Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

RNAO Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Academic): Sheila O’Keefe-McCarthy

RNAO Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Academic): Sheila O’Keefe-McCarthy

The RNAO Leadership Award in Nursing Education (Academic) is awarded to the RN or NP who practises excellence as a nursing educator in a college or university setting. This individual enhances the image of nursing by encouraging critical thinking, innovation and debate about important nursing issues, and acts as a role model and mentor in their work environment.

Sheila O'Keefe-McCarthy says that being an educator means learning as much from her students as they learn from her. As a professor at Brock University, she helps to inspire and educate her students by sharing her years of experience. She doesn't shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly in nursing, and lets students know it's important to learn about the reality of tough days, and how to get through them. Sheila has worked as an RN since 1982 in various clinical areas, including hematology, neurology, GI-medicine, ER and ICU, and continues to work on a part-time basis. She says it helps her connect with her students because they know she understands the current nursing landscape . She works hard to get to know her students on a personal level so she can motivate them to reach their full potential. She wants to arm the next generation with all the tools, skills and abilities they'll need to be successful nurses. "They're going to look after me, and I want them to know what to do," she says.