NWACC Foundation Awards Alumna with Dick Trammel Outstanding Alumni Award

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NWACC Foundation Awards Alumna with Dick Trammel Outstanding Alumni Award

             Image of Karen Reynolds Receiving the Award from Dick Trammel

NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) Foundation recently awarded alumna Karen Reynolds with the Dick Trammel Outstanding Alumni Award for her achievements in her medical field career and impact on the community.

“We are delighted to award Karen with the Dick Trammel Outstanding Alumni Award. It reflects her hard work throughout her time at NWACC and mirrors the values held by our dear friend, Mr. Trammel,” said Elizabeth Anderson, executive director of advancement of NorthWest Arkansas Community College. “We are fortunate to have alumni like Karen who embody Mr. Trammel’s values, and we are honored to present her with this award.”

“As a founder of the community college, Dick Trammel created an institution that has helped me not only follow and reach my dreams but has given me the education and ability to help others reach theirs,” said Reynolds. “Trammel’s philanthropic efforts have helped so many throughout our state. To be awarded an honor that bears his name is one of the most prestigious honors of my life.”

Reynolds’ pursuit of becoming a leader in healthcare began the day she was born.

“As a preemie born with respiratory distress syndrome, I am alive because my family was able to access quality health care,” said Reynolds. “I have wanted to work in health care for as long as I can remember. My mom tells stories of picking me up from my great aunt’s home when I was a toddler and often finding her covered in Band-Aids that I put on her just to make her better.”

At the age of 14, Reynolds began volunteering in the field, and her passion for helping others grew, launching her to pursue an associate of applied science degree in nursing at NWACC.

“NWACC has a very prestigious and sought-after Associate nursing (ASN) program. The NCLEX pass rate for their nursing program has been one of the highest in the state for many years,” said Reynolds. “As an LPN, I understood that NWACC’s program of transitioning from LPN to RN enabled me the ability to expand my career path with increased responsibilities and improved opportunities for professional growth. Also, the college developed a program allowing the transition from ASN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) smoothly through their relationship with Northeastern State University in Oklahoma.  This ease in transition enabled me to be one step closer to my goal of becoming a nurse practitioner.”

During her time at NWACC, Reynolds obtained a solid foundation in nursing knowledge and developed several vital skills that she uses today.

“I learned how to show compassion, understand patients and their distress, and provide support during illness,” said Reynolds. “I also developed conflict resolution skills, allowing me to ensure positive outcomes for everyone involved.”

Reynolds’ desire to educate, lead, and help the community has led to many achievements throughout her career, such as receiving the American Association of Nurse Practitioners State Award of Excellence in 2013, being named the Arkansas Small Businesswoman of the Year in 2015, receiving Community Bank’s Hero award, being named one of the top 40 Women in Arkansas Business by First Security Bank and so much more.

Yet, her yearning to support the community goes beyond the awards.

“As a nurse practitioner leader in our state, I will continue to advocate with other providers to improve access to care in Arkansas, ranked 49th in healthcare,” said Reynolds. “It is my personal goal to advocate for ways to utilize providers to the full scope of their education and training.”

Reynolds plans to continue working on breaking the barriers that often block nurse practitioners from working to the full extent of their education and training.

“By granting full practice authority (FPA), we can improve access to care, especially for vulnerable populations,” said Reynolds. “Despite the increase in health insurance coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a significant percentage of the population still lacks access to primary care services. Racial and ethnic minorities, older adults, and people living in rural areas face reduced access to comprehensive health services. FPA for NPs can help address these disparities and achieve health equity.  NPs are a ready workforce positioned to improve access to care and contribute to health disparities reduction efforts. By allowing them to practice to their full scope, we can lower the cost of providing care while maintaining quality and efficiency.”

The college presented Reynolds with the award on Monday, May 13, during its commencement ceremony.

The Dick Trammel Outstanding Alumni Award is named in honor of community volunteer, highway commissioner and former college trustee Dick Trammel. The award seeks to recognize an outstanding NWACC alumni who has achieved success in his or her career field and has made a positive impact on the community.