State Nurses Association honors NSU faculty member for community work

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Dr. Pamela Simmons

SHREVEPORT – Northwestern State University Senior Director of Nursing Dr. Pamela B. Simmons has received the Nightingale Award for Outstanding Community Achievement from the Louisiana State Nurses Association.

The criteria for the award required the recipient to demonstrate exemplary leadership in voluntary activities within community organizations such as schools, churches, agencies, etc., have demonstrations of significant accomplishments in the community, have evidence of activities that have yielded a positive impact on the health and welfare of the community and its citizens and participation in professional/community organizations.

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Simmons has served at Life United (formerly Word of Life Center) in several capacities over the past 36 years, including serving on the Women’s Executive Board, participating in choir as part of the praise and worship team and choir president, and serving in a variety of activities including women’s activities throughout the year. She was worked with Mary J. Pickens Ministries since 2006, editing the ministry’s newsletters, books and brochures. Simmons and her husband purchase, prepare and serve food to the homeless in downtown Shreveport.

She served as a member of the Board of Directors and co-chair of the Health Education Committee of the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission, developing a health education program for homeless residents. Simmons is a member of the Board of Directors for Pick It Forward for Orphans, Inc. which gives support to children who are orphaned or are in foster care.

Simmons was a member of the Louisiana Action Coalition Diversity Think Tank Planning Committee in 2015 and is a member of the Louisiana Action Coalition Diversity Steering Committee. She was a volunteer APRN for the Arterberry Family Care Center from  2014-2016 and served for three years as camp nurse at a religious summer camp in Texas. Simmons volunteered as a science fair judge at Princeton Elementary School for a number of years and was a Boy Scout and Girl Scout Adult Volunteer/Troop Leader.

Several hundred residents have benefitted from the classes she developed for the homeless population at the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission. Other ventures included initiating and implementing the “sock drive” for the mission, a service learning project that NSU students supported widely.  Simmons also likes to put her money where it can help others, including donations help provide bags for chemotherapy patients that are being treated at Ochsner Health Care Cancer Center. These bags get first-time patients started with the needed items (lotions, hats, fuzzy socks, blankets, mints, gum, etc.) to ease the discomforts of chemo. The bags are also filled with spiritual material to encourage the patients in their fight for survival. Through her volunteer work with Pick It Forward for Orphans she has helped provide uniforms to orphans in Tanzania, housing and schooling for pregnant/new mothers in Panama and playground equipment for orphans in Panama. With the assistance of various local churches, the organization was able to build a classroom, equipped with a kitchen to teach reading, math, social skills, and homemaking skills to the pregnant teams unable to attend school. The organization also makes needed donations to children in foster care in the regional community, including providing support to foster families in the form of diapers, baby equipment, respite childcare. Simmons and her husband have supported children in New York city and the Philippines for more than 30 years.

Simmons is vice-chair of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education Board of Commissioners, the premier nursing accreditation body, where she has served in a variety of leadership position for the organization. She previously served as the board’s secretary. She has also served on the Accreditation Review Committee (member and co-chair), Standards Committee, and the Nominating Committee (chair).  She currently participates on the Substantive Change Review Committee. She is active in a number of state and national professional nursing organizations.

Simmons has been a member of Northwestern State’s nursing faculty for 20 years. Since 2010, she has been senior director and department head in the College of Nursing. Simmons has responsibility for directing the ASN, BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, DNP and Post Master’s Certificate programs. She teaches core courses in the graduate program and provides leadership in curriculum development and program effectiveness for the graduate and undergraduate nursing programs. Simmons’ responsibilities also include teaching selected courses in the MSN and DNP programs. She holds the Ann Splon Coughlin Endowed Professorship.