April (Trenary) Nelson, Nursing Program Director

Dr. April Trenary

“My role as an educator is to prepare nurses to educate themselves throughout their career.”

Degrees Held:

  • DNP – Nurse Administration with Education Concentration, Samford University, 2020
  • M.S. – Nurse Education, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, 2012
  • BSN – University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, 2007

Career Highlights:


  • CEN – Certified Nurse Educator
  • CCRN – Critical Care Nurse Certification

Published Works:

  • Frisbie, S. & Trenary, A. (2020). Creation of a triage training program for a large emergency department [Poster]. Sigma Repository. http://hdl.handle.net/10755/20831.
  • Trenary, A. (2018). Double-edged sword: Course evaluations. Journal of Christian Nursing, 35, 265. https://doi.org/10.1097/CNJ.0000000000000536.
  • Trenary, A. (2017). From the other side of the podium. Journal of Christian Nursing, 34, 197. https://doi.org/10.1097/CNJ.0000000000000397.
  • Trenary, A. & Farrar, H.M. (2016). Use of a professional writing rubric as a teaching strategy to improve scholarly writing. Oklahoma Nurse, 61(2), 12-13.
  • Trenary, A. (2017, September 18). From Classroom to Deathbed [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://ncf-jcn.org/blog/classroom-deathbed.
  • Trenary, A. (2011) Critical care collaboration: A unit based council initiative. Hospital Happenings, 2(2).
  • Trenary, A. (2011) National certification: From competence to confidence. Hospital Happenings, 2(2).


Professional presentations made at local, state, regional and national conferences. Topics have included instructional strategies, collaborative learning, student assessment and online learning.


  • Northeastern State University President’s Ambassador Network, 2021
  • AACN Novice Faculty Excellence in Didactic Teaching Award Nominee, 2017
  • Excellence in Clinical Teaching, OU College of Nursing, 2017
  • Excellence in Academic Teaching, OU College of Nursing, 2015
  • Inducted to Sigma Theta Tau, International Honor Society in Nursing, 2007

What do you want students to take away from your classes? What do you want them to learn?

The more I think about my teaching philosophy, the more I realize that success is not about what I do in the classroom but about what I can inspire my students to do or accomplish as nurses.

What is the value of a BSN?

Multiple research studies show facilities with a higher percentage of RNs with baccalaureate or higher degrees experienced decreased mortality, increased patient safety and improved quality of care. NSU is committed to preparing nurses for the challenges of transition to higher levels of professional practice.

Why did you start teaching?

When I graduated with a BSN from the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing in 2007, I never imagined I would return years later to complete the M.S. education degree and then earn a DNP in Administration/Education. I am glad I followed my heart and trusted God’s guidance to encourage and inspire nursing students to reach their full potential as nursing professionals.

What advice would you give to people considering the online RN to BSN program?

As an online nursing student, you will need to budget your time like you budget your money. Have a designated study space and keep a planner. Schedule time for learning activities and assignments throughout the week rather than waiting until the last minute.

What qualities make someone particularly successful in nursing?

Trustworthiness, initiative, respectability, inquisitiveness, self-discipline and courage.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that nurses face today?

Staying healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. We must take care of ourselves so we can care for others.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students may not know.

The call to be a nurse educator was not a call to leave the bedside. As a nurse, I value both nursing science and caring practices. I model professional behaviors with a bedside practice in an intensive care unit and board certification in critical care nursing. This allows me to provide real-world examples of new things that I learn even as an experienced nurse.


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