The Nurse Educator Certification program is offered by the National League for Nursing. This program, in existence since 2005, was designed to serve as a mark of professionalism, establish nursing education as a specialty area of practice and create a means for faculty to demonstrate their expertise in this role. Certification as a nurse educator communicates to students, peers and the academic and health care communities that the highest standards of excellence are being met and that the individual who holds such distinction is a leader and a role model.
At the 10th anniversary mark of the CNE program, there were more than 5,400 nurse faculty in the United States who had earned that credential. The Duke University School of Nursing is proud that the following faculty and staff hold this certification, which acknowledges their specialized knowledge, skills and abilities as teachers and their commitment to excellence in nursing education and to advancing the science of nursing education.
Danett Cantey, MSN, RN, CNE, CHSE
Danett is a liaison for ABSN students and faculty. As a clinical nurse educator, she often teaches and facilitates skills and simulations. She graduated with a BSN degree in 1999 and an MSN degree in nursing education in 2007, both from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has practiced nursing in acute, ambulatory and primary care settings with adult and pediatric patients. Prior to teaching in the skills and simulation lab at Duke School of Nursing, she taught classroom, lab and clinical for five years in the nursing department at Johnston Community College in Smithfield, N.C. She’s a member of the North Carolina Nurses Association, National League for Nursing and Sigma Theta Tau. She’s passionate about working with nursing students and helping them to become competent nurses who will deliver compassionate, safe and quality nursing care. Her professional interests include simulation and debriefing methodologies and recruiting and promoting diversity in nursing education. Danett is an American Heart Association Basic Life Support Instructor, a Certified Nurse Educator and a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator.
Dr. Jill Brennan-Cook is an Assistant Professor in the ABSN program and a member of the Healthcare in Adult Populations Division. She has more than 30 years of nursing experience including acute, critical care and emergency department experience. Before working at DUSON, Dr. Brennan-Cook served for 15 years as nursing faculty at Mount Saint Mary College, where she taught in the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. She has expertise in nursing education and in developing and managing simulation experiences for undergraduate nursing students. Dr. Brennan-Cook is a mentor for ABSN Health Equity Scholars and works closely with members of the Health Equity Academy. Current clinical and research interests include improving care for vulnerable populations such as frail older adults and patients with sickle cell disease. Her teaching interests are related to mentoring students and cultivating equity in the classroom and clinical setting.
Jennie De Gagne is an Associate Professor in the Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON). As a nurse educator who has obtained both PhD and DNP, De Gagne connects these two areas of discovery and implementation by creating and transforming evidence-based practice and education that help current and future generations of nurses address global nursing issues. Her scholarship focuses on nursing education with an emphasis on cybercivility and educational technology management. She is currently conducting studies on promoting cybercivility and preventing cyberincivility among health professions students and faculty across the curriculum, policies, and guidelines. De Gagne holds numerous membership and leadership roles in professional organizations, including the International Council of Nursing, American Nurses Association, and Global Korean Nursing Foundation. She is the founder and executive advisor of the North Carolina Korean Nurses Association, sits as an editorial board member for the Athens Journal of Health, and serves the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing as a global ambassador and an abstract reviewer. De Gagne is board certified in Nursing Professional Development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and earned certification as a nurse educator from the National League for Nursing. She is a member of National League for Nursing (NLN) Academy of Nursing Education and the American Academy of Nursing. She has been the recipient of scholarships and awards throughout her professional and academic career, being interviewed nationally and internationally for print and the web.
Dr. Edwards is Associate Chief Nursing Officer for Education at the Duke University Health System. In addition, she serves as an Associate Consulting Professor with the Duke University School of Nursing. Dr. Edwards is the Deputy Director of the Duke Area Health Education Center (AHEC), an affiliate of the North Carolina AHEC Centers Program.
Dr. Edwards is currently serving as the Chair of the North Carolina Board of Nursing. She is a 2007 Health Research Education Trust Fellow in Cultural Competence and a 2007 Fellow of the Advisory Board Company after completing the two-year Academy Fellowship. Dr. Edwards also serves as a Commissioner for the International Association of Education & Training.
Ragan N. Johnson, DNP, MSN, APRN-BC, joined DUSON’s faculty on July 1, 2017. Dr. Johnson is a faculty member for DUSON's VA Nursing Academic Partnerships in Graduate Education Program and supports the development of veteran centric content and clinical education in the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Master’s program, and in a new residency program being developed with the VA for newly certified Adult-Gero primary care NPs. She is a member of Division 2, Healthcare in Adult Populations.
Dr. Johnson has been a registered nurse since 2001, a nurse practitioner since 2006, and a nurse educator since 2012. Her clinical experiences include working as an RN in the Emergency Department, and as an FNP, she has experience in GI, internal medicine, and family practice. At the VA hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Johnson served a panel of over 700 veterans and was the MOVE coordinator at the VA, a group health promotion program developed to reduce obesity among veterans. As an educator, she has taught both didactic and clinical courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In her role as assistant professor at UTHSC, she taught in the DNP option and served as course lead for Epidemiology and two advanced family nursing courses for the FNP option.
Dr. Johnson earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with an emphasis in Public Health Nursing and MSN (FNP) from The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and her BSN from Tennessee State University. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Tennessee Public Health Association, National Organization for Nurse Practitioner Faculties, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and the American Nurses Association. Her research interests include sexual health promotion among youth and young adults and health disparities. She is also the founder of "Imagine Me”, a local nonprofit whose mission is to provide sexual health education and prevention messages to youth and young adults.
Margie Molloy, DNP, RN, CNE, CHSE, is an assistant professor and director of the Center for Nursing Discovery (CND) at the Duke University School of Nursing. Prior to her role as CND director, she was a clinical research nurse for a nurse interventionist study at the School from 2006 to 2008 and a transplant/research coordinator at Duke University Medical Center from 2001 to 2006.
She holds a BSN from the State University of New York at Downstate Medical Center, an MSN in nursing education from Wagner College and a DNP from Duquesne University. As CND director she works with faculty to incorporate simulation design, implementation and evaluation into their curricula. She also develops interprofessional collaborative experiences that focus on patient safety, effective teamwork and communication.
In 2015, her team received the BAYADA Award for Technological Innovation in Health Professional Education for the use of Google Glass to enhance the realism of simulation for nursing students. In 2010, her team received a Campus Technology Innovators Award for creative use of social media in education. Her innovative use of telepresence robots for distance-based education has garnered local and national media coverage.
She is a member of the North Carolina Nurses Association, TeamSTEPPS (Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality), the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.
Dr. Beth Phillips earned her BSN at East Carolina University her MSN at Duke. She just completed her PhD in Nursing Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her dissertation research focused on clinical decision making in senior baccalaureate nursing students in their final semester. Before joining the Duke School of Nursing faculty, she served as Director of Nursing at Vance-Granville Community College. She also has extensive experience in medical-surgical nursing, including ICU staff nursing and supervision.
Dr. Phillips is a member of the ABSN Elected Program Committee. She has served on the Curriculum Pathways Initiative and the Xcel@DUSON task group, and has been instrumental in planning and implementation of the annual Clinical Instructor Intensives. Beth has been actively engaged in collaboration with School of Medicine faculty in developing and implementing several interdisciplinary educational experiences for nursing and medical students. She has mentored graduate students in nursing education from various local universities.
Dr. Phillips is a member of the National League of Nursing and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. She serves as an Advisory Board member for the IEE (Institute of Educational Excellence).
Beth's research interests include decision making in undergraduate nursing students, clinical instructor preparation and competence, and evidence-based nursing education.
Michael Relf, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, AACRN, CNE, FAAN, is the Associate Dean for Global and Community Affairs. From the period 2008-2014, he served as the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education and Director of the Accelerated BSN Program in the School of Nursing at Duke University.
Initially, his clinical practice was in adult critical care where he functioned as a staff nurse, critical care clinical nurse specialist, and nurse manager. It was through these experiences early in the HIV epidemic that his practice shifted to infectious diseases. When pursuing his Doctor of Philosophy degree in nursing from Johns Hopkins University, he completed substantial coursework focused on HIV/AIDS including courses in immunopathology, health policy, women’s studies, political science, and nursing. His research focuses on the psychosocial aspects of HIV using mixed-methods particularly focusing on intimate partner violence, HIV-related stigma, and interventions to promote engagement in HIV-oriented primary medical care and disclosure of serostatus to sexual partners. Additionally, through his research, he has documented the role of the professional and advanced practice nurse in the prevention, care and treatment of persons at risk for or living with HIV.
Through his research, Dr. Relf has examined the relationship between childhood sexual abuse, intimate partner violence and HIV risk behaviors among men who have sex with men. This work received international press attention (Germany, France, Chile, United Kingdom, Romania, Turkey, Spain) and appeared on the front page of The Boston Globe (Dec. 18, 2002) and in the Toronto Star (Feb. 15, 2003). As a co-investigator on a President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funded project to build nursing capacity in the context of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa, Dr. Relf, in collaboration with colleagues from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe, published the Essential nursing competencies related to HIV and AIDS (see Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS, Care, 22 (Suppl. 1), e5-e40). Subsequently, these competencies have been adapted to the context of HIV/AIDS nursing practice in Canada and Thailand. Dr. Relf’s research has been funded by the American Nurses Foundation; Sigma Theta Tau International; The Special Projects of National Significance, HIV-AIDS Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services; the National Institutes of Nursing Research/National Institutes of Health; and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
Dr. Relf is an Advanced HIV/AIDS Certified Registered Nurse (AACRN), a certified adult clinical nurse specialist (ACNS-BC), and certified nurse educator (CNE). He was recognized by the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care with the Frank Lamendola Achievement Award for Nursing Leadership in HIV Care in 2003 and the Spirit of Nursing Award for mentoring in 2006. He was selected for Fellowship into the American Academy of Nursing in 2008 and was the co-chair of the Emerging and Infectious Diseases Expert Panel from 2008 – 2010. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Duke University School of Nursing, Distinguished Teaching Award presented by the Faculty Governance Association. During his career, he has been a visiting scholar at Queen’s University, Belfast (Northern Ireland) and the University of Zululand (South Africa).
Prior to joining DUSON in 2008, Dr. Relf was the Chair of the Department of Nursing at Georgetown University (2001 – 2008) and the Associate Medical Administrator/Director of Nursing and Clinical Support Services at Whitman-Walker Clinic (1999 – 2001). He earned his BS with a major in nursing from South Dakota University, his MS in nursing administration in healthcare services from Georgetown University, and his PhD in nursing from Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Schenita Randolph joined the DUSON faculty in July, 2015. She holds a BSN from North Carolina A&T State University, an MPH from UNC-Chapel Hill, and a PhD in Public Health with a focus on Community Health Education from Walden University. She is credentialed as a Certified Nurse Educator by the National League for Nursing. Dr. Randolph came to Duke from North Carolina A&T State University, where she was an assistant professor and served in various leadership positions including Interim Director for Community Engagement and Clinical Translation, Specialty Leader for Community Health Nursing and Chair of the Student Affairs Committee. Dr. Randolph has been an active nurse educator for more than a decade. Prior to this, she worked as a public health nurse at Guilford County Department of Public Health, as a home health nurse, and as a staff nurse at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
Dr. Randolph’s program of research is aimed at the development of culturally and socially appropriate interventions that will decrease the incidence of HIV among African American males. She has presented at national, state, and local conferences on population focused nursing care and HIV among African American college males. Last year, Dr. Randolph was recognized as a Great 100 Nurse recipient for the state of North Carolina, and received the national Elsevier Leading Stars in Education (ELSIE) Award. In 2013 she received the Interdisciplinary Research Award at NC A&T State University.
Shari Rushton earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Iowa, a Master of Biomedical Science in Physiology from the Mayo Graduate School of Biomedical Science, and a Master of Science in Nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice, both from Duke University School of Nursing.
She has several years of clinical experience in critical care. She also has care coordination experience as a Patient Resource Manager covering medical, surgical, pediatric, and critical care patients. In addition, she has provided case management for patients referred for admission to various levels of rehabilitation services.
Her research experience includes bench work in signal transduction and a clinical heart failure project while she was a trainee in the Clinical Environmental Science Program, a joint program of the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, the University of North Carolina, and Duke University.
Valerie K. Sabol, PhD, ACNP-BC, GNP-BC, CCRN, CNE, ANEF, FAANP, is the Chair for the Division of Healthcare in Adult Populations at Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON). Dr. Sabol has more than 25 years of acute and critical care experience and is board certified as an Adult Acute Care and Gerontological Nurse Practitioner. She received her BS in Nursing from Penn State University, her MSN degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD from the University of Maryland School of Nursing. Before being named Division Chair at Duke, Dr. Sabol served as the Accelerated BSN Program Director and the Director of the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty in the MSN Program at DUSON. Prior to working at Duke, Dr. Sabol taught at the University of Maryland School of Nursing for 11 years. She currently provides care as a nurse practitioner at Duke University Medical Center with the Endocrinology Inpatient Consultation Service. Her clinical and research interests include translating and implementing evidence-based practices into the care of both obese and older adults in across care settings. She has served on editorial boards for critical care, geriatric and obesity-focused journals, and is the next President-Elect of the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA).
Benjamin Smallheer, PhD, RN, ACNP‐BC, FNP-BC, CCRN, CNE, joined DUSON’s faculty on August 15, 2016. He is the Lead Faculty for the Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care major within the MSN program and a member of the Healthcare in Adult Populations Division.
Smallheer earned his BSN at Florida State University in 1998, and his MSN in 2004 and PhD in 2011, both from Vanderbilt University. He has also completed a post-master’s certificate in Family Practice from Tennessee State University in 2016.
Smallheer came to Duke from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, where he had been a faculty member since 2006 and an Assistant Professor since 2011. At Vanderbilt, he worked with both RN and Adult‐Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner students, was engaged in faculty mentoring in clinical and didactic environments and received recognition for his work incorporating alternative teaching methods and the innovative use of technology in the learning environment.
As Nurse Practitioner, Dr. Smallheer has practiced in a variety of clinical settings, including the Emergency Department, high acuity Medical-Surgical Intensive Care, Long Term Acute Care, and has been the lead responder on a Nurse Practitioner based Rapid Response and Code Team. He currently practices as an Acute Care Clinician in the Critical Care Unit at Duke Raleigh Hospital, within the Critical Care Medicine team.
Deirdre K. Thornlow, PhD, RN, CPHQ is an advanced practice nurse with over 20 years experience in healthcare leadership. She has held numerous leadership positions throughout her career, including Director of Quality Operations at The George Washington University Hospital and Gerontology Project Director for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Dr. Thornlow is an Assistant Professor at the Duke University School of Nursing, a John A. Hartford Foundation Claire M. Fagin Fellow, and a Senior Fellow in the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development.
Dr. Thornlow is pursuing a program of health services research that capitalizes upon her expertise in acute care quality and patient safety. She completed several related research projects as first steps toward understanding the relationship among hospital characteristics, patient safety practices, and patient outcomes. Her dissertation research, Relationship of Hospital Systems and Utilization of Patient Safety Practices to Patient Outcomes, was funded by a National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Nursing Research and was selected as the 2007 most meritorious dissertation by the University of Virginia School of Nursing faculty. In this study, Dr. Thornlow reported that hospitals using fewer patient safety practices demonstrated higher rates for certain adverse events. She has since expanded this work to focus on patient safety in hospitalized older adults by examining the role that nurses play in preventing, mitigating or even exacerbating postoperative complications in hospitalized older adults. Dr. Thornlow is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ), and a member of the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ), Academy Health, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, and the Gerontological Society of America.
Tracey L. Yap, PhD, RN, WCC, CNE, FGSA, FAAN, is an associate professor in the Duke School of Nursing, and a Senior Fellow in the Duke University Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. The overarching goal of her research is to improve the quality of care delivered by nursing staff, regardless of setting, and she aims to advance nursing’s ability to improve health care outcomes by increasing the mobility/movement of individuals through nursing’s use of cueing approaches, such as reminder messages and behavioral alerts. More specifically, she aims to understand and improve the processes that facilitate nursing staff implementation of evidence-based mobility/movement best practices that target common, yet seemingly intractable geriatric conditions, such as facility-acquired pressure injuries/ulcers. She has had research grant funding by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institute of Safety and Health, and The John A. Hartford Foundation. Dr. Yap teaches in the Doctorate of Nursing Practice program, and is a board member of the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel. In recognition of her accomplishments, she was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing as a Fellow in 2015, and into the Gerontological Society of America as a Fellow in 2018.