Clarion University Nursing Department Chair and Nurse Administrator Deborah J. Kelly, DNP, RN, CHPCA, received a 2018 Cameos of Caring® Award in the category of nurse educator Saturday, Dec. 1, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.
Kelly was nominated for this award by Dean of Health Sciences and Human Services Dr. Jeffery Allen for a myriad of reasons. Allen said he repeatedly heard from alumni who were achieving success in the nursing field.
"Often times, people credited her with their success while climbing their own education ladder," Allen said.
Allen added that Kelly has had success in developing younger faculty educators from within Clarion's programs and her teaching techniques and philosophy have rubbed off on fellow faculty members who in turn prepare capable nursing students.
Kelly knew from an early age that she wanted to be a nurse. As a child, Kelly remembers listening to the stories that a neighbor, a pediatric oncology nurse, shared with her. The care and compassion that this nurse had for her patients left a lasting impression on Kelly.
After she completed her diploma at Shadyside Hospital School of Nursing, Kelly continued her education, completing her bachelor's degree at Clarion University of Pennsylvania and her master's and doctorate in nursing practice at the University of Pittsburgh.
Kelly worked as an oncology and research nurse and developed a hospice and palliative care program in rural northwestern Pennsylvania.
Her passion for nursing and a strong desire to share her knowledge and experiences led her to become a nurse educator 15 years ago. Prior to becoming department chair and nurse administrator, Kelly taught in the ASN, RN-BSN, MSN and DNP programs. She is responsible for five nursing educational programs and more than 700 students.
"She's a leader in the field. She's always an advocate for students and for patients," said Clarion University Provost Dr. Pamela Gent.
Gent said the reason Kelly is such an effective educator is because she understands how nursing students best learn.
"If you teach it in the right way, students are going to get it," Gent said.
The Cameos of Caring® Program & Awards was created in 1999 with the purpose of honoring exceptional bedside nurses who work at acute care hospitals.
The awards have expanded over the years to include additional categories recognizing the work nurses perform at multiple levels of practice, and now include five additional award categories:
•2002: Cameos of Caring® Advanced Practice Award debuted to honor nurses practicing
at a higher level of patient care and possessing a master's degree.
•2003: The School of Nursing partnered with the Center for Organ Recovery and Education to develop the Cameos of Caring® Donate Life Award, recognizing advocacy for organ and tissue donation.
- 2006: Area schools of nursing joined the Program to recognize extraordinary faculty with the Cameos of Caring®Nurse Educator Award, bringing the event full-circle as the future of nursing depends on the quality of instruction nursing students receive from today's expert nurse educators.
- 2011: The Program expanded to include the Cameos of Caring®Case Management Award.
- 2015: The Quality & Safety award category was added to recognize nurses focused on creating a culture of safety and quality patient care throughout their facility.