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Nursing professor to receive WSU Distinguished Lifetime Service award

Renee Hoeksel in profile
Renee Hoeksel

By Addy Hatch, College of Nursing

In 1990, Renee Hoeksel left a career in hospital nursing to become WSU Vancouver’s first and only full-time nursing faculty, charged with creating a degree-completion program for working nurses.

“Nobody would do that today,” she said. “A new campus and a new program, to be totally alone and know nothing about academia.”

She embraced that challenge, and today WSU Vancouver has 11 full-time nursing faculty and 235 nursing students in RN-BSN, Master of Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs. What’s more, Hoeksel was a leader in developing Washington’s direct transfer agreement that allows community college nursing students to progress seamlessly into bachelor’s degree programs at colleges and universities statewide.

Now she’s being recognized with one of WSU’s highest honors – the V. Lane Rawlins President’s Award for Distinguished Lifetime Service. The prestigious award is part of WSU’s 2018 Showcase celebration that runs next week and honors the achievements of WSU faculty, staff and students.

Hoeksel said she was surprised and humbled to hear of her nomination.

“It’s about all of the people who believe in the work and made it happen,” she noted. “It’s true for the College of Nursing, it’s true for the Vancouver campus, and it’s true for RN-BSN education.”

Linda Eddy, Associate Dean for Western Washington at the College of Nursing Vancouver, said Hoeksel’s work ultimately benefits patients.

“She understood early and continues to promote, as the data clearly indicate, that a better educated nurse results in better patient outcomes,” Eddy wrote in nominating Hoeksel for the V. Lane Rawlins award.

College of Nursing Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel noted that Hoeksel was inducted last fall as a fellow of the National League for Nursing’s Academy of Nursing Education, and is a member of the Washington State Nurses Association Hall of Fame.

“Renee is so deserving of this honor,” Griffin-Sobel said. “Through her leadership, knowledge and authority she has helped transform nursing education. It’s entirely fitting that she’s the first College of Nursing faculty recognized with the V. Lane Rawlins President’s Award.”

Hoeksel said she was motivated in her work in part because of her own experience in an RN-BSN program.

“It was a real transformation,” she said. “The whole professional side of nursing opened up to me. I began to see that this piece was connected to that piece, the whole broad picture. And I vowed if I ever had the opportunity to give back of what I gained in that program, I would.”

WSU’s 2018 Showcase celebration runs March 27-April 2 and includes multiple events, including the President’s State of the University Address. Hoeksel will receive her award March 30 at the Celebrating Excellence Recognition banquet.

For more information on Showcase activities and awards, go to: https://showcase.wsu.edu/.

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