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Program highlights standout nursing faculty

thumb_Bedelia_RussellBedelia RussellThe Whitson-Hester School of Nursing at Tennessee Tech University is pleased to announce that Bedelia Russell has earned the designation Certified Nurse Educator after meeting strict eligibility criteria and successfully completing a rigorous certification examination developed and administered by the National League for Nursing.

She is one of only 40 Certified Nurse Educators in the state of Tennessee and the first faculty member within the Whitson-Hester School of Nursing to obtain this designation.

Russell earned her bachelor of science degree in nursing from TTU and holds the master of science degree from Vanderbilt University. Her extensive clinical background includes acute and critical care nursing with a major emphasis in adult and pediatric cardiovascular and transplant surgery.

A tenured member of the faculty and a nurse educator for 10 years, she fulfills this role while still maintaining clinical practice in the area of pediatric primary care. In her academic role, she coordinates several courses in the undergraduate program as well as teaches in the graduate program. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in nursing through East Tennessee State University with an emphasis in nursing education.

In addition to her new CNE designation, Russell holds two other national certifications, one as a Perioperative Registered Nurse and the other as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.

The NLN's Academic Nurse Educator Certification Program has conferred new visibility and stature upon the academic nursing community, long overdue, said Beverly Malone, chief executive officer of the NLN.

"Through the certification program, we have made clear to the ranks of higher education that the role of nurse educator is an advanced professional practice discipline with a defined practice setting and demonstrable standards of excellence," she said.

In years to come, it is hoped that certified nurse educators will command higher salaries and be first in line for promotions and tenure, she said.

In 2009, 502 nurse educators were awarded the CNE credential. Since the unveiling of the program in Fall 2005 through Dec. 31, 2009, 1,993 nurse educators representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have become CNEs.