Duson Faculty Member Receives Excellence in Leadership Award

Duson Faculty Member Receives Excellence in Leadership Award

Duke School of Nursing (DUSON) Associate Professor Benjamin Smallheer recently received the Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award from the Amy V. Cockcroft Leadership Fellowship.

Benjamin Smallheer

Benjamin Smallheer, Ph.D., RN, ACNP-BC, FNP-BC, CCRN, CNE, lead faculty of the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program, received the Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award from the Amy V. Cockcroft Leadership Fellowship. The Cockcroft Fellowship is an opportunity that prepares accomplished nurses for innovative healthcare leadership in the 21st century, meeting the urgent demands of today’s healthcare environment. The award was created to honor current fellows who exemplify outstanding leadership and maintain the fellowship's goals.

He was nominated for this prestigious award by Valerie Sabol, interim vice dean for academic affairs, for his outstanding contributions to developing innovative educational strategies in graduate nursing education, establishing an inaugural international Acute Care training program, and globally disseminating clinical practice guidelines that positively impact the care of acutely ill patients.

 “His contributions align with DUSON's mission to advance health equity and social justice. His work also highlights how nurse leaders and innovators can make a positive and meaningful impact on health for individuals, families, and communities and globally,” Sabol said. “We could not be more delighted that Dr. Smallheer has been recognized by receipt of such a prestigious award.” 

Smallheer said receiving the award is a significant accomplishment because it helps validate the important work being done by DUSON's nursing faculty. "I am a huge supporter of teamwork and collaboration in my teaching and innovative projects. Very little of my work is done in a silo. So, being recognized for Excellence in Nursing Leadership speaks to my ability to lead a team and the trust and faith my teams have in me to achieve the vision we set out to accomplish," Smallheer said. 

He continued, "Here at DUSON, we strive to create an equitable learning environment where students immerse and learn in a safe and structured environment. This award supports my values as a leader in nursing education and strong dedication to DUSON’s mission of  advancing health equity and social justice by preparing nurse leaders and innovators with a commitment to improving health outcomes through transformative excellence in education, clinical practice, and nursing science.” 

As an Amy V. Cockcroft Leadership Fellow, Smallheer was able to enter nursing leadership. He said it gave him the essential foundational skills to look at a situation holistically, consider a team approach, engage in challenging conversations, and work with a bigger team from varying backgrounds. "My cohort in the fellowship included individuals from both nursing academia, informatics, and practice both inpatient and community health. I was able to hear a bit more about their challenges and consider how my role as a nurse educator has a positive and negative downstream impact," Smallheer said.

Smallheer is a native of Monterey, Calif., and has been a faculty member at DUSON since 2016. He is married to Brett Morgan, and they have five children: twins Katie and Anna, Steven, Kora, and Edward. 

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