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Heartland’s Tara Morris named Nurse Educator Fellow

May 11, 2020

Heartland Community College Associate Professor Tara Morris has received a Nurse Educator Fellowship, awarded by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and the Illinois Nursing Workforce Center (INWC) Advisory Board.   

Morris, MSN, RN, is one of 19 recipients of the 2020 fellowship, which is funded by the state. Recipients of the Nurse Education Fellowship are awarded $10,000 to help promote excellence in nursing education.

“Tara is a great example of excellence in nursing education,” said Jennifer O’Connor, Dean of Health Sciences and Director of Nursing. “She is creative, conscientious, hard-working, and holds her students, and herself, to high standards.”

Morris has been with Heartland Community College since 2016 and is a tenured Associate Professor as well as Program & Clinical Coordinator for Nursing. She also serves as an Emergency Department Nurse at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln, Illinois, and has been working at the hospital during the COVID-19 crisis.

“When I came to Heartland in 2016, I stepped down as the Manager of the Emergency Department but did not want to give up my time at the bedside, therefore I stayed on PRN (meaning ‘pro re nata’ or as needed), working additional hours during our college breaks such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and over the summer,” said Morris. “I have been with ALMH since 2005 and cannot imagine totally leaving an organization that I believe in so much. It helps me stay abreast of changing best practices which in turn greatly helps me while educating our nurses of the future.” 

The Nurse Educator Fellowship was established to help provide resources to train more highly-skilled nurses in Illinois by retaining qualified faculty.

“I am honored to have been nominated by Jennifer O'Connor, and humbled to have been chosen by the Illinois Board of Higher Education to receive this special recognition,” said Morris. “The award will help as I pursue Certified Nurse Educator certification and to attend the National Nurse Educator Summit in April 2021.”

The Heartland Community College Nursing program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Admission is selective, and is offered annually to new students who qualify. Advanced Placement is also available for Licensed Practical Nurses.

Written by: Steve Fast