Desma Reno has been a Registered Nurse for 49 years. She served as a faculty member at Southeast Missouri State University for 37 years and has taught in associate, baccalaureate, and graduate programs. She has also worked for the State Veterans Commission, in acute and long-term care facilities. She recently retired in June 2020 as Professor Emerita in Nursing. During her tenure at Southeast Missouri State University, she served as the Program Director for the RN-BSN Online Program and as the Director of the Institute of Gerontology on the university campus. Ms. Reno’s expertise is in gerontology, leadership/management, and health policy. Her passion is being able to give back to the Southeast Region and actively promotes the advancement of education for nurses in completion of a baccalaureate and graduate degree and continuing nursing education in general.
Desma Reno graduated from Three Rivers Community College-Poplar Bluff, Missouri in 1974, completed BSN from Southeast Missouri State University, MSN from University of Central Arkansas and is a doctoral candidate at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale as a PhD student in Workforce Education. Ms. Reno is also certified as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Gerontology and has served as a Nursing Home Administrator in the state of Missouri. Post retirement, she is a Nurse Consultant and is a certified instructor/trainer for Mental Health First Aid for youth and adult programs. During the pandemic she served as a Nurse Contact Tracer for the Department of Public Safety at Southeast Missouri State University.
Ms. Reno research interests speak to her passion about older adult issues, chronic disease, nursing workforce and policy. She has served as project director for a variety of grants related to serving the healthcare needs of older adult with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Most recently she was project manager for a CDC grant for Mental Health First Aid in Missouri.
Ms Reno has been an active member of the Immune Deficiency Foundation where she was instrumental in forming a national nurse advisory groups that serves to advise the organization. Along with this, she is a national Peer Support volunteer for family members who are caring for those with immune deficiency. Her advocacy passion has aligned with these interests with her activities in the legislative arena where she has provided testimony to congressional committees at both the state and national level of the care of those with rare diseases, healthcare reform and nursing workforce issues.
Ms. Reno is a member of a variety of professional nursing organizations. She has many years of service to the Missouri Nurses Association serving in several official capacities including serving as an outstanding leader in our regional structure. She was a two-term President of the Missouri Nurses Association from 1997-2001. Ms Reno served as the elected Missouri Delegate to the American Nurses Association assembly from 1995-2017. In addition, she has served on a variety of committees, task forces and coalitions at both the state and national level. She has been appointed to several state commissions and task forces including work on healthcare workforce, aging, and mental health first aid.
For example, in July 2018 she was appointed to an Aging in Convening Group with the Missouri Foundation for Health. Other work related to her passion include working on state and national committees on opioid abuse, dental healthcare, fall prevention community-based programs, mental health first aid, and chronic care management.
Ms Reno has served as a State Consultant for the Missouri Nursing Students’ Association for the past 21 years, President of Lambda Theta Chapter for Sigma Theta Tau, Board member for the Area Agency on Aging in Southeast Missouri, Board President for Southeast Missouri Area Health Education Center, and as Chair for the Southeast Regional Missouri Nurses Association. She has served on the Nominating Committee for the American Nurses’ Association.
It is with great pleasure that I represent the Missouri Nurses Association in bestowing the Hall of Fame award to Desma Reno.