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U.Va. Nursing Professor Arlene Keeling to Receive Distinguished Nurse Award

Arlene Keeling, Centennial Distinguished Professor of Nursing and director of the Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry at the University of Virginia, will receive the Distinguished Nurse Award from the Beta Kappa nursing honor society Friday at a ceremony in the Rotunda.

Beta Kappa members from the nursing community make nominations for the award, given every other year to a nursing professional. Keeling was nominated by colleagues at the schools of Nursing and Medicine, including Tina Brashers, Barbara Brodie, Suzanne Burns, Mary Gibson, Beth Quatrara, Audrey Snyder, Dorothy Tullman and David Strider.

In the nomination, Keeling’s colleagues highlighted her work on the board of the American Association for the History of Nursing, lauded her leadership skills and noted that she’s become internationally recognized for her accomplishments in nursing history.

Her nominators also cited Keeling’s immense contributions to the clinical strengths of U.Va.’s nursing curriculum, pushing for the advancement of the acute and critical care nurse practitioner programs while also directing the Bjoring Center, working as department chair, mentoring graduate and undergraduate students, directing the school’s Ph.D. program and writing two books over the last two years: “Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching to the World” and “Nurses on the Frontlines: When Disaster Strikes.”

“She carries multiple leadership roles,” wrote Strider, a nurse practitioner in the Division of Cardiac Surgery at U.Va. Medical Center, “and has contributed in numerous dimensions to nursing history and clinical practice on the state, regional, national and international level. Her perseverance, coupled with her creativity, has complemented her amazing leadership at so many levels.”

Keeling, who has been on the nursing faculty since 1992, chairs the Department of Acute and Specialty Care. She was recently recognized with the Mary Roberts Award, given annually by the American Association for the History of Nursing.

In January, The American Journal of Nursing named “Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching to the World” the Book of the Year in the category of public interest and creative works.

Keeling also published “Privilege of Prescription: 1893-2000,” which chronicles the role of nurse practitioners in dispensing, furnishing and prescribing medication.

Beta Kappa, U.Va.’s nursing honor society, is a chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International. The first and oldest nursing honor society in Virginia, the chapter boasts more than 500 members.

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