On Wednesday, May 31, the UCSF School of Nursing came together to honor and celebrate our preceptors. Each year, students nominate their clinical preceptors for the Helen Martin Award for Excellence in Clinical Precepting. The award is in honor and memory of Helen Martin, RN, FNP (MS ’91)—a stellar leader in faculty practice and an inspiring preceptor. Helen was clinical director of Valencia Health Services, a UCSF-supported pediatric practice in San Francisco’s Mission District and an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Family Health Care Nursing. Throughout her career, she worked with trainees, and over the ten-plus years she managed Valencia Health Services, she made it her mission to ensure that the clinic provided the best training possible for the students. Helen’s husband, Seth Ammerman, along with other family and friends, established this annual award with a fund in her memory to support and recognize the work that preceptors do.
With Helen’s family joining in the celebration, Pilar Bernal De Pheils, RN, MS, FAAN, FNP, greeted everyone. Family Health Care Nursing Interim Department Chair Catherine (Kit) Chesla, RN, PhD, FAAN, spoke to attendees on behalf of Interim Dean Sandra Weiss. She noted the almost 500 volunteer and without-salary faculty without whom our School’s mission could not be fulfilled. Current Associated Students of the School of Nursing (ASSN) President Eli Fox offered her thanks on behalf of the student body for all preceptors noting their lasting impression on students. Seth then shared remarks and memories regarding his late wife who felt passionately about mentoring and teaching and then introduced this year’s awardee, Maureen Sheehan, RN, MS, CPNP.
Maureen, a nurse practitioner at Pediatric Neurology, Stanford Children’s Health accepted this year’s award by video as she could not attend the event. Seth highlighted Maureen’s constant encouragement to her students to consider the children and parents as one unit. In the video recording accepting the award, Maureen reflected on why she precepts noting that it is her way of honoring those who precepted her, including those who taught her while she was a MEPN at UCSF. They encouraged her by reminding her of pearls of wisdom such as the reality that you will never know everything—that it’s important to acknowledge what you don’t know and then follow up. Emphasizing that “through our students, through precepting, we create our legacy. Our practice pearls will live through our students long after we’ve retired. So, go forth and precept!”