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Nursing faculty member at Northwestern State wins national award
May 09, 2012 | 394 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rebecca Harrell, an assistant professor of nursing at Northwestern State University, has been named one of the first recipients on the Nurse’s Touch Award presented by ATI Nursing Education.

Harrell, who teaches at Northwestern State’s Cenla campus, was nominated by a colleague for the honor. She was selected for embracing technology, demonstrating excellent interpersonal and interprofessional communication skills and exemplifying and encouraging students to balance personal and professional needs.

“Nurses and nurse educators rarely slow down to celebrate and recognize one another so this award is a great honor,” said Harrell. “The increasing attention on soft skills only further demonstrates how nurses and educators must take care of themselves to be successful. To provide patient-centered care requires nurses to take care of themselves, so they can deliver the best care and focus on the patient.”

Harrell has been a nurse educator for 21 years and her career in nursing spans more than three decades. She has been at Northwestern State for seven years teaching in the BSN program. Harrell also volunteers her time at rural healthcare clinics in the area.

“We are honored to recognize Rebecca for her commitment to developing communications, professionalism and similar ‘soft skills’ in future nurses,” said Sheryl Sommer, director of nursing education and curriculum at ATI Nursing Education. “Nursing programs have limited time and resources, which means these skills are rarely a top priority in the classroom. Under her guidance, nursing students at Northwestern State University are receiving exposure to abilities that will help them function as leaders of the healthcare team and be a patient advocate.”

Highlights from the nomination included the following:

“Rebecca is an excellent nurse educator who consistently displays professionalism in the clinical and classroom environment. She is a mentor to other faculty and has excellent interpersonal and interprofessional communication skills. She has embraced informatics technology and keeps up to date with advanced technology.”

“Perhaps most importantly she values ‘work ethics’ and has figured out how to balance the requirements of work and personal life successfully. She cares for her personal needs and has been able to maintain physical health, emotional health and family relationships throughout a career in education that spans approximately 25 years.”

ATI Nursing Education worked with nurse educators, curriculum developers and psychometricians on a new curriculum for nursing students, Nurse’s Touch, which helps students develop the social and personal skills that they will need to become successful nurses. Students learn these “soft skills” through interactive simulations, case studies and tutorials. For more information on Nurse’s Touch, visit

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