In May, The Washington State Association of College Trustees (ACT) awarded Teaessa Chism the 2019 ACT Faculty Member Award. Chism, a Bellevue College (BC) senior associate pediatric nursing faculty member, has served BC since 2009 and received tenure in 2012. The annual award recognizes faculty, staff and organizations for their dedication to Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges.
“This award is an honor,” said Chism. “I am full of gratitude. For me, it reminds me of how far I have come in my professional journey and as a person.”
Chism was instrumental in developing an annual service-learning clinical experience called The Ghana Project which introduces BC nursing students to Transcultural Learning Theory, and connects them with nursing students in Ghana. Together they attend joint lectures on tropical diseases and examine the social determinants to health.
The project also raises funds for other kinds of initiatives that benefit communities in Ghana. Those funds have purchased medical equipment for a community clinic; provided a clinic with 4-7 months of antibiotics and medications/diagnostics for malaria treatment; supported the drilling of a well for clean drinking water in a rural village; contributed to building a school in rural village; provided school uniforms/books and four educational scholarships.
“We need to prepare our graduates to view professionalism from a global lens,” she said. “As patient populations in the U.S. become more diverse, nursing as a profession is looking for ways to increase the diversity of the workforce too.”
As a member of the Special Education Committee at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Chism has been integral in promoting Bellevue College’s participation in student clinical experiences. BC is the only community and technical college granted clinical experiences for students.
Chism was also recognized for her efforts to continually improve processes within the nursing program, arranging demonstrations of cloud-based clinical simulation programs for faculty. Such programs are especially accommodating to students who are non-native speakers of English, giving them the opportunity to test their knowledge and get immediate feedback on their performance.
“I believe in our mission of student success and access to education,” said Chism. “I love that every student has unique journey. When I am teaching, I may have a traditional student who started directly out of high school; a single mom is who first generation college student; a second degree or second career student who is returning to school after years in the professional workforce; an older parent who has raised their family and now pursuing career dreams; an English as a second language student; or an international nurse who needs to complete specialty nursing courses to take the national licensing exam for nursing.”
These different perspectives and experiences enrich our learning environment and teach all of us—myself included—various ways to look at healthcare and education. – Teaessa Chism
Chism is a 2001 graduate from Indiana University East, and spent several years as a pediatric ICU travel nurse working at various hospitals throughout the U.S. She began work at Seattle Children’s Hospital in 2005, and previously taught pediatric clinical courses at Seattle University.
ACT is the statewide association of trustees of the 30 community and technical college districts. It supports and coordinates trustee efforts in education, communication and advocacy. Trustees serve five-year terms and are appointed by the governor with the consent of the Washington state Senate.
Last Updated September 11, 2019