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Nursing Professor Receives Christine A. Tanner Scholarly Writing Award

Dr. Darrell Spurlock, associate professor of nursing at Widener University, has been awarded the Christine A. Tanner Scholarly Writing Award from the Journal of Nursing Education.

The award, which was established by SLACK, Incorporated, publisher of the Journal of Nursing Education, recognizes the contributions of Dr. Christine A. Tanner, who served as editor of the Journal from 1991-2012. The award recognizes excellence in writing and the impact of outstanding research or other scholarly works on advancing knowledge in the field of nursing education. 

Spurlock’s article “Validity and Reliability Evidence for a New Measure: The Evidence-Based Practice Knowledge Assessment in Nursing” was selected as the winning article for 2016. The award was announced in the October issue of the Journal and was presented to Spurlock at the annual Journal of Nursing Education Editorial Board meeting held during the National League for Nursing’s annual education summit in September.

Spurlock’s article describes a new instrument he has been developing to assess nursing knowledge of evidence-based practice. “We need better tools to measure what nurses know about evidence-based practice,” he said. “There is a disconnect in what people think they know and what they truly know, which can limit effective healthcare practice.” spurlock

He hopes to use the funding from this award and the Nancy Langston Research Award, a research grant he received from the National League for Nursing this fall, to test the assessment instrument in more schools of nursing and with practicing nurses.

“A new measure would allow for more accurate results,” he said. “It’s important because in education we must assess if knowledge is improving. It could be a tool that nursing programs use to evaluate what their students know about evidence-based practice.”

Spurlock started at Widener in August 2016. He formerly was an associate professor at Mount Carmel College of Nursing in Columbus Ohio. He also served as a senior nurse researcher for the OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.

Spurlock received his PhD and master’s of science in psychology from Capella University. He received his master’s of nursing from Marshall University and his bachelor of science in nursing from West Virginia University Institute of Technology.

He is a member of the American Educational Research Association, Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, American Nurses Association, National League for Nursing, and Sigma Theta Tau International. Spurlock also serves as an editorial board member for the Journal of Nursing Education. In 2015, Spurlock was named a fellow of the Academy of Nursing Education.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Visit the university website,