992 Baylor Alumna Honoris Causa, made a $13 million endowment gift to the school. The School of Nursing offers a bachelor of science in nursing degree and a master of science in nursing degrees in advanced neonatal nursing, nursing administration and management, and family nurse practitioner programs, which are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The School also offers a nurse midwifery doctorate in nursing practice.

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