Natchitoches, LA (Northwestern State University) — Northwestern State University’s College of Nursing and Allied Health named Debbie Hickman Educator of the Year. Hickman is an assistant professor of nursing at Northwestern State’s Leesville-Fort Polk campus. She was nominated by her colleagues for the honor.
“Ms. Hickman is very deserving of this distinctive honor,” said Dr. Norann Planchock, dean of the College of Nursing and Allied Health. “For eight years, Deborah has been a stabilizing force in nursing on the Leesville-Ft. Polk campus, where the associate degree program is offered. In addition to her special teaching abilities, she has continued to be an ardent student advocate through her service as a faculty advisor to the Student Nurse Association on that campus. We are proud to have her on our faculty and to have her honored in this special way.”
Hickman has been a nurse educator for 12 years. She teaches fundamentals and medical/surgical nursing classes and tutors two groups of clinical students each semester. She is also the lab coordinator for NSU’s Leesville-Fort Polk campus.
“I love being a nurse educator for so many reasons. I have the opportunity to educate and train the next generations of nurses. It is my goal to prepare student nurses to provide quality holistic patient-centered care,” she said. “As an educator, I provide information about the care of a patient, professionalism and personalized training directed at helping them develop nursing behaviors. These behaviors include caring, holistic care, therapeutic communication, physical assessment, critical thinking and bedside skills. As an educator, it is my responsibility to socialize nursing students into the role of a professional nurse. This is done by role-modeling professionalism, interacting within the healthcare team and providing patient-centered care.”
Hickman held the Creighton Owen Professorship in 2005 and 2007 was a faculty senator at NSU from 2008-2012. She has been a Louisiana State Reviewer of applications for continuing education activities, is a National League for Nursing (NLN) ambassador, NLN certified nurse educator and founding faculty advisor for the Leesville Student Nurses Association. She is also a member of several professional organizations and is a district delegate for the Louisiana State Nurses Association, a member of the American Nurses Association and Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society. Faculty practice includes work as a registered nurse with the Byrd Regional Hospital Emergency Department.
Hickman is certified in pediatric advanced life support, basic life support, advanced cardiac life support and trauma nursing care. She was nurse planner and presenter for the first nursing continuing education seminar held on NSU’s Leesville-Fort Polk campus. The seminar, in which Hickman presented information on legal issues, featured six speakers and offered six contact hours of continuing education credits for registered nurses. Hickman travels each year to out-of-state educator workshops to maintain best practice and current teaching strategies.
In her community, Hickman is vice president of the Woman League of DeRidder and a staff educator and consultant for Beauregard Association for the Developmentally Disabled.
“She is a highly self-motivated educator who loves to teach nursing students,” said Joyce Barnes, academic advisor/recruiting support specialist at NSU’s Leesville-Fort Polk campus. “Professionalism is obvious in Debbie Hickman’s teaching style as well as in her daily role modeling for the students of Northwestern State University. We feel extremely lucky to have someone of her caliber as a full time educator.”
“When I was a young woman, I knew that someday I would have a career in nursing,” Hickman said. “As my nursing career developed, I became a nursing director of a specialty unit in a hospital. This administrative position afforded me many opportunities to teach healthcare professionals. It was during those years as an administrator that I realized teaching nurses was something I wanted to devote myself to for many years to come.”