Kleinpell receives AANP Legacy and Culpepper awards

By Tatum Lyles Flick
Communications Specialist

Vanderbilt Independence Foundation Professor of Education and Associate Dean for Clinical Scholarship Ruth Kleinpell, PhD, FAAN, FAANP, MCCM, received a 2022 Fellow of American Association of Nurse Practitioners’ Legacy Award at the 2022 American Association of Nurse Practitioner annual conference in June and the 2022 Rebecca Clark Culpepper Education and Mentorship Award, given jointly by Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in May. 

three people smiling

From left: VUSN Dean Pam Jeffries, Professor Ruth Kleinpell and VUMC Executive Chief Nursing Officer Marilyn Dubree

The Legacy Award “honors, recognizes and memorializes a member of FAANP whose lifelong career has had a profound and enduring impact on the profession and the NP role, articulating a dream that others share and follow,” states the AANP website. “The vision, innovation, courage, persistence, and inspiration of the honoree are essential components of the legacy.” AANP published a conversation with Kleinpell online >> 

“Like a multitude of other APRNs aspiring in scholarly pursuit and the betterment of advanced practice and patient care outcomes, Dr. Kleinpell has been a career-shaping mentor for me,” said AANP President Professor April N. Kapu, DNP, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN. “She is a compassionate teacher and motivator, with a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. She has led in the field of advanced practice through the years as a well-known author, educator, and international speaker. Her works have built the cornerstone of our profession.” 

The Culpepper Award recognizes Kleinpell’s work in mentorship, actively promoting the nursing profession and her commitment to professional development for nurses. 

“I can’t think of a more worthy recipient for this award—or a more outstanding and selfless advocate and mentor,” said Pamela Jeffries, PhD, FAAN, ANEF, FSSH, dean of Vanderbilt School of Nursing and Valere Potter Distinguished Professor of Nursing. “I know of no one who has achieved the scope, breadth and quality of Dr. Kleinpell’s mentorship and dedication to knowledge. She serves as a role model for life-long mentoring, has influenced the careers of hundreds of nurses, and impacted the nursing profession with her leadership, research, scholarship and support of others.” 

The Culpepper award, named for former VUSN professor and VUMC administrator Rebecca “Becky” Culpepper, honors excellence in mentorship, support in the professional development of other nurses and active promotion of the nursing profession.  

A highly regarded researcher and critical care expert, Kleinpell has mentored numerous graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty members informally, as well as formally, in her role at VUSN, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and at other universities and organizations nationwide. She is known for influencing many careers and helping others understand the benefits of continued education and professional development. She has served as a leader in several national organizations, including on the board of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners Fellows, as president of the World Federation of Critical Care Nurses, and as president of the Society of Critical Care Medicine, where she was named Master of Critical Care Medicine and honored with a Presidential Citation Award. Her mentorship legacy extends across the nursing field, as evidenced by her 2021 Lucy S. Kelly Mentor Award from Sigma, the international honor society for nursing. 

Kleinpell is also a member of the: American Academy of Nursing, American Association of Critical Care Nurses, American College of Chest Physicians, American Heart Association, American Nurse Credentialing Center board, American Nurses Association, European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, Society of Critical Care Medicine, Society of Hospital Medicine, and World Federation of Intensive and Critical Care board.