Nearly 30 northeastern Ohio medical professionals, formally known as preceptors, were honored at the Eleventh Annual Barbara Donaho Distinguished Leadership in Learning Awards on Thursday, March 23. Nominated by nursing students, faculty and staff, the award recognizes exceptional nurses and physicians for generously donating their time to mentor and train Kent State’s nursing students in clinical settings.

“Precepting is an enormous responsibility taken on by individuals who wish to encourage and guide the next generation of nursing professionals,” said Barbara Broome, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the college. “A great preceptor can have a profound impact on the learning, advancement and success of our students.”

The evening centered on empathy, as guest speaker, Mary Kutchin, Ph.D.(c)., MSN, RN, CNS, Kent State College of Nursing alumna, lecturer, and a 2015 recipient of the Donaho Award, reminded the honorees they were there because they made the students feel courageous and optimistic about a future in the nursing profession.

“Empathy is about connecting and must be demonstrated in context,” Kutchin said. “You have each demonstrated a remarkable ability to connect with our students. You have equipped them with the skills they need to connect with their patients and provide patient-centered care.”

Following Kutchin’s remarks, recipients were presented with an engraved crystal award as their nominations were read aloud.

Started in 2007, the award is named after Barbara A. Donaho, a long-time friend and supporter of Kent State and the College of Nursing. Since the awards’ inception, the College has recognized nearly 300 outstanding preceptors who have made a significant impact on nursing students and future nurse leaders.

Platinum sponsor for this year’s event was the Cleveland Clinic. Additional sponsors included University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center, Western Reserve Hospital, Akron Children’s Hospital, and Trumbull Memorial Hospital.