May 19, 2020

Sedalia, Missouri – State Fair Community College Nursing instructor Sara Dunn was awarded the Missouri Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (MO OADN) Associate Degree Nursing Educator of the Year during a Health Sciences division meeting in May.

To be considered for this award, candidates must have three years teaching experience in an Associate Degree Nursing education program; spend 51 percent of workload in direct student contact either in classroom or clinical settings, hold membership in either MO OADN or Organization for Associate Degree Nursing; use innovative teaching strategies that encourage critical thinking; motivate students to perform at highest level; be a professional nurse role model; work cooperatively with colleagues; involved in college, professional and community activities.

Dunn’s colleagues who nominated her for the award referenced several qualities and examples that demonstrated her outstanding abilities as a nurse educator:

“Sara enthusiastically looks for ways to improve the nursing program learning environment to enhance student outcomes.”

“She is well-known among her team to be on the cutting edge of instruction, incorporating innovative teaching strategies to enhance critical thinking. For example Sara utilizes the flipped classroom method and applies many active learning strategies in class and clinical, such as clicker technology, case studies, concept maps, and simulation.”

“Sara reflects and makes adjustments to class and clinical based on questions she asks herself every day: Did learning occur? What could have improved learning?”

“Her approach to class and clinical instruction engages students at high levels with rigorous evaluation strategies that stretch students to heights sometimes even they didn’t know they could reach.”

Student feedback and comments on Dunn’s teaching methods described her as “supportive, encouraging, exciting, and effective.” Her peers also voiced appreciation for her suggestions based on her experiences and showing leadership in quality improvement in all areas of SFCC’s Nursing program.

Dunn participates in the Nursing Assessment (Testing) Committee (served as chairperson 2018-2019) and is lead instructor for three courses. She serves on the Pettis County Disaster Preparedness Committee and several other boards and committees.

The Organization for Associate Degree Nursing is “the voice and leading advocate for Associate Degree Nursing.” Its mission is to provide visionary leadership in nursing education to improve the health and wellbeing of the communities served. OADN ensures that Associate Degree Nursing remains a pathway for a diverse spectrum of students, enriching the profession and meeting the health care needs of patients, families and communities. OADN chapters exist in 22 states and provide educational offerings to members through conventions and a forum for staying informed on issues in nursing education within their own states. (Source: oadn.org)

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