In honor of her demonstrated commitment to the nursing profession for more than 40 years, Omaha Central High School inducted Clarkson College Dean of Nursing Dr. Aubray Orduña into its Hall of Fame on Oct. 6. She was one of just 10 alumni, ranging from the classes of 1902 to 1967, to be inducted this year.
Born in Palestine, Ark., Dr. Orduña is the daughter of rural farmers who moved their family to Omaha in the 1950s to escape heavy segregation in the Southern U.S. After graduating from Omaha Central High School in 1965, some coaxing from friends took Dr. Orduña back to the South to attend Murray State University in Kentucky.
Married by the time she graduated with her BSN degree in 1970, Dr. Orduña relocated to Pittsburgh after her husband accepted a job offer with IBM. Due to a nursing shortage at the time, she was able to secure a job soon after moving. “The hospital [where Dr. Orduña worked] was large and a great place to gain experience,” she said.
Dr. Orduña returned to Omaha in 1975 to serve as a unit nurse at Clarkson Hospital. Her skills and leadership abilities were quickly recognized and earned her the title of assistant head nurse.
A career move to become a nursing instructor at Clarkson College in 1979 set Dr. Orduña on a 10-year teaching track. Then, in 1989, she accepted an offer to return to the hospital in an administrative role, and by 1995 she rose to Director of Evaluation and Case Management.
The hospital would eventually, once again, have to let Dr. Orduña continue her career goals. “I returned to Clarkson College in 2000 when Dr. Upright [Clarkson College President at the time] offered me the opportunity to be the Director of Diversity Services, oversee the Gateway to Success Scholarship program part-time and teach nursing, as well.”
From that point on, Dr. Orduña continued to advance up the leadership ladder at the College. She served as the director of the Practical Nursing program, which transpired into overseeing all undergraduate Nursing programs. In October 2009, she accepted her current Dean of Nursing role. Aside from her mentorship in establishing the Gateway to Success Scholarship program, Dr. Orduña considers leading the development of the DNP and Ed.D. programs her proudest professional accomplishment.
In addition to her contributions at Clarkson College, Dr. Orduña has also served as president of the Omaha Black Nurses’ Association since 2005 and has received numerous awards, including a positive image of nursing award from the Nebraska Nurses Association, the Clarkson College Caring Kind Award and a volunteer of the year award from the Kidney Foundation of Nebraska.
Given the numerous honors and opportunities Dr. Orduña has earned throughout her nursing career, she says she is “most grateful for being able to share the journeys of so many unique and special patients and families, students and colleagues.”
As for her own family, Dr. Orduña is a proud mother of three children. Her eldest daughter, Cheri Ricks-Medley, works in customer service for CenturyLink in Omaha and has two sons—Robert Medley III, PFC 1st Class US Army, stationed in Kuwait; and Jaheem Medley, age 11. Her son, John E. Orduña, has a Master of Arts degree in Performance Arts, Vocal Performance and lives in Chicago where he works with the Chicago Lyric Opera and Grant Parks Chorus. Adryanne Orduña graduated from the Clarkson College BSN program in April 2014 and works at Nebraska Methodist Hospital. She has a 7-year-old daughter named Jordyn.
Though her recent induction to the Omaha Central High School Hall of Fame will top the list of accolades that precede her, Dr. Orduña remains humble. Her hope in life is “to be remembered as a hardworking, caring, committed person with integrity.” Many who know Dr. Orduña would attest that her final wish has already been achieved.