(L-R) Kimberly Koontz, APRN, FNP, Jessica Schneider, APRN, WHNP, Sandra Tate, APN-CS, Eliza Smith, APRN, FNP-BC, and Jeanne Hancock, APRN, FNP-BC.EDWARDSVILLE – In recognition of the critical role preceptors play in preparing nurse practitioner students, the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Nursing (SON) has presented five preceptor excellence awards.

“Preceptors are one of the most important mentors to our nurse practitioner students,” said SON’s Bernadette Sobczak, DNP, clinical assistant professor and family nurse practitioner program clinical site coordinator. “Nurse practitioners and healthcare professionals are faced with increasing responsibilities and demands in our complex healthcare system. Precepting a student, while it is rewarding, it is extremely time consuming yet critically important to have quality healthcare providers in the community. We just want to recognize these advanced practice nurses and physicians for the excellent job they do mentoring our students.”

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The SON has agreements with preceptors in a variety of settings, providing care to a wide range of populations and at diverse sites in Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin and even Florida. Students in the SON’s doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program were asked to nominate outstanding preceptors. A committee of SON faculty then reviewed the nominees, selecting winners in the categories of family practice, women’s health, mental health, pediatrics and specialty area.

Family Practice: Kimberly Koontz, APRN, FNP, Springfield Clinic.

"Kimberly established an atmosphere that was inviting to questions and allowed for infinite amounts of different patient experiences,” said DNP student Kayla Green, Koontz’s nominator. “She provided learning experiences with every patient by asking questions about what I thought we could do for the patient, explaining special assessments, allowing time to research specific diagnoses and allowing for hands-on opportunities that provided a greater knowledge of abnormal findings. The amount of time and expertise that she was able to share with me was invaluable.”

Women’s Health: Jessica Schneider, APRN, WHNP, West End OBGYN, St. Louis, Mo.

Jessica Landrum, DNP student and Schneider’s nominator said, “This was my first time working in women’s health. Jessica took the time to make sure I felt confident when caring for patients. She provided numerous learning opportunities and discussed many important topics with me. She taught me many skills and provided me with constructive feedback. She is a great teacher and takes the time to make sure her students are successful.”

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Mental Health: Sandra Tate, APN-CS, Tate Psychiatric, Southern Illinois

" Sandra was awesome to work with,” said Tate’s nominator Camille Roland, DNP student. “Her primary patients are pediatrics, there is a lot to filter through when working with this group. You not only have to balance the patient but also the parents. She taught me a great deal and how to juggle both. I appreciate her insight and dedication to the rural Illinois population. She cares for many people and loves what she does.”

Pediatrics: Eliza Smith, APRN, FNP-BC, Sarah Bush Lincoln Pediatric Clinic, Mattoon, Ill.

" “When I went into my pediatric clinical, I knew pediatrics was something I had thought about pursuing post school, but I also quickly realized I was uncomfortable and didn’t know exactly what I needed to do,” said DNP student Kaylee Beals, Smith’s nominator. “Eliza took the time over the semester to slowly acclimate me to pediatrics. She taught me her assessment techniques, charting techniques and so much more. I look forward to working with Eliza again next semester to learn even more about caring for the pediatric population.”

Specialty Area: Jeanne Hancock, APRN, FNP-BC, Christian Northwest Healthcare, Florissant, Mo.

“Jeanne is so incredibly knowledgeable and bright,” said Hancock’s nominator Alissa Struble, DNP student. “She exudes all the great characteristics of an incredible nurse. She is compassionate, caring and intuitive. Jeanne is one reason why I decided to return to school to become a nurse practitioner myself.”

The School of Nursing’s programs are committed to creating excellence in nursing leadership through innovative teaching, evidence-based practice, quality research, patient advocacy and community service. Enrolling more than 1,700 students in its baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders in pursuit of shaping the nursing profession and impacting the health care environment. SIUE’s undergraduate nursing programs on the Edwardsville campus help to solve the region’s shortage of baccalaureate-prepared nurses and enhance the quality of nursing practice within all patient service venues. The School’s graduate programs prepare nurses for advanced roles in clinical practice, administration and education.

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