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Walden Magazine // Jan 09, 2012

Outstanding Alumni Award: Creating Continuing Education for School Nurses

“Someone took the time to help me when I was transitioning into school nursing,” explains Tia Campbell ’08, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) alumna who received Walden University’s 2012 Outstanding Alumni Award. “If we want to be recognized as experts, we have to take the time to groom the leaders who are coming behind us.”

Norma Bergey ’10, who also earned her MSN from Walden and nominated Campbell for the award, emphasized that her approach to mentorship is exactly why Campbell deserves the award. “Tia is an inspiration to school nurses,” Bergey wrote. “Her two-year term as National Association of School Nurses’ (NASN) vice president positioned her to help other nurses become lifelong learners and scholars of change. She is an outstanding educator and leader.” Campbell has recently been re-elected for a second two-year term.

Campbell received this award for another reason. She wanted to have an impact beyond the face-to-face mentorships in schools or presentations she could give to audiences like those at NASN, so she used the opportunity her capstone project presented to create an “Online Orientation for School Nurses.” The program allows school nurses in Virginia to become familiar with the scope and standards of school nursing practice, professional practice in the school setting, state laws and the deadlines they are legally required to meet—and, most importantly, to stop and start training as needed.

The project, which is now being used across Virginia, is considered a national model. Campbell has presented the program and on-site training that mirrors it at national conferences. She’s also shared her knowledge to help others adapt the orientation program to their state laws.

“School nurses are running small emergency rooms,” Campbell says. “They have to be really sharp. They have the assessment skills, but they also need administrative skills and to know the state’s legal requirements.”

As a school health specialist for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Campbell is no longer in a school every day. Instead she provides technical assistance to school divisions regarding school health issues, conducts education for school nurses across the state, and does a fair amount of problem-solving with administrators, teachers, and parents.

Sharing your knowledge is crucial. “I love sharing what I’ve learned. If I find it helpful, I want to share it with others,” she says. “Every opportunity we have to learn something is knowledge gained.”

Whether you choose to share through mentorships, articles, or presentations, “start small,” she says. “It’s a lot less stressful to talk through something with a small group at a table than to present to a large audience. Research well and anticipate questions. I can guarantee you are an expert at something. Develop your passions and share it with others.”

About the Award
The Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes a Walden graduate who exemplifies the Walden scholar-practitioner model, and who has made exceptional contributions to his or her profession, discipline, or community since graduation.

Read more about the Outstanding Alumni Award and past recipients.