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By Cathie Harding

ADA - Jennifer Heck’s love of nursing and teaching has taken her to the next level of her career.

Heck, instructor of nursing at East Central University, has received the first-ever University of Oklahoma College of Nursing Two-Year Family-Centered Nursing Science Predoctoral Scholarship.

“I am very honored at having been selected,” Heck said.

The award was created to support full-time doctoral education for nurses who will be committed or are already committed to careers in academia. It is specifically focused on filling a need in family-centered nursing education.

“Having Jennifer accepted into this program is positive for our department as the program focuses on both research and improving the health of women or children," Dr. Anne Davis, chairman of the Department of Nursing, said. “It is very special to have her. She will bring back to this region a unique set of skills.”

Heck’s coursework begins in August. She will continue to teach half time at ECU but one of the requirements of the award is that she be a full-time student.

“It is a pretty big deal,” Heck said. “They provide $100,000 over the two-year period. They want to do everything they can to make sure you are successful.”

Research and publication of a dissertation will follow. Scholarship recipients agree to teach for two years after graduation. Heck plans to remain at ECU.

“I love it,” she said. “I love my job. Of course I will work here.”

This fall Heck begins her seventh year teaching the family-centered courses at ECU. Prior to that, she taught nursing at Bacone College.

“She is an amazing teacher,” Marah Canfield, nursing graduate, said. “She is very knowledgeable in all of the areas she teaches. She is the type of teacher who will bend over backwards for you and try to help you with anything you need, even if it's something outside of school.”          

Heck has practiced as an RN in the areas of NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) and Mother-Baby (Postpartum, Newborn Nursery and Transition Nursery).  She graduated with a bachelor of science in nursing from OU in 1999 and a master of science in nursing from OU in 2004.

She and her husband Shane, a pilot for the Chickasaw Nation, have been married since 2004. They have two daughters, Natalie 5 and Katelyn 3.

“I am so excited for her and the scholarship she has received,” Canfield said. “She is going to do great things.”  


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