Cheryl L. Lacasse, PhD, RN, AOCNS, clinical professor and RN-MSN program coordinator for the University of Arizona College of Nursing, has received the Distinguished Educator in Gerontological Nursing award from the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE). The honor is bestowed on experienced nurse educators with specialties in teaching, developing curriculum for, or overseeing aging or gerontological/geriatric nursing courses, professional development content or community education.
“My passion for gerontological nursing was nurtured by gerontology and oncology nurses, educators and researchers throughout my career, and my early experiences with four grandparents who all aged with joy, curiosity, grace and full engagement in life,” Dr. Lacasse said. “Working with older adult cancer survivors in acute care and outpatient settings, I learned that this population had unique care needs that needed to be recognized by their care providers.”
Dr. Lacasse is a master educator and mentor, and a fellow in the University of Arizona Center for University Educational Scholarship. She has more than 30 years of nursing experience and received her doctorate in nursing with a specialty in oncology and gerontology from the University of Utah in 2017. Her clinical scholarship and research focuses on older adult cancer survivors, predicting critical “tipping points” in frail older adults, the impact of chronic conditions on quality of life in older adults, and symptom assessment and management. Her teaching scholarship emphasizes innovations in online teaching and learning.
“As a gerontological nurse educator, I am motivated to inspire novice nurses to appreciate the unique and rewarding dimensions of caring for older adults,” she said. “The growth of the older adult population is bringing with it the growth of complex health needs. We want to ensure that the nursing workforce is expert at promoting the best possible quality of life as people age.”
Along with Janice D. Crist, PhD, RN, FWAN, FAAN, Dr. Lacasse co-coordinated the Wildcat Interprofessional Geroscience Group from 2017 to 2020. The group, which is made up of College of Nursing faculty, promotes education in the dimensions of gerontology for students, faculty and staff.
The NHCGNE is a collaboration of national and international schools and institutions committed to enhancing the capacity and competency of nurses to provide quality care for older adults. Their mission is accomplished through advancing gerontological nursing science, providing faculty development, facilitating adoption of best practices, fostering leadership, and designing and shaping policy.
Also recognized by the NHCGNE with this award was Heather L. Carlisle, PhD, DNP, RN, FNP, AGACNP, CHPN, clinical associate professor in the College of Nursing. Drs. Carlisle and Lacasse join 2019 College of Nursing awardees Lorraine Martin-Plank, PhD, FNP-BC, NP-C, GNP-BC, FAANP, FNAP, and Dr. Crist in their leadership as nurse educators working with students, faculty, providers and older people in diverse settings.