Nursing faculty recognized with state award

Published on May 17, 2024

Photographs of Professor I of Nursing, Dr. Shirley Gharbin, and Professor II of Nursing, Dr. Cynthia Horton.

Professor II of Nursing, Dr. Cynthia Horton and Professor I of Nursing, Dr. Shirley Gharbin.

NORTH EAST, Md: The Cecil College nursing faculty was honored this spring. Two members were the recipients of the Dr. Peg E. Daw Nurse Faculty Award through the Maryland Higher Education Commission for outstanding contributions to nursing education. Professor I of Nursing, Dr. Shirley Gharbin, and Professor II of Nursing, Dr. Cynthia Horton, were among the 35 full-time nursing faculty selected for this award from the 16 Maryland Schools of Nursing.

“This recognition emphasizes the commitment of our nurse faculty who provide state-of-the-art training for our current nursing students across the state while remaining dedicated to finding new and innovative ways of educating the next generation of nurses in Maryland,” said Maryland Higher Education Acting Secretary Sanjay Rai.

Dr. Gharbin was recognized for her impact on students during her work in the classroom and clinical setting. Dr. Gharbin has taught at Cecil College in the nursing program since 2008 as an adjunct and then became full-time in 2011 serving a combined 15 years in nursing education. Her current rank is Associate Professor II of nursing. Shirley has served as a co-chair for OADN Alpha Delta Nu Nursing National Honor Society for Associate Degree Nursing.

Dr. Gharbin has participated in and championed many initiatives that have had a positive impact on her students. She was one of the first faculty to work with and nominate a nursing student from her clinical group for the Josie King nursing student award for saving the life of a patient. Since that time, many students have received this award for their timely interventions in preventing errors in patient care. Dr. Gharbin states that her students in clinical at Christiana Hospital “get the experience of seeing first-hand what it is like to be a nurse.”

Dr. Horton was honored for the teaching techniques she has researched and developed. Her attention to detail in the nursing curriculum has enabled the Cecil College Nursing Program to address emerging issues before they become problems. Dr. Horton has made many contributions during her career as a nursing educator.  She has served as an editor for the OADN publication, Teaching and Learning in Nursing, a peer-reviewed journal that provides information on nursing education, practice, administration, and research.

“It is so important to keep our program current with what is occurring in healthcare. In the nursing curriculum, as nursing faculty, we must evaluate the important aspects to ensure students are prepared for the workforce,” said Dr. Horton.

The Dr. Peg E. Daw Nurse Faculty Award recipients were chosen for demonstrating excellence in their role as nurse faculty members in one of five categories: excellence in teaching, impact on students, engagement, innovation in education and technology, and contributions to nursing education.

The Cecil College Nursing Program has received many accolades over the decades, and credit for its success falls squarely on the shoulders of the faculty. Dr. Gharbin’s unique teaching style has enabled the nursing program to raise its standards to the next level, with the students embracing the challenges and surpassing expectations. Her work was nationally recognized by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), which presented her with the inaugural Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Award in 2018.

“I try to connect what the students learn in the classroom with what they might see during their clinical studies. The textbooks are often outdated, and the information is not current because technology is changing so fast. I bring my experiences from working in practice back to the classroom to expose them to this information,” said Dr. Gharbin. “For me, as an educator, it keeps me more rounded because I am up-to-date with what is going on, and I feel that our students are getting an edge when it comes to taking the Boards and going into practice. They don’t experience, ‘Oh, we didn’t learn that when we were in the class.’”

Dr. Gharbin earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the College of New Rochelle and master’s degree in nursing from Wilmington University. She continued her education to complete her doctorate (Ed.D.) from Wilmington University.

Dr. Horton’s work on curriculum development has been published over the years, and she has presented best practices at national and international conferences. Her presentations have included how Cecil College laid the groundwork for a collaborative training workshop with Arcadia University. These workshops provide an opportunity for students from different health professions to work as a team and learn what other health professions have to offer.

Dr. Horton, a Professor of Nursing at Cecil College since 1994, earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Widener University and a doctorate at Immaculata College. While at Cecil, she has been listed in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” twice.