Mar. 10—St. Francis University faculty member Rita Trofino has received the distinguished colleague award from Pennsylvania Higher Education Nursing Schools Association Inc.
"It was a real honor," she said. "It was a surprise. I totally didn't expect it."
The nursing professor serves as associate dean of the school of health sciences and education at St. Francis University and chairwoman of its nursing department.
This is the first time she's been awarded the honor, which is given out every two years.
Trofino, who helped develop the nursing program at St. Francis beginning in 1981 and has served in her leadership roles there since 2011, said she was humbled by the experience.
She has been teaching nursing for 35 years and received her bachelor's and master's degrees from The University of Pittsburgh and her doctorate in nursing from Carlow University.
"I just feel honored to have a small part in helping to teach nurses," Trofino said. "It's nice to know that we're able to teach nurses to fulfill the need that there is out there."
Criteria for the award is wide-spread and includes aspects such as responsible leadership in planning, advancement of bachelor's and higher degree programs, assisting colleagues to assume a proactive position in relation to forces that impact nursing education and inspiring colleagues by exhibiting enthusiasm, according to a release from the university.
The nursing schools association is a statewide organization that helps bachelor's and higher degree nursing education programs in the commonwealth plan and implement programs for development growth and advancement.
It also provides a meeting place and forum for individuals who lead schools of nursing to learn, talk, assemble and plan for nursing's future, the release said.