Former UCF Nursing Professor Jacqueline Fowler Byers of Oviedo died June 18 from complications associated with chronic illness. She was 56.

Byers held a variety of nursing positions throughout her career. She served as a professor at the University of Central Florida College of Nursing from 1998 to 2012 before retiring. Previously she spent seven years at Orlando Health in leadership roles, including education specialist, director of research, and corporate administrator of quality management and performance improvement.

Additionally, Byers spent six years working in critical care at St. Joseph Hospital and Health Center in Bryan, Texas, after a two-year stint in West Germany, where she served as school nurse at an American high school and as a clinical nurse for the U.S. Army. She also held clinical positions at Vanderbilt University Hospital and Duke University Hospital.

“This is such sad news as we remember Jacquie, her leadership in nursing and her many contributions to the profession,” said Dr. Jean D’Meza Leuner, dean of the UCF College of Nursing. “Through her work and her research, she touched many lives and made a lasting impact on the college. She will be sorely missed by everyone who had the privilege to know her.”

Byers was an author and researcher who mentored many students and colleagues. Her passion was promoting quality patient outcomes, evidence-based practice and patient safety in acute care. She authored 60 peer-reviewed publications and numerous book chapters, and presented at more than 50 national and international meetings. She also wrote one of the first textbooks on patient safety, Patient Safety: Principles and Practice.

Byers received numerous honors and awards throughout her career, including being selected for the inaugural class of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows program. A Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, Byers was also active in many professional organizations, including the National Association of Healthcare Quality, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and the Florida Organization of Nurse Executives.

Byers achieved national certifications as an advanced nurse executive and professional in healthcare quality. She received her BSN from Duke University, her MSN from Vanderbilt University, and a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Florida.

She is survived by her husband, Rob; sons, Ross and Matt; sisters, Joan Thomas and Diane Fowler; brother, Frank Fowler; and mother, Patricia Rapp.

A memorial celebration will be held 10 a.m. July 13 at the Fairwinds Alumni Center at the University of Central Florida, 12676 Gemini Blvd. North.

A scholarship has been established in Byers’ name at the UCF College of Nursing. Contributions to the Dr. Jacqueline Byers Memorial Nursing Scholarship can be made online