Photo courtesy of Lewis University.
Nanci Reiland is the most recent winner of the Nurse Educator Fellowship Award for Lewis University.
Nanci Reiland, professor of community and public health, was awarded the prestigious 2018 Nurse Educator Fellowship Award.
According to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the award is to “increase the number of high quality nursing professionals available to meet the demands of the economy.”
Reiland joins a list of several other professors in the College of Nursing who have also been nominated for the award in the past. Across the entire state of Illinois, only 19 individuals can win the award and receive the $10,000 grant included with it.
Reiland originally attended Lewis for her master’s degree before becoming a staff member at the university. Since joining the staff 14 years ago, she has worked as a clinical nurse as well as a professor. She teaches both accelerated and traditional nursing students, along with helping coordinate with continuing education students.
“I think education and supporting patients is the key to nursing,” said Reiland. “I think if students can leave and realize what an impact they can make -- whether they’re working with patients in critical care or working with someone in the community, whatever it is, is a real privilege and blessing to be able to have with their patients.”
Reiland was inspired by her father to become a nurse, who also worked in the business side of the health professions field. “I was into the thrill of finding more about the human body, I was always into sciences in high school,” said Reiland.
Initially, she struggled to pick between teaching and nursing as a career, but says now that she is “grateful that [she] can do both.”
In the past, Reiland worked at a hospital, but she wanted to have a more direct and supportive role in patient care. She then began working with a visiting nurse association, where she would travel to underprivileged homes and care for those who were otherwise unable. Directly before coming to Lewis, she worked as a parish nurse in Bolingbrook, Ill.
Reiland will use the funds from the award to finish her doctoral education, as well as travel to San Diego for an American Public Health Association conference.
Reiland emphasizes that nursing should also take on an active role in the community.
Every nursing student must work in a 2-part commmunity health program in order to graduate.
“Having opportunities to network and collaborate with public health professionals around the nation and the world allow me to bring back real life experiences and opportunities for my students to engage in,” said Reiland in a press release. “I am always inspired by introducing students to the impact they can have on health—not just in hospitals, but in communities and even their own families.”