November 8, 2013 | 2:08 p.m.
By Suzanne McInroy, Director of Communications
Ken Bence, a firefighter with Metro Critical Incident Stress Management Team, escorts Bethel nursing professor Karen Drake to the stage to accept the “Distinguished Nurse of the Year” award from the Minnesota March of Dimes.
The Minnesota March of Dimes recently honored Bethel nursing professor Karen Drake as the 2013 “Distinguished Nurse of the Year” at the annual Nurse of the Year awards on October 26. Drake was recognized for her development of the high-tech simulation labs at Bethel and her work abroad teaching future nursing leaders in Uganda.
“Karen mentors, encourages, and nurtures Ugandan students through a difficult program, in a difficult environment,” shares former student Jill Bauer CAPS ’06, GS ’13, who nominated Drake for the award. “Thanks to Karen’s work, a number of these students now have master’s degrees in nursing and are making an incredible impact in their profession and in their country.”
Drake, who began teaching at Bethel in 1992, has traveled to Uganda through a collaboration between Bethel University and Uganda Christian University. She recognized there were not enough nurses with master’s degrees to sustain the program so she started a master’s program with a focus on nursing education. Today, graduates function as faculty, in leadership roles, and even at the Ministry of Health.
While Drake won the largest award of the evening, the Minnesota March of Dimes also celebrated Nurse of the Year winners in 15 additional categories during a dinner and awards program. More than 400 nurses from across the state were nominated by patients, colleagues, friends, and family. Applications were blinded and scored based on credentials, certifications and nursing education, their proudest outcomes, leadership, professional associations, and achievements.
Nurse of the Year benefits the March of Dimes’ mission to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. This fourth annual event raised more than $150,000 for the March of Dimes.