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Nursing Professor Named Fellow by Esteemed Nursing Academy

Dr. L. Kathleen Sekula has earned one of the nursing profession’s highest honors in being named a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN).

Sekula, an associate professor and coordinator of Duquesne University’s graduate forensic nursing programs, will be formally inducted as a Fellow at the AAN’s national conference on Oct. 15. She is the third School of Nursing faculty member to be named a Fellow by the AAN, the nation’s top organization for improving nursing practice and influencing policy.

“Being named a Fellow of the AAN requires significant contributions to the nursing profession and to health care,” said Nursing Dean Dr. Eileen Zungolo. “It is one of the profession’s preeminent credentials because the AAN comprises the nation’s top researchers, educators and practitioners.”

Fellows are selected, in part, on the extent to which their careers have influenced health policies and health care delivery for the benefit of all Americans. Sekula has been an advocate for improving nursing practice for vulnerable populations, in particular victims of violence, including domestic and sexual assault.

With financial assistance from grants from the Department of Health and Human Services, Sekula was the driving force in the creation of the School of Nursing’s graduate forensic programs, and she has worked tirelessly to see that forensic nursing gains recognition as a health care specialty. With the expansion of the role of the forensic nurse, forensic nursing professionals in the United States and United Kingdom have sought her guidance.

Sekula serves as president of the International Association of Forensic Nurses certification board, a post through which she works to establish advanced practice certification. She is also a member of the board of directors of The Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law, as well as an advisor to the programs that it offers.

Her resume includes years of experience as an advanced practice psychiatric nurse, and during her early years in practice, she served on the staff of the emergency room at what is now UPMC Mercy Hospital. It was while maintaining a clinical practice in psychiatric nursing that she recognized the need to create programs to better prepare nurses for the care of victims of violence.

For Sekula, fellowship in the AAN is an accomplishment she would graciously share. “I am honored by this recognition from my peers because it is for achievements in the area of advanced practice forensic nursing, which is work that I have accomplished through collaboration with my many colleagues,” Sekula said.

Sekula resides in New Kensington.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.