PITTSBURG - Sometimes a class assignment turns into something much more than expected.

That was the case for Jeffrey Waddell, a December 2017 graduate of Pittsburg State University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, who has helped inform care providers while setting the bar high for future students.

Waddell recently learned that his article submission, based upon a class paper, earned him “Author of the Year” honors from The Nurse Practitioner.

“It’s actually the first article I’ve ever submitted,” said Waddell. “The editor-in-chief said she’d gone online to try to find some of my other publications and was surprised to find it was my first publication.”

The article, “An update on type 2 diabetes management in primary care” was published in August of 2017 in The Nurse Practitioner, 42(8):20–29, AUG 2017.

Waddell, who is now a family nurse practitioner in southeast Iowa, was assigned the task of writing a care pathway for a chronic illness as part of Dr. Barb McClaskey’s NURS836 class, “Family Process & Management of Chronic Illness.”

“I have a special interest in diabetes and bariatrics,” said Waddell. “So, I selected diabetes for that particular assignment. I developed a pathway and then thought, ‘You know, guidelines change from year to year. There’s more here.’

So Waddell combined and consolidated guidelines from the American Diabetes Association, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and other groups. He focused on those that changed the essence of initiating care for type-2 diabetes in primary care. He then did more extensive research on pathophysiology and specific clinical practice guidelines, and submitted the article.

Dr. McClaskey said she crafts assignments with an eye toward the practical, and Waddell’s work is one she’ll use as an example for future classes.

“I strive to assign work that students and their patients will benefit from well into the future,” said McClaskey. “By publishing that article, Jeff has helped an immeasurable number of patients by giving their care providers current information. He’s set the bar pretty high for future students, but it’s what we’ve come to expect from him.”

Waddell is a big believer in the Bradley School of Nursing. A non-traditional student, he earned his Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) and his DNP from Pittsburg State.

“I was an ICU nurse, but I knew I wanted to do more,” said Waddell. “As a non-traditional student you have different concerns. You’re caring for your family, trying to pay bills, and more. The faculty are very flexible with time and treat their students with respect. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if it weren’t for Pittsburg State.”

“We’re so proud of Jeff,” said Cheryl Giefer, director of the Bradley School of Nursing. “To be honored with such an award just two months after graduating from our DNP program says a great deal about his dedication and the quality of this program. We congratulate Jeff on his accomplishment, and Dr. McClaskey for developing such a beneficial assignment.”

Not one to rest on his laurels, Waddell is now hard at work on the next project he hopes will be accepted for publication.

“I’m currently whittling down my doctoral project to a comfy 3,000 words,” he said. “I’ve set my own bar a little high, but we’ll see what happens.”