Webinar Overview

This Webinar will describe the evolution of a dynamic academic-practice partnership between the University of South Alabama College of Nursing and the University of South Alabama Medical Center. Learn strategies to build and sustain collaborative relationships that bridge the gap between academia and practice. The discussion will present methods to engage and empower faculty, frontline staff, and students to promote patient care excellence and nurses’ professional development and scholarship. Hear how the cultures of two organizations have been transformed through the partnership initiatives.

NOTE: This Webinar is open to everyone including non-members, communities of interest, practice representatives, and AACN member schools including deans, faculty, staff and students. 

Webinar Speakers

Valorie Dearmon DNP, RN
Chair and Assistant Professor
Adult Health Department
College of Nursing
University of South Alabama

Valorie Dearmon, DNP, RN, NEA-BC has extensive experience in nursing education, nursing administration, faculty development, system leadership, and academic-practice partnerships. Currently, she serves as Chair of the Department of Adult Health Nursing for the University of South Alabama College of Nursing (USACON) where she is responsible for multiple undergraduate and graduate education programs. She has served in numerous nursing leadership positions, including fifteen years as a Nurse Executive in a not-for-profit community hospital. Dr. Dearmon remain actively engaged in practice, partnering with the University of South Alabama Medical Center’s (USAMC) administration and frontline staff to facilitate best practice and professional development. The partnership between the USACON and USAMC has recently been recognized nationally by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing as an academic-practice exemplar. She has published numerous peer reviewed articles and written several chapters in nursing leadership texts. Dr. Dearmon is passionate about narrowing the gap between academia and practice and uses her experience, knowledge, and leadership skills to join the two worlds.

Ellen B. Buckner PhD, RN, CNE
College of Nursing
University of South Alabama

Dr. Buckner has 39 years’ experience as a nurse educator. She is a Professor at the University of South Alabama (USA). She has more than 35 published articles in peer-reviewed journals, 10 chapters/monographs, and numerous national, international, state and local presentations. She coordinates the RN-BSN track and chairs the Nursing Honors Faculty committee. She serves on the USA Honors Council and Faculty Senate. She is a Board Member and Fellow in the Roy Adaptation Association and a member of Phi Kappa Phi. In 2005 she was awarded the Ellen Gregg Ingalls/UAB National Alumni Society Award for Lifetime Achievement in Teaching. She is a mentor in the Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International and co-chair of the Alabama State Nurses Association Leadership Academy. Dr. Dearmon and Dr. Buckner are College of Nursing faculty participants in the Academic-Practice Partnership and actively attend meeting of the shared governance structure (Nursing Practice Congress, Professional Action Teams, EBP Committee and work groups). They have implemented Dean's and University grants and published the results of the ongoing partnership in Nursing Administration Quarterly and the Journal of Nursing Management. They have presented to national and international meetings and organized local conference presentations to encourage frontline staff to participate.

Lisa Mestas, MSN, RN
Assistant Hospital Administrator and Chief Nursing Officer
University of South Alabama Medical Center

Lisa Mestas is the Assistant Hospital Administrator and Chief Nursing Officer for the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile. She has served in a number of roles throughout her career, including bedside nurse, clinical educator, and nurse administrator. Mrs. Mestas has held national certifications in Critical Care Nursing and Operating Room Nursing. She earned a Diploma in Nursing, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Allied Health in Nursing, and a Masters Degree in Nursing, receiving the award for Clinical Excellence. Mrs. Mestas has served as principal investigator in the STAR-2 national research study through the Improvement Science Research Network (ISRN). She has been a contributing author in both Nursing Administration and Clinical Nurse Leader textbooks. She received the Sigma Theta Tau Zeta Gamma Chapter award for Excellence in Nursing Mentorship in 2012. Mrs. Mestas contributed as a judge for the National Association of Public Hospitals GAGE awards in 2012 and 2013. Mrs. Mestas, in collaboration with the USA College of Nursing faculty, has led the Frontline Innovations nursing research project, engaging frontline staff in improving practice and patient care. The Frontline Innovations research project has been recognized locally, nationally, and internationally as an outstanding example of collaborative academic-practice partnerships.

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