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The DeBasio legacy

Dr. Nicole Webb burst onto campus with energy, passion and a knack for innovation. Taking on the role of nurse practitioner track coordinator less than two years ago, she’s already overhauled the simulation experience and has upgraded the patient encounter tracking system. And now, she’s winning awards.

In April 2017, only a few months into Dr. Webb’s new position at Research College of Nursing, former president Dr. Nancy DeBasio retired after lending her talents to the college for nearly three decades. The Research Foundation celebrated her achievements with the announcement of the Dr. Nancy O. DeBasio Faculty Leadership Award. In honor of her dedication to the college, family, friends and colleagues contributed $65,000 to support Research College of Nursing faculty members carrying Dr. DeBasio’s legacy forward. And to no one’s surprise, Dr. Webb is the first recipient.

“I simply cannot imagine a better candidate for this award. I am honored to have been taught by her. Her guidance through graduate school has been invaluable to me. She has earned such an enormous amount of respect from our class and I feel that I speak for everyone when I say she deserves this award,” Angela Lowery, family nurse practitioner student, said.

The award is given to a faculty member who exhibits the four pillars of heroic leadership: self-awareness, ingenuity, heroism and love. Dr. Webb’s finds a way to include all these traits in her day-to-day routine of teaching, grading, visiting students and working with other faculty and staff.

Q: You use your strengths to boost others up and even your weaknesses to create teachable moments. Where does that come from?

A: “I think it’s a learned behavior. Over time, I’ve learned how to accept my strengths and weaknesses and accept others. You have to give positive reinforcement in addition to criticism. Don’t take someone’s hope and motivation away by honing in on the negative. Find something positive so that they can embrace it and try to make a change.”

Q: You haven’t been at Research College of Nursing long and are already winning awards. A lot of your colleagues have mentioned you are really shaking things up. What clicked?

A: “I wanted to do things to make sure that our faculty, students and program were top notch. I concentrated on things that would further what they were already doing. For them, I added a technical piece. We have a system for students to track their patient encounters and it wasn’t being used to its full capacity. I was able to show them how to make it paperless. We made the simulation labs more realistic by using standardized patients, which are actors who play the role of the patient. I also found a free electronic medical record platform to mimic the clinic experience.”

Q: You have high expectations for your students, but at the same time you set aside your own needs. How do you find balance?

A: “It’s hard to find balance. I tend to neglect myself to help others. I will take calls from preceptors after hours, answer emails after hours. If I do that, I find a way to balance by taking a moment for myself. I try to remind myself where I am at all times.”

Q: Why are you doing what you do?

A:”I absolutely love the field of nursing and I have a passion for educating our future nurses and providers for the 21st century. I like nothing more than using innovation and experience to make sure we lead and guide our new generation.”

Dr. Webb’s energetic, ambitious approach to nursing was introduced to the college two years ago this December. In those 24 months, she’s challenged students, systems, curriculums and colleagues to create a better Research College of Nursing, an approach Dr. DeBasio would approve of.

“Research College of Nursing played a significant role in my life for 29 years and I believe its future should be in the hands of faculty members just like Dr. Webb,” Dr. DeBasio, said. “Thanks to this award and the efforts of my family and friends, The Research Foundation can help Dr. Webb continue to shape the nursing profession.”

Learn more about our nursing faculty development opportunities here.