Daphne Essex – NPAA Nurse Practitioner of the Year for 2021.

Daphne was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Reserve as a Registered Nurse after receiving her BS in Nursing at Auburn University Montgomery. She received her Masters in Adult Nursing at Troy University; a Post Masters degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner at the University of Alabama in Birmingham and in 2011, she received her Doctorate in Nursing at the University of Alabama where she focused on a Critical Time Intervention Model that would reduce the length of veteran’s homeless days.

Her desire to be equipped professionally and adequately address the psychiatric needs of homeless veterans lead her to complete a third Masters as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at the University of Alabama. At the time, vets were receiving medical access but miserably lacking psychiatric services. No “walk in’s were permitted”. They were getting lost in the referral process with many unable to receive adequate mental evaluations.

Daphne created and implemented a “One Stop Shop” for veterans to receive medical and psychiatric care all in one visit. No one was turned down. Vets were assessed, started on appropriate meds, acclimated to the community and/or transferred to a higher level of care. For her creative contribution, she was awarded the “Veteran Advocacy” recognition.

Please congratulate Dr. Daphne Essex NPAA’s Nurse Practitioner of the Year for 2021.

Dr. Tara Wood - Outstanding Faculty 2021

Dr. Wood joined the UAB School of Nursing as faculty in 2018 as the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) specialty track coordinator. She has actively pursued opportunities to advance the learning experience for NNP students. An example of innovative teaching practices includes the development of a comprehensive Transition to Practice simulation for the NNP students. This multi-step simulation experience immerses students into a realistic neonatal intensive care unit where they manage multiple patients with various clinical conditions. This experience serves as a summative assessment of student competencies in neonatal are while identifying opportunities for future cohorts.

Dr. Wood has been a Co-Investigator on an educational grant for a learning activity, Mystery in the Crib. This activity embeds the NNP student into a critical thinking learning activity. Due to student and faculty feedback, this activity is now utilized in the undergraduate program as well.

Please congratulate Dr. Wood as NPAA’s Outstanding Faculty of the Year for 2021.

Dr. Michele Talley - Preceptor of the Year 2021

Dr. Talley has consistently for over a decade served as an engaged preceptor and mentor to NP students at the PATH Clinic. She also expects of the many NPs she supervises in the PATH Clinic this level of commitment to serving as preceptors for students, which has resulted in the PATH Clinic being one of the most reliable clinical placement sites for NP students. In fall, spring, and summer from 2010 to present, Dr. Talley herself assumed a preceptor assignment guiding the clinical practicum experiences of at least two UAB NP students (either FNP or ACNP specialty tracks) each semester. She continued this support for preceptorship of NPs incorporating students in the telehealth and curbside services provided by the PATH Clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-2021) thus helping NP students to safely fulfill clinical hour requirements to graduate on time. More recently, Dr. Talley added the mentoring of BSN to DNP students working on scholarly projects in the PATH Clinic also helping these students to achieve publication and guiding them in seeking their first NP position post-graduation. Countless nurses, NPs and not, have benefitted from her generous spirit and visionary leadership for which the UAB School of Nursing and others have recognized her. Ever the mentor and facilitator, Dr. Talley has provided opportunities to many to join her grant-funded efforts, writing teams, and targeted initiatives.

Please congratulate Dr. Michele Talley as NPAA’s Outstanding Preceptor of the Year for 2021.

Rising Star Award - Dr. Bela Patel

Dr. Patel began her career as a pharmacy technician graduating from the Accerlated Nursing Practice program and then a Doctor of Nursing Practice. She has worked in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Providing Access to Healthcare (PATH) Clinic those past 5 years. This clinic sees uninsured and underserved patients with uncontrolled diabetes and serves as a transitional care clinic aimed at decreasing HA1c levels to a safer level and then establishing care for the patient with an FQHC or free clinic in their area. This clinic has saved UAB Hospital hundreds of thousands of dollars by providing care to patients who had previously used the Emergency Department as a primary care office for diabetes care. Dr. Patel has been an integral part of the work and success of this clinic. In this short time span due to the excellence of her work, she was promoted to the Lead Nurse Practitioner role in the PATH clinic in 2020. she has led and created a policy and procedure handbook, led the clinic in transition to a telehealth model during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then back to a blended care model one year after the beginning of the pandemic. The overnight transition to telehealth in March 2020 was a huge feat with many moving parts. Dr. Patel has also been an active member of NPAA. She served as the student representative in 2019 before she completed her DNP degree. This year she is presenting a podium presentation and disseminating her work and knowledge on diabetes medications at the 2021 annual NPAA conference.

Please congratulate Dr. Bela Patel as NPAA’s Rising Star of the Year for 2021.

Nurse Practitioner Student Leadership - Mayona Otuada

Ms. Otuada is a stellar student currently enrolled in the Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Pathway of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program. Prior to earning her BSN degree at UAB, she served as a Registered Midwife (RM) in Nigeria. Currently, she works at the UAB Women and Infants Center on the High Risk Obstetrics Unit. Ms. Otuada is a leader among her DNP cohort. She can be described as a dynamic leader who is passionate about providing excellent care and improving healthcare outcomes. She is a current Fellow of the Albert Schweitzer Foundation where her scholarship and service focuses on improving the care of women during the post-partum period. She has received numerous awards and scholarships for demonstrating excellence in education, practice, and service. She has also published and presented at conferences. She is a compassionate individual and a team player who can always be counted on. Her emotional maturity and leadership skills are very impressive.

Please congratulate Mayona Otuada as NPAA’s Nurse Practioner Student Leadership recipient for 2021.

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