Sherylyn Watson, associate dean of academic affairs at Sacred Heart University’s College of Nursing, will be honored in October with the Connecticut Nurses’ Association (CNA) 2019 Josephine A. Dolan Award for Outstanding Contributions to Nursing Education.
The CNA award acknowledges innovation and achievement related to classroom learning and experience. This award focuses on noteworthy accomplishments within the field of nursing, a positive learning atmosphere for students and contributions to nursing knowledge through publications and research in an academic setting.
“I am extremely honored and humbled to be selected for this very prestigious award. In this position I have the opportunity to have an impact on many people,” said Watson. “My position allows me to make a difference in nursing education. My favorite part of my job is working on programs and opportunities that create experiential learning for my students.”
Watson’s innovations have brought her well beyond traditional classroom teaching. In her position, she has developed programs, taken students abroad to experience different facets of nursing and guided students to find their niche within the field.
Over the years, she has followed teaching approaches that have been unique and non-traditional. “One of my biggest joys and accomplishments has been taking experiential learning abroad. Many people believe that this profession is for a small world but, in reality, there are so many opportunities to take advantage of,” said Watson.
Throughout her time at Sacred Heart, she has focused on nursing leadership, health assessment, and NCLEX nursing exam prep. In addition, Watson has presented her work at conferences nationally and internationally. She has focused on new ways to offer clinical education to undergraduate and graduate students that provide appreciation for the practice and cultural differences each specialty might entail. “When students really understand their learning, when they have their ‘ah-ha’ moment, they see nursing from a completely different perspective. The students realize that they are capable of more than they thought and grow to see the field in a different perspective,” said Watson.
Mary Alice Donius, dean of the College of Nursing, described Watson as an exceptional teacher and colleague. She is known for her vision within nursing education that extends well beyond the classroom and prepares the next generation of nurses, Donius said.
Watson received her Ph.D. in nursing education from Capella University, her MSN in forensic nursing from Quinnipiac University and a BSN from Fairfield University. In addition, she has served as a volunteer nurse since 2000.