I am very excited and honored to be recognized yesterday for the CSU Faculty Innovation and Leadership award with another 25 amazing CSU faculty.

I have had many colleagues and friends, faculty and nurses, I know reach out to me personally, which has been so heart-warming. But, I also realize through this process that nurses, and often faculty, continue to do amazing, caring, and sometimes really hard work for patients and students, without much recognition along the way. It has been a little challenging to give myself credit for my contributions, and realize the spectrum of the work I have done, even the past year or two. I really have had to reflect on why it is difficult for me to be acknowledged on a bigger platform, and think about what might help others feel recognized. My internal critic questioned if I had really done enough and impacted nursing students, faculty, or others to receive such an honorable nomination. Yet, I also know my efforts have genuinely been directed at improving student engagement, spark ideas and innovation in teaching and learning, and provide empathetic, reflective core values for those entering the nursing profession.

This week my son, newly at middle school has told me about two teachers he really enjoys, and better yet, he is learning from. In both conversations, he indicated there are some teachers that students complain about or make fun of (middle school, remember). He shared what he liked about them, how their class was fun, and how they were helping him learn in the classroom. One class he mentioned is Math. While Isaac is a smart kid, for the past four years, math has been the thorn in my side when helping with homework, and he has been discouraged, frustrated, and in tears. This year, because of his teacher and how she teaches him, he independently does his math homework and seems to have no math-related anxiety. I told Isaac last night to tell his teachers how he felt about their class, their teaching, and what he is learning. It is only a small step toward recognizing others, but an important one. We need recognition to get through the challenging days, and not doubt our impact as nurses and educators.

I can’t wait to hear about how his middle school teachers respond. I am honored to be awarded, and grateful to have had this experience to dig a little deeper to realize the importance of recognition, in big and small ways.

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