Four alumni from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing are 2020 fellows of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), bringing the number of UAB School of Nursing faculty and alumni to receive this prestigious distinction up to 42. All four nurse leaders are graduates of the School’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program.
Inductees are typically honored at AANP’s Annual Conference in June; however, this year’s conference has been cancelled in order to prioritize the safety and clinical obligations of attendees in the face of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Becoming a fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners is an honor, and I am excited to see so many graduates from the UAB School of Nursing among this year’s class of inductees,” said Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair of Nursing Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN. “While we cannot honor our inductees in person at this year’s AANP conference, we look forward to celebrating this great accomplishment virtually. As a nurse practitioner, I recognize the extraordinary leadership, talent and commitment, the AANP Fellowship distinguished among those NPs recognized. I am especially proud to see that all four inductees are graduates of our DNP program — a true testament to our dedication of educating nurse leaders who go on to advance nursing practice and positively impact our profession.”
The School of Nursing will honor this year’s inductees through a virtual reception, which is open to faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
This year’s inductees include three-time graduate and adjunct clinical assistant professor at UAB School of Nursing D’Ann Somerall (BSN 1995, MSN 1999, DNP 2011), University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing Assistant Professor Kristi Acker (DNP 2009), University of Mississippi Medical Center Center for Telehealth Director of Clinical and Advanced Practice Operations Tearsanee Davis (DNP 2010), and recently retired University of Louisiana Monroe Associate Director of Graduate Nursing Rhonda Hensley (DNP 2011).
D’Ann Somerall, DNP, CRNP, FNP-BC, is a five-time UAB graduate, including three degrees from the UAB School of Nursing. Somerall gained her first degree in education before making the career change to nursing in 1995. She spent her nursing career as a women’s health nurse practitioner and caring for underserved populations. From 2010-2017, Somerall worked at The UAB School of Nursing’s nurse-managed clinic at The Foundry, where she provided care to under- or uninsured residents of the Birmingham community.
Somerall currently serves as the President of the Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama and Region 8 Coordinator for Sigma, an international nursing organization.
Somerall’s impact as a nurse practitioner and educator has been recognized many times before. She was named Central Alabama Nurse Practitioner of the Year in 2013, AANP Alabama Nurse Practitioner of the Year in 2015 and received the UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2016.
Kristi Acker, DNP, PhD, FNP-BC, AOCNP, ACHPN, is Assistant Professor of Clinical, Graduate Nursing at the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing. She holds specialty certifications in oncology and hospice and palliative advance practice nursing and has extensive clinical experience in palliative care and hematology/oncology.
She serves on the Alabama State Advisory Council on Palliative Care and Quality of Life and was elected to serve a 3-year term on the Board of Directors for the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association. She is also involved with the American Nurses Association, Alabama State Nurses Association, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma Theta Tau), Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association and the Oncology Nursing Society.
Tearsanee Davis, DNP, FNP-BC, is Director of Clinical and Advance Practice Operations for the Center for Telehealth at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. In this role, she represents the Center for Telehealth at professional organizations and is responsible for clinical oversight. Davis is a family nurse practitioner and has worked in many settings, from private practice to emergency medicine. She is also recognized as an expert in telehealth and worked to improve access to care through telehealth at UMMC.
Davis participates in many professional organizations and also received the Nurse Practitioner State Award for Excellence for Mississippi from AANP this year.
Rhonda Hensley, DNP, EdD, FNP, MSN, BSN, recently retired as Associate Director of Graduate Nursing at University of Louisiana Monroe. She worked as a family nurse practitioner for 22 years before becoming a teacher, and said in through teaching she hopes to help future nurses feel equipped to deliver high-quality care and achieve positive outcomes for patients. In addition to speaking at nurse practitioner conferences, she also completes medical and humanitarian mission trips to Central America.
Hensley also received the 2018 AANP State Advocate Award for Louisiana and the 2014 AANP Excellence in Clinical Practice Award.