Third-year Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student Sara Wilkinson took home top honors at the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) annual conference in Seattle. Wilkinson was the winner in three categories: the Student of Excellence Award, the Dean and Fred Hayden Memorial National Scholarship, and the AANA poster competition.
The AANA has a membership of more than 49,000, including certified (CRNA), recertified, and student members. The organization represents approximately 90 percent of nurse anesthetists in the United States. Its goal is to provide a forum for disseminating information to members, providing representation on legislative concerns in various states, providing continuing education, and generally supporting the nurse anesthetist profession.
Only one student in the country is awarded the Student of Excellence Award. The award acknowledges the student’s academic excellence, excellence in leadership, and excellence in service to others. “I was thrilled to receive this award, which acknowledged all my hard work during my time as a student nurse anesthetist,” Wilkinson said. “I was excited to be able to represent the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and the nurse anesthesia program.”
The Dean and Fred Hayden Memorial National Scholarship recognizes scholastic excellence. Wilkinson said she will put that money toward her tuition and books.
Wilkinson’s poster “Bispectral Index Monitoring and Post-Operative Delirium” was chosen to be displayed at the conference. This occasion marked the first time a poster from UTHSC has been awarded this honor. Dwayne Accardo, DNP,CRNA, assistant professor and program director for the UTHSC College of Nursing DNP Nurse Anesthesia program, was Wilkinson’s collaborator on the project.
“These awards have been wonderful to receive, to recognize all my efforts and hard work, but the most important goal of my career as a certified nurse anesthetist is to be of service to my patients,” Wilkinson said.