Florida politicians reflect on passing of nursing legend Barbara Lumpkin - Florida Politics

Florida politicians reflect on passing of nursing legend Barbara Lumpkin

Barbara Lumpkin, a widely respected nurse and advocate in the Sunshine State, sadly passed away Thursday night at the age of 81.

An Ohio native, Lumpkin worked as a nurse for 16 years prior to moving in 1974 to Florida. There, she began work as a lobbyist for the 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,” FNA Executive Director Willa Fuller said. “Her legacy is undeniable. She will be missed.”

She joined Baptist Health South Florida in 2007, but the fruits of her labor at FNA would continue to be witnessed almost a decade later.

Lumpkin — who was a fixture in the Capitol during legislative sessions — was “a trailblazer” and “giant of the nursing profession,” said Phillis Oeters, vice president of government relations for Baptist Health South Florida.

In 2016, the state passed the Barbara Lumpkin Prescribing Act. The legislation, backed by FNA, had appeared before the legislature for 22 years prior. The law permits advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe controlled substances.

“Her life’s work culminated with the passage of the Nurse Prescribing Act in 2016,” said Martha DeCastro, Vice President for Nursing and Clinical Care Policy at the Florida Hospital Association. “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.”

Appreciation of her work and the widespread impact of her influence are evident. On Friday, a handful of politicians from both parties mourned Lumpkin’s passing. 

Gov. Rick Scott:

“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.”

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson:

“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.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio:

“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.”

Former Governor and U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist:

“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.”

Former Gov. Jeb Bush:

“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.”

State Sen. Denise Grimsley:

“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.”  

The News Service of Florida contributed to this post.

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