Sheryl Jenkins and Teresa Valerio were named the 2014 Illinois Board of Higher Education Nurse Educators of the Year.
This is a $10,000 award given through the Nurse Educator Fellowship Program. The program’s purpose is to reward outstanding nursing faculty and provide funds for the qualified faculty to remain at Illinois institutions of higher learning.
Valerio said the primary use of the funds is for professional development which includes continuing education programs and conferences.
“I plan to use these funds to learn how to conduct a Systematic Reviews of the evidence-based practice literature using the Joanna Briggs Institute database recently obtained by Milner Library,” Valerio said.
“The learning will further develop my scholarship activities and assist Doctor of Nursing Practice students with their final DNP scholarship project.”
Jenkins plans on using her research funds in a different way. Her goal is to focus on healthcare for the homeless. She will be visiting a large homeless facility in Chicago called Jesus People USA as well as a social justice conference in New Orleans in the fall.
Aside from being an associate professor, Jenkins currently volunteers at the Immanuel Health Center in Bloomington as a nurse practitioner serving low income patients. She also works at a homeless ministry called the Jesus House. Valerio teaches Family Nurse Practitioner and DNP students at the Mennonite College of Nursing. She is also a Family Nurse Practitioner at ISU’s Student Health Services and has served on the University Wellness Council.
“I feel very honored to be selected by the IBHE Board for this award,” Valerio said.
“These fellowships are competitive and two Mennonite College of Nursing faculty, Dr. Sheryl Jenkins and myself, were among the 22 educators selected for 2014.”
Valerio received her B.S. in nursing from Bradley University, her M.S.A. in health care administration from Central Michigan University and her M.S.N. in family nurse practitioner from ISU. She also has a certification and various licenses.
“I received my master’s in nursing from the University of Illinois-Chicago and my PhD in education administration from ISU,” Jenkins said.
Both women have done a large amount of work inside the nursing field and with the community. Their use of this award will educate the campus and the community on new research findings. Valerio also has some encouraging words for anyone interested in the nursing profession.
“As a nurse with experience in patient care, health systems leadership, advanced nursing practice, teaching and research, I can attest to the value of a nursing education,” Valerio said.
“As a nurse, we have a unique role in increasing the health and quality-of-life of our patients that is well worth the intellectual, emotional, and physical challenge of nursing.”