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University of South Florida

USF Health College of Nursing earns national award for efforts during pandemic

The USF Health College of Nursing received the Education Impact Award from the Association of American Colleges of Nursing (AACN) for work to retain students and develop more practice-ready nursing professionals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The national recognition, which came at the group’s conference held in October, was presented by Skyfactor Benchworks, a Macmillan Learning brand that provides research-based program benchmarking and assessments.

Dr. Elizabeth “Betty” Jordan and Dr. L. Alan Todd accepting the AACN Education Impact Award.

The pandemic exacerbated an already existing shortage of about six million nurses and presented unique challenges for nursing education programs. A fall 2020 National Institutes of Health report found that, in addition to disrupting universities and academic institutions, ethical and logistical concerns remained about how to support clinical training in crowded hospitals. Despite the challenges during the pandemic, the USF Health College of Nursing continued its mission to prepare practice-ready nurses, using assessments to drive decisions that supported student engagement and success.

“Earning the Education Impact Award from the AACN further showcases our commitment to bold innovation and excellence in nursing education,” said Dr. Usha Menon, dean of the USF Health College of Nursing and senior associate vice president for USF Health. “Our Trailblazing faculty, staff and students are part of the solution to combat the nursing shortage crisis.”

“Even before the pandemic began, there was incredible demand for well-qualified and trained nurses. This year it was important for us to recognize USF Health College of Nursing for the many innovative ways the school overcame pandemic-related challenges to pave the way for the next generation of practice-ready nurses,” said Steven Ray, vice president of Enterprise Solutions for Macmillan Learning.

Education Impact Award winners were selected using a multi-step evaluation process that included an analysis of multi-year assessment data by the Benchworks Analytics and Research Team that identified programs that either had the best results or best increases in performance in areas like course interactions and quality of instruction, as well as interviews with nursing program administrators. Benchworks assessments have been available for more than 20 years and are used by more than 250 nursing programs each year, making them the most widely used programs in nursing education.