Helping At-Risk Students Succeed

Helping At-Risk Students Succeed

This program will provide educational leaders and faculty with evidence that students’ success in the nursing program and in their nursing career is strongly impacted by nonacademic competencies in such areas as leadership abilities, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, adaptability, motivation, initiative, and interpersonal skills. The presenters share strategies and experiences in the development, implementation, and evaluation of a Co-curricular Care Model (CCM) providing prelicensure BSN students with care interventions across their program of study to enhance their resilience, self-confidence, motivation, learning strategies, and quality of school/life balance. Emphasis is given to underrepresented/at-risk students.

Session Objectives
Following this session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the benefits of “soft skills” for building a culture of excellence and caring for nursing students fostering student success
  • Discuss the results of an assessment of nursing students’ “soft skills” and implications for developing critical thinking and problem-solving abilities required of the professional nurse
  • Apply learnings from this session to develop care interventions fostering nonacademic competencies important for success as a student and as a professional nurse.


Carla Sanderson

Carla Sanderson, PhD, RN, MSN, BSN, has 35 years of experience in higher education and healthcare, with expertise in the fields of higher education regulation, ethical decision-making, and leadership development.

Carla’s leadership experience is built on a strong clinical background as a critical care nurse and includes launching and leading healthcare and other academic programs, interventional research in the field of cardiovascular care, and bioethical decision-making as an author, speaker, and member of hospital-based ethics committees. Her regulatory experience includes the fields of nursing, public health, optometry, and pharmacy.

Dr. Sanderson is currently provost at Chamberlain University, a large provider of nursing education in the U.S. Chamberlain is built on an ethic of care and serves students through baccalaureate degree programs on 21 campuses across urban America and online through masters and doctoral programs in nursing and public health. Dr. Sanderson is responsible for Chamberlain’s academic programs and services, institutional research, regulatory compliance in all 50 states, and federal requirements through institutional and programmatic accreditation; her passion is developing programming for English language learners enrolled in nursing study.

Prior to Chamberlain, Dr. Sanderson’s academic career was built through 32 years of service to Union University, Jackson, Tenn., as faculty, dean, and provost. Her priorities were recruiting and developing Union’s faculty and emerging leaders, as well as building new programs. During those years, she was involved in the work of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Schools, and the Consortium for Global Education. Her involvement included leadership-development initiatives, including a focus on women and minorities, where she served as an author, speaker, advisor, and consultant, both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Sanderson now serves on the board of Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill., and Southern College of Optometry in Memphis. She served two terms as a trustee for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. She has participated in a U.S. Agency in International Development initiative in establishing regulatory standards for the Kurdish Ministry of Education, Erbil, Iraq.

Dr. Sanderson holds graduate degrees from the Universities of Florida (PhD, Nursing Science) and Tennessee (MS, Nursing – Clinical Nurse Specialist), an undergraduate degree from Union University, and a diploma in nursing from Baptist College for Health Sciences in Memphis. She has completed the Finance for Executives program at the University of Chicago Booth College of Business.

In recognition of her accomplishments, Dr. Sanderson was in the first Sterling Award class recognizing influential women in West Tennessee and is the recipient of SACS’ Meritorious Service Award, a distinguished alumni award, a distinguished faculty of the year award, and an educator of the year award. In addition, two naming opportunities recognize her work and career: Union University’s Carla D. Sanderson Faculty of the Year Award and the Carla D. Sanderson Endowed Scholarship. She holds the distinction of provost emeritus from Union.

Traci Henry

Traci C. Henry, MSN, RN, is part of the Academic Excellence team at Chamberlain University. She has been a Registered Professional Nurse for more than two decades and has been a nurse educator for close to a decade. Henry has extensive experience in nursing education. Her teaching responsibilities have included undergraduate and graduate-level instruction. She has presented nationally highlighting nonacademic support strategies for high-risk students. During her time at Chamberlain, she has worked with the 21-campus tutoring/academic support centers to create innovative, evidence-based, proactive support strategies for academically at-risk students. Henry is currently coleading a Chamberlain Care Co-Curricular taskforce to ensure Chamberlain is providing optimal resources to address nonacademic challenges for our culturally diverse students in their learning environments. She is also leading a care-intervention pilot integrating Mindfulness and Resiliency for new nursing students to provide foundational skills to help students be successful in their nursing program and profession. Henry focuses on the development of extraordinary nurses by supporting innovative technology and ensuring a culturally inclusive and equitable learning environment for all. Henry earned her Bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Master’s in the science of nursing degree from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. She is currently in her last year of the DNP program in Health Systems Management at Chamberlain University with a project focus on “New Graduate Nurses and the Implementation of an Evidence-Based Mindfulness and Resiliency Program, as Compared to Current Residency Training for Increase Novice Nurse Perceived Resiliency.