James Madison University

Cindy Rubenstein Receives Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award

By Sandy Jolles
September 2013

Nursing educator, Dr. Cindy Rubenstein, was chosen for the Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, or AACN.  The AACN holds numerous conferences throughout the year, and will recognize Rubenstein in a special ceremony. 

“I am very honored to be selected as the recipient of this prestigious award in nursing education,” Rubenstein said.  “The AACN sets the standards nationally for excellence, innovation and research in nursing education.”

About Rubenstein

Rubenstein received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Virginia, and her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Virginia Commonwealth University.  With a concentration in Child Health, Rubenstein went on to become a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in Primary Care.  After her work on the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board and her work in primary care, Rubenstein completed her Ph.D. in Nursing at Villanova University.   As a certified pediatric nurse practitioner for over 14 years, Rubenstein worked at Harrisonburg Pediatrics until 2013.   
Rubenstein is currently an assistant professor and the Undergraduate Program Director for the Department of Nursing in the College of Health and Behavioral Studies.  Since January 2008, Rubenstein has taught undergraduate pediatric didactic and clinical, undergraduate nurse leadership, and graduate pediatric nurse practitioner classroom content.  Rubenstein also currently teaches an undergraduate elective, Combating Childhood Obesity.

About the AACN

The AACN provides academic leadership programs in the practice and research of nursing education.  The AACN contains a geographically diverse Board of Directors from all parts of the United States.  The directors govern the AACN’s committees and taskforces.  Together, the AACN works to promote the research of nursing in the context of health care.

Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award

The AACN Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award serves to recognize nursing educators with more than five years of teaching experience at AACN member schools.  Rubenstein focuses on innovation in nursing education at both the graduate and undergraduate level. As a professor for more than 12 years, her teaching strategies and nursing education research have been presented at national meetings and published in peer reviewed journals.  

At the conference, Rubenstein will be presented with the engraved award, as well as spotlighted on AACN’s website.   Rubenstein’s original teaching styles will be highlighted as an AACN webinar.  By receiving the award, Rubenstein has not only demonstrated innovation in her teaching and learning styles, but she has also mentored these styles to faculty.

Innovation in Teaching

For Rubenstein’s NSG 635 class, Family-Centered Care course, students work through case studies reflecting experiences of primary care situations.   In order to provide primary care to children and families, students develop their clinical decision making skills in the classroom. 

“My role is to facilitate the case study, providing the data needed and giving question prompts to facilitate a richer group discussion of alternative management and variants on the case situation.”

Rubenstein also employs learning strategies using ‘NP on call” in class and “clinical cases,” in which students manage a phone call with a parent regarding a pediatric question.  By acquiring subjective and objective data, the student must handle the “on-call” case. 

In Rubenstein’s NSG 430-The Nurse Leader course- students developed a group blog, relating their blog to health-oriented legislation.  After students supported and corroborated their stance, they contacted legislators and executed a political action plan. 

“The necessity of preparing both undergraduate and graduate students to critically think and make clinical decisions in an increasingly complex healthcare environment provides the foundation for my teaching strategies in the classroom.”