Two Moraine Valley Community College nursing instructors each were awarded an Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) Nurse Educator Fellowship. Nearly 80 individuals earned this honor across Illinois. The number of grants awarded doubled from the previous fiscal year due to an increase in state funding.

Since 2014, the IBHE has instituted the Nurse Educator Fellowship Program to ensure the retention of qualified nursing faculty at colleges and universities that provide nursing programs throughout Illinois. The award is meant to further develop the teaching and/or leadership skills of instructors and ensure nursing students are prepared, especially with a shortage of medical personnel in the workforce.

Moraine Valley’s awardees are Jacinda Ross, instructor of nursing, and Dr. Kelli Nickols, associate professor of nursing. Ross is applying some of her fellowship funds toward her mental health nurse practitioner certificate and some to join the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL).

“I will use the knowledge and ideas from INACSL to create some simulations (SIMs) for the mental health clinicals and lectures to enable students to experience some of the more unusual mental health diagnoses as well as some of the more dangerous situations that can be encountered in patients. SIMs allow students to be safe, and no one is harmed if a mistake is made,” Ross explained. “I can bring this new knowledge to my practice at Moraine Valley and enhance the already great Nursing Program with even more resources.”

This is the second time Nickols has received the fellowship, which she is eager to use to further develop her knowledgebase as well.

“In the field of nursing, patient care continues to evolve. Staying up-to-date on nursing education is essential to me,” Nickols said. “I’m very excited to receive this award as it allows me to pursue continuing education opportunities. The knowledge I obtain will be used in the classroom helping students critically think, along with serving as a resource within my department.”


For news media inquiries, contact Maura Vizza, Moraine Valley communications specialist and sports information coordinator, at (708) 974-5742 or