Sarah Plunkett is currently an Assistant Professor in the Division of Nursing at Tulsa Community College in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Being a member of a large family of 15 children in rural Oklahoma, Sarah quickly fell in love with the birthing process and the circle of life which has evolved into the full time balancing act of being a wife, mother of five and maternal-child nurse. She has over 25 years experience in maternal-child nursing including over 15 years of experience in nursing education for both BSN and ADN students. She also maintains a flex NICU staff nurse position at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Sarah has been an American Heart Association CPR instructor for 20 years. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, the National League for Nursing, the Association for Women's Health Obstetrics, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nurses, The National Association of Neonatal Nurses, and the Academy of Neonatal Nurses.
Sarah earned her BSN in 1982 at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas and her MSN in 1989 at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Having reached a comfort zone in her role as an undergraduate faculty, Plunkett believes that submersion into doctoral studies is the most effective use of her energy to confront the long-term needs of the nursing profession. She is presently a full time online doctoral student at Indiana University School of Nursing in Indianapolis, Indiana. Most recently, Sarah has been selected as a Nurse Fellow for the 2007 "State of the Science on Prematurity and Low Birthweight" Conference/Institute sponsored by The University of Oklahoma in conjunction with The March of Dimes.
Plunkett has received numerous awards including academic scholarships, delegation to the TCC Leadership Development Academy, the University Of Tulsa College Of Business, Mayo Teaching Excellence Award and multiple Outstanding Faculty Awards presented by the graduating classes of Tulsa Community College and the University of Tulsa. She also earned the highest honor in her Master's cohort, receiving the Dr. Tomine Tjelta ORU Award Of Excellence In Nursing Research for the "Outstanding Graduate Thesis", a descriptive study on coping patterns of families experiencing infant death. She has contributed to publications on several topics including child abuse, otitis media, breastfeeding, sickle cell and newborn metabolic disorders.
Plunkett is well known among her peers for innovations in student learning enhancement and service learning in the Greater Tulsa Area. She enjoys promoting student recruitment and retention through ongoing learning enhancement opportunities for TCC nursing students. Presently, she is mentoring small groups of ADN students in the provision of participatory service-learning poster presentations at a local residential domestic violence intervention shelter, residential women and children's center for substance abuse rehabilitation, and an alternative high school for pregnant teens.
Plunkett has tailored her doctoral degree plan in Clinical Nursing Science with a minor in Advanced Nursing Education, anticipating degree completion by May 2009. Her doctoral research trajectory is focused on preventive interventions to stop intimate partner violence and substance abuse during pregnancy in an effort to reduce premature and low birth weight pregnancy outcomes. Ultimately, Plunkett looks forward to mentoring graduate level students, partnering nursing education and research with community needs to promote the health of vulnerable young families.
Sarah states, "I could not be where I am today without the love and support of many family, friends, and teachers who have had faith in me over the years. I believe in the power of human resources and look forward to spreading the true wealth of the NEF Scholarship through the lives I serve in nursing. To whom much is given, much is expected (Luke 12:48). Integrating the scholarship of teaching and research with service is truly what nursing is all about!"