Nursing Prof Julie Stewart Nationally Recognized for Education Excellence
Sacred Heart University Assistant Nursing Professor Julie Stewart, DNP, MSN, MPH, FNP-BC, is one of the most outstanding nursing educators in the United States, says the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF).
The organization – responsible for setting standards in nursing education not just nationally, but throughout the world – presented Stewart with the prestigious “Outstanding Faculty Practice Award” at its 38th Annual Conference in April in Charleston, S.C.
There, Stewart was praised for the clinical experiences she provides Sacred Heart Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) students. She was specifically cited for her work as a caregiver at the St. Vincent’s Medical Center Family Health Center in Bridgeport, where she provides Sacred Heart nursing students with first-hand experiences caring for underserved populations, including people with AIDS and HIV.
Her leadership, encouragement and dedication to nursing education have also led to other family nurse practitioners becoming preceptors to guide, and provide real-life clinical experiences, to Sacred Heart students.
“Many of the patients who rely on St. Vincent’s for care are from our community’s neediest populations,” said Stewart, a former critical care nurse who now specializes in AIDS/HIV care. “Patients our students see at the Family Health Center sometimes are dealing with types of illnesses and challenges that you expect only to see in Third World countries, and not in the U.S. – malnourishment, extreme poverty, advanced AIDS. These are people in dire need of quality, compassionate medical care, and to see our students have the opportunity to provide it – and learn from it – is beyond words. It’s what caregiving is all about.”
Nominated for the award by Sacred Heart Graduate Nursing Programs Director Susan DeNisco, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, CNE, CNL, Stewart has spent much of her professional life focused on providing care to people most in need. Before joining Sacred Heart as an adjunct faculty member in 2006 and moving to full-time in 2007, Stewart worked at Stamford Hospital and Connecticut Hospice and served as clinical services director of an AIDS center in Brooklyn, NY. She has also led several medical missions – bringing Sacred Heart students to Jamaica and Guatemala.
The NONPF award, Stewart said, is as much recognition for Sacred Heart’s nursing program as it is for her work in it. “Of course, I am thrilled and honored to have won, but the award also says a lot about the quality of Sacred Heart’s nursing program and what students who come here receive,” she said. “Our goal is to be the best – to provide students with the best faculty and the best opportunities. This award showcases our school nationally, showing that we are really one of 'The' colleges in the nation to attend for a nursing education.”
Stewart, who lives in Greenwich, was also named a Connecticut Nurses Association Diamond Jubilee Award winner in 2010. She won the Florence Wald Nursing Award for Clinical Excellence.