NMC Alumnus Blake Smith Named AAMN President
Nebraska Methodist College (NMC) is one of only nine* U.S. institutions of higher learning to receive a 2018 Best Nursing School for Men in Nursing Award from the American Association of Men in Nursing (AAMN). The award was presented at the 2018 AAMN conference held in Milwaukee earlier this month.
“Nebraska Methodist is a college with arms open wide for everyone,” said Troy Beekman, BSN, RN, one of the students who represented NMC at the conference.
Troy, who graduated from NMC’s accelerated BSN program in 2014, recently returned to pursue a doctorate of nursing practice and certification as a family nurse practitioner.
“I chose to come back because I knew exactly what I was getting at NMC: a quality education and an open and awesome culture,” said Troy. “So the Best School Award didn’t really surprise me.”
AAMN gives the award to recognize a nursing school or college that has provided significant efforts in recruiting and retaining men in nursing, in providing men a supportive educational environment, and in educating faculty, students and the community about the contributions men have made and do make to the nursing profession.
“We are honored by this award, and we remain committed to helping men and minorities enter the nursing profession and excel,” said Dr. Deb Carlson, NMC president/CEO. “Nursing isn’t about gender. It’s about developing the right skillset, mindset and heartset to be an outstanding healthcare professional.”
NMC had a longstanding history of strategic initiatives to increase diversity, including gender diversity, which stands at 10 percent male enrollment overall and 8 percent male enrollment in nursing. Initiatives include proactively working with grade school and high school students to spark interest in nursing early on, as well as recruitment and marketing that shows males and minorities not only belong in nursing, but they continue to make a positive and essential impact in healthcare.
“Nebraska Methodist College has a commitment to inclusivity, and men are only one aspect of this,” said Blake Smith MSN, BSN, RN, the new and youngest AAMN president in the 43-year history of the organization.
Blake is also a 2012 graduate of NMC’s accelerated BSN program.
"When Blake explained that AAMN is about much more than helping men in nursing, for example, it's about men learning to understand how to care for women and women learning how to care for men," said Deb, "I knew this was something we wanted to promote at our college."
Blake said that for NMC and the other AAMN Best School Award winners, attainment of the award comes from meeting specific metrics of an assessment tool sponsored by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and vetted by the Institute of Medicine following their landmark report “The Future of Nursing: Leading Health, Advancing Change,” which called for greater diversity in the workplace.
“Parity in any profession improves quality,” said Blake. “Diversity helps every profession — not just diversity of people, but diversity of thought. This is especially important to nursing, which seeks complex solutions to complex problems.”
Blake describes nursing as a high-reward, high-integrity profession that offers numerous ways to give back, to impact lives, to be a coach and an advocate for helping individuals become not just healthier but truly well.
In his current role as a clinical documentation senior analyst at Nebraska Medicine, Blake is uniquely positioned to help healthcare professionals improve patient care and outcomes through the use of information technology and electronic medical records. Previously, Blake was as a member of the progressive care unit’s nursing team at Methodist Hospital, which was named a 2017 Best Workplace by the AAMN.
Blake has received recognition for his nursing leadership, mentorship and volunteer activities as a Nebraska Action Coalition “40 Under 40” award winner, induction into the International Nurses Association’s Worldwide Leaders in Health Care, a finalist for the Omaha Magazine 2015 Nurse Excellence Award, a Top Performer Award from Professional Research Consultants and as a recipient of the Methodist Health System’s The Meaning of Care Award and Daisy Award. He is currently working with NMC on developing a mentorship pilot program through the local AAMN chapter.
“I have always felt at home at NMC and want to pay that forward to those who follow,” said Blake. “I’m proud to be a Methodist grad. This is a college that celebrates diversity.”
Best School Bonus: Free AAMN Student Memberships
As students of an AAMN Best School, all NMC nursing students, male and female, have free student memberships to the AAMN for the 2018-19 year, a $30 value. Register online at aamn.org/membership.
* 2018 AAMN Awards for Best Nursing School/College
- Duke University, School of Nursing
- Goldfarb School of Nursing, Barnes-Jewish College
- Nebraska Methodist College
- New York University, Rory Meyers College of Nursing
- Rush University, College of Nursing
- Rutgers University, School of Nursing
- University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh, College of Nursing
- Vanderbilt University, School of Nursing
- West Coast University, College of Nursing
Shown at the 2018 AAMN Conference in photo at top of story, from left: NMC Assistant Professor Cheryl Bouckaert, MSN, BSN, RN; NMC BSN-DNP Program Director Tara Whitmire, DNP, APRN-NP; NMC DNP student and alumnus Troy Beekman BSN, RN; NMC President/CEO Deb Carlson, PhD; AAMN President and NMC alumnus Blake Smith, MSN, BSN, RN; NMC Accelerated BSN student Nathan Johnson.