Faculty Focus: Bonny Kehm

In October 2017, Bonny Kehm, PhD, RN, was appointed by the governor of Missouri and in January 2018, confirmed by the full state Senate, to the Missouri State Board of Nursing. “It is my intent to uphold the mission of the Missouri State Board of Nursing, which is to protect the public’s health and safety through regulation of nursing education, licensure, and practice,” says Kehm. Through her time spent with Excelsior, Kehm has already proven her dedication to the field of nursing.

Kehm is the faculty program director in the baccalaureate and Master of Science programs for the School of Nursing, where she does research and designs curriculum. She has been an instructional faculty member with Excelsior since January 2012 has been a faculty program director since March 2014.She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Webster University, her doctorate in nursing education from Capella University, and her graduate certificate in Health Care Informatics from Excelsior College.

“I was inspired at a young age to become a nurse when I found a photograph in my mother’s photo box of a young girl in an iron lung,” says Kehm. She learned the girl was her Aunt Lilly at just 10 years old. The young girl had contracted polio and had become completely paralyzed, unable to breathe on her own. Lilly passed away two years later, a few months before the first polio vaccine came into use.

“My Aunt Lilly’s story inspired me to become a nurse and help others. I began my nursing journey as an LPN. I wanted to take care of people sick and healthy. I’ve witnessed how much people can overcome and accomplish through the power of caring relationships,” says Kehm. She adds that when she completed her PhD in nursing, her mother gave her a bouquet of lilies as a reminder of her journey.

“What I love most about being in the nursing field is the impact you can make globally as a global advocate for health and access to quality nursing care,” says Kehm. She is a strong advocate of strengthening the relationships between academic education and clinical practice, and serves as a capstone chair to students pursuing their doctoral degree in nursing practice. In one instance, she encouraged a student to explore the effect of RN undergraduate educational levels on perceived barriers to evidence-based practice using Chi-square testing. “This allowed the student to work with organizational leaders to develop interventions specific to ambulatory areas which addressed the barriers and supported nurses in their use of evidence-based practice,” she explains.

Most recently, Kehm volunteered as a virtual practicum mentor for an MSN student currently living and working on the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, Japan. She outlines the project: “I worked with the student to develop a needs assessment of veterans’ health needs and health disparities while living overseas. We were able to identity the risk factors for type 2 diabetes for the military and their family members living overseas.”

As one of the nine gubernatorially appointed members of the Missouri Board of Nursing, and the Board’s elected secretary, “I attend full board meetings and assist in the Board’s mission of protecting the public’s health and welfare by ensuring that competent and safe nursing care is provided by licensed nurses in the State of Missouri. Board members achieve this mission by outlining the standards for safe nursing care, regulating nursing education, and issuing licenses to practice nursing.” As a nurse educator, Kehm also serves on the Board’s Nursing Education Committee, which regulates and oversees nursing education programs. “I am proud of my professional achievements during the last 22 years as a nurse. I hope to bring my experiences and knowledge to the Board of Nursing,” says Kehm.

If she’s not teaching a course, Kehm is enjoying the outdoors with her family, or reading a good novel. Kehm says that in her 20+ years in nursing, she thinks the most important skill for a nursing student to succeed is time management. “Excelsior College offers tremendous learning opportunities and time management resources to groom the next generation of professional nurses. I am pleased to be a part of that success,” she says. And the best piece of advice she’s ever received is “You are never too busy or too important to be kind to people.” She adds that, “One thing I have learned now that I wished I’d known when I was younger is that you never truly lose. You win or you learn. Each challenge I’ve had serves as a valuable insight into myself.”