Valerie Vanderhoff selected for Nurses Touch Award

Valerie Vanderhoff
Credit: ATI Nursing Education

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Valerie Vanderhoff, assistant teaching professor in the Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing at the Fayette campus, was selected for the 2021 Nurses Touch Award.

Each year, the most highly skilled of nurse educators are honored with the prestigious, nationally recognized Nurses Touch Award from the ATI Nursing Education, a leading provider of online learning programs for nursing. Helping nurses develop skills for such multivariate roles, the professors in nursing programs in colleges and universities are the linchpin of a high-tech healthcare system that asks them to simultaneously act as skilled-care providers, information sharers, wellness educators, and quality-control experts.

These individuals, in other words, have “The Nurse’s Touch.”

For the 20th consecutive year Americans’ ratings of the honesty and ethical standards of 22 occupations put nurses at the top.  

“Nurses have topped the list all but once since 1999. In 2001, they were displaced by firefighters — who earned an all-time-high honesty score of 90% when they were included on a one-time basis in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks,” a Gallup report noted. 

The No. 1 ranking may come as no surprise to those who work in healthcare, especially considering the coronavirus pandemic. The nursing profession’s members set a high bar for themselves in a field that becomes more complex every day. While Florence Nightingale had to battle a bumbling bureaucracy, and Clara Barton famously dodged bullets, today’s nurses face challenges unique to the modern world.

Vanderhoff helps lead and coordinate the simulation lab and critical care coursework, is involved on committees involving technology integration and nursing curriculum, and is the current Penn State Simulation Committee Chairperson. 
Additionally, she has co-authored a Penn State course that focuses on 3D-printing, healthcare, engineering and art. She holds interests in alternative therapies in healthcare, disaster preparedness, and interdisciplinary educational exchanges, and is passionate about educating the next generation of learners through a variety of technologies and welcomes opportunities to speak to audiences in all disciplines. 

"I am very honored and very thankful to be presented the Nurses Touch Award. I couldn't have done it without the support of the wonderful nursing faculty for helping me grow as an educator. Every day, we all strive to improve the student experience and support each other." said Vanderhoff. 

The individuals who are named as Nurses Touch Award honorees not only must excel at teaching students the technical knowledge and skills required to be safe and competent, but they also must set the example for students.

Choosing the honorees
According to the award, four qualities are essential to having this special “touch” and being invited into this elite echelon of nurse educators: 

  1. Professional communication 
  2. Wellness/self-care 
  3. Knowledge of nursing informatics/technology 
  4. Leadership/management

Peers and managers within the nursing profession nominate individuals who exemplify these qualities. A rigorous review and scoring process whittles the nominees to a handful representing four regions of the United States. One is then chosen from each region as its honoree. 

In honor of their achievement, each of this year’s winners receive complimentary registration, hotel lodging, and airfare to attend the 2022 ATI National Nurse Educator Summit in Seattle. The group of winners were honored in a special awards ceremony at the event. 

To read more about the Nurse’s Touch Award, please visit the ATI website. To learn more about ATI, visit