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NMJC Nurse Educator Wins Statewide Nursing Award

11/23/2016 6:17:46 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. [Story by Dorothy Fowler, Hobbs News Sun]

Shannon Allen's nameplate has lots of initials -- CRNA-MSN. She's earned each and every one of them and has loved doing it. She's a certified registered nurse anesthetist and she holds a Master of Science in Nursing. Now, she's received a New Mexico Nursing Excellence Award. It won't add another initial to her nameplate, but in addition to the honor, she'll get a beautiful plaque that will join a bevy of diplomas and certificates that hang on the wall in her office in the nursing department at New Mexico Junior College. The plaque will read "for excellence in advanced practice." Allen couldn't attend the banquet in Albuquerque to get the plaque in person because her daughter was in the hospital undergoing a C-section and presenting Allen with her first grandchild, "an exceptionally beautiful little girl named Sunny." Allen was nominated for the nursing award by her daughter, Katy Wright, who recalled that when her mom wrote her thesis for her Master's degree, "on malignant hyperthermia, she realized that the operating room where she was working was not ready to handle an MH crisis. She developed an "MH Basket," educated the staff to make sure they were prepared, and built an MH cart with all the necessary medications to help patients survive MH."

Allen, who is now working toward a doctorate in nursing, wants to write textbooks for nurse anesthetists and continue teaching at New Mexico Junior College.

Friday, she said she and her family have deep roots in the Hobbs community.

"My family came to Hobbs in a covered wagon in 1912, before there was a Hobbs," she said. "And we've been here ever since. I love this community and I love taking care of the people here."

Allen said she started her profession as a student at New Mexico Junior College and got her advanced degree at a school in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Her advanced training is in pharmacology and pathophysiology and those are the courses she teaches in the nursing program.
Before she joined the faculty at the nursing school, she worked as an intensive care nurse and in the operating room as an anesthesia nurse. "In New Mexico, anesthesia nurses are independent, not associated with the physician who is doing the surgery. We are the ones in charge of giving the anesthetic and dealing with any problems that might occur," she said.
She is enthusiastic about nursing.

"I think it's the greatest profession in the world," she said. "I'm blessed every day because I get to get up and make a difference in people's lives. And I absolutely love teaching. People told me not to teach because it would be a waste of my ability, but what I'm doing is creating nurses who will continue to help people. I'm so glad I came here."

Allen prepared a written statement before Friday's interview.

"I really want people to know this," she said as she handed over the statement, which reads, "Having lived in Lea County my entire life, I am vested in our community and care deeply for its citizens. I began my career as an NMJC graduate, and went on to become a nurse anesthetist. I've spent my entire adult life caring for this community and providing safe, high quality anesthesia. I have now returned full circle to NMJC, and my goal is to to help cultivate quality nurses that will impact our community for generations to come."

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