Nursing faculty honored with state awards

November 19, 2012

Two faculty members of Emporia State University’s Newman Division of Nursing were honored recently during meetings of professional organizations in Wichita.

Sarah Tidwell was presented the 2012 President’s Award for Outstanding Service and Commitment to the Kansas State Nurses Association. Kari Hess was presented the 2012 Leader of Leaders during the Kansas Association of Nursing Students convention. Both Tidwell and Hess are assistant professors.

The KANS meeting was held in conjunction with the meeting of KSNA, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The organizations held a joint meeting Oct. 11 in Wichita.

“We in the Newman Division of Nursing are well aware of all the hard work and dedication that Sarah and Kari show every day,” said Jean DeDonder, interim chair of the nursing school. “It’s wonderful that their peers also recognize their service and chose to honor them.”

Tidwell has been a nurse since 1977 when she earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Marymount College of Salina. In 1991, she earned a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Kansas. She spent her nursing career at Newman Regional Health in Emporia where she also began teaching for the hospital’s school of nursing, which eventually partnered with Emporia State University to create the university’s Newman Division of Nursing.

After a stint as a school nurse for Emporia Public Schools, Tidwell returned to the Newman Division of Nursing in 1997.

A member of KSNA since 1987, Tidwell said it was a stint on the Kansas State Board of Nursing that pushed her to become more involved at the state level. Tidwell was appointed to the board of nursing in 1995 by Kansas Gov. Bill Graves to serve a four-year term.

“I enjoyed serving on the board of nursing,” Tidwell said. “It was a good way to really learn about statutes and regulations. I didn’t want to get out of that realm.”

Tidwell held a number of leadership positions in the state nursing association including president and legislative chairperson for District XI, which includes Emporia, as well as serving as a registered lobbyist since 2005 and legislative chairperson since 2007.

“One thing I’m most proud of,” Tidwell said, “is testifying before the Kansas Ways and Means Committee to start the Kansas Nursing Initiative monies.”

Those funds, provided to the Kansas Board of Regents, allowed nursing schools across the state to increase faculty and purchase training equipment.

Hess earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1996 from Emporia State University. She worked at Newman Regional Health, then Mercy Health Center and the Manhattan-Riley County Health Department in Manhattan before returning to Emporia and Newman. She began teaching in 2002, first for Flint Hills Technical College then Newman Division of Nursing. She earned her master’s degree in public health nursing from KU in 2009 and returned to Newman Division of Nursing as an assistant professor.

She earned the Leaders of Leaders award from the Kansas Association of Nursing Students for her role as faculty advisor for the Newman chapter of KANS. During the Oct. 11 awards luncheon, the local chapter, N-KANS, earned the Community Health Award and School Excellence Award.

“It was such an honor to receive the award of KANS Leader of Leaders and to have the nomination come from a graduate of our program,” said Hess. “The N-KANS students are the true ambassadors of our program, and I am so proud of their accomplishments.”

The recognitions cap a successful year for the Newman Division of Nursing. After graduation in May 2012, all 25 nurses in the graduating class passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, or NCLEX-RN.

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