The School of Nursing Celebrates Two Sigma Award Winners

The School of Nursing Celebrates Two Sigma Award Winners

The Sigma Theta Tau International Beta Epsilon Chapter recently presented the Ruby Wilson Excellence in Clinical Nursing Award and the Thelma Ingles Excellence in Clinical and Scholarly Activities Award to two Duke School of Nursing (DUSON) December 2023 graduates for their demonstrated academic excellence, service to the nursing profession, and commitment to providing social justice and reform in healthcare.

Adeku & Buckner

Joy Adeku, MSN,RNC-NIC, recently graduated from the Master of Science program and is a recipient of the Thelma Ingles Award for excellence in clinical expertise and scholarly activities. The award was established in 1973 in honor of a distinguished nurse educator and writer, Thelma Ingles. She pioneered the development of DUSON’s first clinical nurse specialist program at the master’s level, which ultimately led to improved patient care and increased respect for nurses by physicians. Additionally, she initiated an advanced program (BSNEd degree) in medical- surgical nursing at DUSON in 1950, where she served as professor and chair of the Department of Medical-Surgical Nursing from 1949-1962.

Desi Newberry, DUSON associate professor, nominated Adkeu because of her leadership in the Neo Natal Practitioner (NNP) major. “She routinely volunteers to be the team leader in simulation scenarios during both online and in-person sessions and is a compassionate, adaptable nurse with more than eight years of experience in level III & IV neonatal intensive care units, and one and a half years of pediatric nursing experience,” Newberry said. “She is a strong team player that excels and remains calm in fast paced, high stress environments, while delivering exceptional patient care. Joy is motivated to learn and always contributes to our weekly, synchronous classes.”

 Adeku was the primary author of a poster entitled, “Optimal CPAP Weaning Approaches in Preterm Infants," and presented it at the 34th National Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Symposium, back in October 2023, where she also won second place in the poster presentation session and was a recipient of the Robert ‘Bob’ Rogers Poster Session Grant Fund. She is the main author of a manuscript with the same title, which Adeku will be submitting to Advances in Neonatal Care, an international, peer-reviewed neonatal nursing journal.

Adeku said she is honored and grateful to the Ingles family, Sigma Theta Tau and Dr. Newberry for this prestigious award. “My instructors at DUSON enforced the importance of cultural competence, emotional intelligence, curiosity, and personal reflection as a practitioner,” Adeku said. “As a provider of color, I have a unique opportunity to create a space for parents and caregivers of historically overlooked and disenfranchised groups to feel understood, empowered, and included in the care of their child.”

“I look forward to embodying what Dr. Ingles hoped for our profession and continuously assess my strengths and weaknesses while working collaboratively with my colleagues to provide culturally competent and care and give children of all backgrounds the equitable care they deserve,” Adeku continued. 

The Lagos, Nigeria native is currently working in a level III neonatal intensive care unit in Concord, N.C. and said she will be starting an NNP job at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C. in May of 2024 as a new graduate practitioner in their level IV NICU. 

Adeku notes her support system is her family who immigrated to the United States in 1997 and settled in Texas. Her parents, Bayo and Joan Adeku reside in Grand Prairie, Texas, her sister and brother-in-law, Victoria and Kobe Davis live in Houston, along with Adeku’s sweet nephew and niece, Axel and Zoie Davis. “I would be remiss if I did not mention my cousin Ajibola Amajor of Austin, Texas who has also been an integral part of my support system,” Adeku said.

Mable Buckner, MSPH, BSN, recently graduated from the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and is a recipient of the Ruby L. Wilson Award for clinical excellence and leadership. The award was established in 2003 because of a generous gift to the Beta Chapter by Dr. Ruby L. Wilson. Dr. Wilson served as dean of DUSON from 1971-1984. Among her many accomplishments and contributions to the nursing profession, Dr. Wilson developed and served in the first clinical nurse specialist position at Duke Medical Center from 1963-1966. 

Gillian Jackson, DUSON clinical associate, nominated Buckner because of how she excelled in the ABSN program. “I found her scholarship and academic achievement to be amongst the best I have worked with in the Evidence Based Practice course. The final project her group presented was exceptional,” Jackson said. “Mable was always a valuable and vocal contributor in class. In the clinical setting, Mable was able to apply didactic content in the clinical setting with ease above the expectations I have for a third semester student. Mable is both a HRSA nurse scholar and MPACT scholar.”

Buckner said she was so honored to win the Ruby Wilson Award. “My experiences at DUSON have shown me that social determinants of health are everywhere. Being a Nurse gives me the unique opportunity to advocate for my patients at the bedside and in the community,” Buckner said. “I look forward to using my degree and experiences at Duke to help the sickest of the sick find resources they need, while in the hospital and when they continue outside the hospital as well.”
The Liberty, N.C. native said she will be working at Duke University Hospital in the Neuro ICU starting in April of 2024. “I am super excited to be starting in an ICU because I love the challenge that critical care brings,” Buckner said.

Buckner notes her support system is her family. “Growing up rural allowed me to see how social determinants of health impacted my community and my family. My Husband, Mom, and Dad have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams and definitely are to credit in me being the nurse I am today,” Buckner said. 

As recipients, Adeku and Buckner received e-certificates and monetary awards to highlight their achievements. 

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