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Personality: Dr. Karen A. Faison

Spotlight on Virginia Nurses Association Nancy Vance Award winner

12/11/2015, 6:32 a.m.
Dr. Karen Faison says she gains deep satisfaction as a professor in the Virginia State University Department of Nursing when ...

Dr. Karen Faison says she gains deep satisfaction as a professor in the Virginia State University Department of Nursing when “the light comes on” for her students “when information is mastered for patient-centered care.”

Her goal, she says, is “helping students to successfully enter the profession and assume the role of a registered nurse.” Dr. Faison has been a nurse educator for 29 years, a registered nurse for 40 years and a nurse practitioner for 35 years. The Emporia resident has chaired the VSU Community Healthcare Initiative — VSU Cares — since its inception in 2012. Dr. Faison also established a mentorship program for nursing students with the Central Virginia Chapter of the Black Nurses Association.

At VSU, her research addresses health disparities and promotes diversity in nursing education.

The Virginia Nurses Association Foundation has awarded its highest honor, the Nancy Vance Award, to Dr. Faison for her decades of contributions to the profession.

She was presented the award in a ceremony at the conclusion of the Virginia Nurses Association Fall Conference on Nov. 21 at a Henrico County hotel. The award is bestowed upon a VNA member who has made “significant contributions to the community through their exceptional leadership, sustained dedication and inspiring achievements” according to the VNA.

The award is named after the late Ms. Vance, a Mecklenburg, N.C., native, who worked tirelessly to implement programs designed to improve children’s health after she joined the staff of the Virginia Department of Health’s Bureau of Child Health as a school nurse in 1919.

Dr. Faison says she was honored to win the award because Ms. Vance “exhibited character above reproach, unusual qualities of selflessness in service, courage in advocating for quality nursing and health, and an exceptional ability to work with others.

“She received many accolades for outstanding achievements that demonstrated excellence in nursing practice,” she adds.Here’s a look at this week’s Personality, Dr. Karen A. Faison:

Date and place of birth: June 29 in Washington, D.C.

Education: Bachelor of science in nursing, Hampton University; master’s of science in nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University.

Family: Three children and six grandchildren.

Why I got involved with the Central Virginia Chapter of the Black Nurses Association: Professional networking, community engagement and collegiality.

Why it is an important organization: It provides mentorship and leadership opportunities for nurses in the community. The focus of the local chapter is to increase the visibility of minority nurses in Central Virginia through community service, promoting the profession, working with nursing students and facilitating the transition from graduate nurse to novice nurse to an experienced RN. There are many opportunities to mentor nurses across all specialty areas in Central Virginia.

Why I became a teacher: To provide instruction for students interested in the profession and represent diversity in the classroom.

Teaching philosophy: Identifying the correct learning style for each student is essential for student success in their educational endeavors.

Foremost challenge: Encouraging patients to take control of their health in order to prevent and/or manage chronic diseases where possible.