Friday, 25 October 2019 14:36

RichmondCC nursing graduate wins Outstanding Alumni Award

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Dr. Hal Shuler, associate vice president for Development, left, and Dr. Dale McInnis, president of Richmond Community College, stand with the Outstanding Alumni Award winner, Dr. Yolanda VanRiel. Dr. Hal Shuler, associate vice president for Development, left, and Dr. Dale McInnis, president of Richmond Community College, stand with the Outstanding Alumni Award winner, Dr. Yolanda VanRiel. RCC

HAMLET — Richmond Community College has named a former nursing student and instructor its Outstanding Alumni Award winner for 2019. Dr. Yolanda VanRiel, the interim department chair of Nursing at North Carolina Central University, received recognition for this achievement at the College’s Convocation on Oct. 23. 


“I am honored to be recognized among an elite group of RichmondCC alumni. My mom, Dorothy Hawkins, attended RichmondCC along with several of my family members,” said VanRiel of West End. “RichmondCC will always be dear to me, from starting my own education in nursing here to beginning my career in nursing education.”

VanRiel has 24 years of nursing experience with 19 years as a nurse educator. Besides her position at NCCU, she is also a part-time Patient Placement Coordinator at First Health of the Carolinas-Moore Regional Hospital. More recently, she was a tenured Associate Professor and MSN Nursing Education Concentration Program Coordinator at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro in the Adult Health Nursing Department. She also taught in the Nursing Assistant and Associate Degree Nursing programs at RichmondCC from 2000 to 2007. 

The former Richmond County native earned an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing and then an Associate in Science from RichmondCC. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Nursing Education from UNC-Greensboro. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She also earned an Interdisciplinary Certificate in Healthcare Disparities from the UNC-Chapel Hill. 

“RichmondCC gave me the foundation and direction to begin my career in clinical practice and transition to nursing education,” she said. “My instructors that I encountered obtaining my two degrees at RichmondCC guided and mentored me in leadership. I was given many leadership opportunities, such as being a RichmondCC Student Ambassador and president of the Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society.”

VanRiel is a Fellow in the NLN Academy of Nursing Education. She is also a certified nurse educator, oncology nurse certified and board certified medical-surgical nurse. Her research areas are nursing education, provider-patient communication, health disparities and oncology. She has given numerous presentations and written many publications in these areas. 

VanRiel is also a member of several organizations including the American Nurses Association, North Carolina Nurses Association, Oncology Nursing Society, Gamma Zeta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, the National League for Nursing (NLN) and the North Carolina League for Nursing. She is a board member and serves as Vice Chair of the North Carolina Board of Nursing representing the BSN and Higher Education. She is an item writer for the NLN and a member of the NLN CNEA Program Review Committee. 

VanRiel has received other awards over the course of her career, including the NCNA Nurse Educator of the Year, Gamma Zeta Chapter Excellence in Nursing Education, Mentorship and Leadership Award, Great 100 Nurses of NC and the UNCG School of Nursing Teaching Excellence Award. 

“We are proud of alumni like Dr. VanRiel, who take the education they receive here at RichmondCC and make it a building block for many great achievements,” said Dr. Hal Shuler, Associate Vice President of Development. “Her career and numerous awards and honors are a true testament to how RichmondCC can prepare students to succeed in life.”

VanRiel and her husband, Antonio, have five children: three sons, Antonio, Mekhi and Phillip, who are in high school and middle school; and two daughters, Brittany Wall, who lives in Palm Desert, California, and Capt. Morgan Hicks, a Judge Advocate General for the U.S. Air Force, who lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, Capt. Carnell Hicks, who is also a Judge Advocate General for the U.S. Air Force.