by Julie Heflin
If a person truly enjoys what they do – people take notice.
“I feel blessed every day I come to work because I love my job,” said Heather Mitchell, MSN, RN, assistant professor, School of Nursing.
For all but one of the last ten semesters, each graduating undergraduate class has voted for Mitchell as their favorite teacher – earning her the school’s “Outstanding BSN Faculty Award”
for nine semesters. The award is given during each spring, summer and fall convocation.
Students vote based on several criteria: generosity in outlook, breadth and variety in teaching, inspiration, currency, ethics, forethought, flexibility and motivation for professional development.
“What makes Heather so great is her humility and talent in being direct, down to earth and approachable – students obviously respect her,” said Marcia Hern, EdD, CNS, RN, dean and professor, UofL School of Nursing.
Emily Wright is a May 2011 nursing school graduate. She credits Mitchell for her success as a new nurse at a local hospital.
“During my years at UofL, Ms. Mitchell was not only my educator and advocate, but also a kind confidant in whom I could always find reassurance,” Wright said. “Her lectures were interactive and engaging, full of real world experiences and up to date with current nursing practices. The University of Louisville should be honored to employ such a passionate educator.”
Mitchell says she works hard to help students understand how to translate their education into the workforce.
“Students know I hold them to a high standard,” she said. “I want to be the person students can role model their nursing practice.”
Mitchell knows something about working as a nurse. She was a hospital nurse for six years before she decided to begin her teaching career at UofL.
“There was a limited amount of people I could help in the hospital, and I realized teaching would allow me to reach a countless number through the future careers of these students,” Mitchell said. “I felt my teaching contribution could also help improve the profession.”
Mitchell has been on faculty at the School of Nursing since 2006 and this year earned the Certificate in Health Professions Education, a program designed to further develop effective teaching strategies in the health sciences.