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St. Louis Magazine Honors SLU Nurse Educator Deborah Loman

by Maggie Rotermund

ST. LOUIS - Deborah Loman was selected by St. Louis Magazine as one of the top nurse educators in the region. 


From left, SLUCare Community and Family Medicine nurse Tonya Bland, RN, and School of Nursing faculty Deborah Loman, Ph.D., Margaret Bultas, Ph.D. and Nina Westhus, Ph.D.  Photo by Maggie Rotermund

She tied for the top educator award with Elizabeth Alseth of St. Louis Children's Hospital. For six out of the last seven years the magazine has given the award, a Saint Louis University faculty member has been named the top nursing educator in the region.

Three other faculty from the School of Nursing and a SLUCare nurse who works with patients in family practice were also recognized as finalists. Nina Westhus, Ph.D, RN CPN, and Margaret Bultas, Ph.D., RN CNE CPNP-PC, were selected in the education category and SLUCare family nurse Tonya Bland was selected in the acute care/family practice/general medicine category.

"The School of Nursing is fortunate to have three wonderful faculty members acknowledged for their masterful teaching," said Teri Murray, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing.

More than 200 nurses were nominated for St. Louis Magazine's nursing excellence awards. A team of seven judges from outside the St. Louis area narrowed the field to 66 finalists in 19 categories. The winning nurses are profiled in the magazine's May issue and were recognized at an awards banquet on April 14.

Deborah Loman

Deborah Loman, Ph.D., APRN, CPNP, an associate professor of nursing, coordinates the Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (PNP) graduate specialty. She helped developed the PNP program two decades ago. Loman also practices one day a week in a neighborhood health clinic, seeing children for well-child checkups and sick visits.

"Debbie Loman has been a long time faculty member who has made strong contributions to the School and in the specialty area of pediatric nursing. She is a pediatric nurse practitioner who in addition to leading that specialty option within the School also manages clinical care to children in underserved areas of the community," said Murray. "She is a great and gifted educator." 

Deborah Loman, Ph.D., APRN, CPNP, is an associate professor of nursing. 

Loman told St. Louis Magazine she became a nurse because of her brother.

"One of my brothers was born with a heart defect and died at 9 months. He was always a happy baby, even when he was sick, so the focus was on promoting his quality of life and creating memories-an important aspect of nursing," she told St. Louis Magazine.

"I also worked as a nursing assistant during high school in the surgical area. One of the brightest and most dedicated people there was the nurse anesthetist, who focused on protecting the patient during surgery and staying alert for any early changes. I realized then that being a nurse could influence the well-being of people who place their lives in your hands."

Loman's research interests include: prevention of obesity in children, promotion of physical activity in children, and promotion of physical activity in children with asthma.

She received her doctorate in public policy analysis and administration, Master of Science in nursing of children and bachelor's in nursing from Saint Louis University.

Nina Westhus

Nina Westhus, Ph.D., RN, CPN, associate professor, was SLU's second finalist in the educator category.

"Nina Westhus, another long time faculty member, has made strong contributions to the School and specialty area of pediatric nursing," said Murray. "She has a long record of distinguished service and has been committed to ensuring our students have been educated using Ignatian Pedagogy. "

Westhus was a nurse for 20 years before becoming an educator. Her area of expertise is caring for children with allergies, asthma and immunology illnesses.

She has investigated how children learn to use inhalation medications with the aid of mnemonic devices.

Westhus received her Ph.D., Master of Science in nursing of children and bachelor's in nursing from Saint Louis University.

Margaret Bultas

Margaret Bultas, Ph.D., RN CNE CPNP-PC, assistant professor and coordinator of the Accelerated Bachelor's in Nursing program at SLU, also was a finalist in the educator category. She teaches a variety of courses in the undergraduate and pre-licensure programs. Her area of expertise is Pediatric and Child Health nursing.

"Margaret Bultas is a shining star," Murray said. "She strives and achieves academic excellence in all areas of the mission (teaching, research, and service). She also serves as the faculty advisor for the Student Nurses Association. The students love her, she mentors less senior faculty, and is all around an excellent educator."

Bultas' research centers on fostering positive developmental outcomes among high risk children and their families.

She has experience in the areas of autism, pediatric developmental delay and disability, pediatric chronic illness, and parent perceptions and experiences.

She received her Ph.D. and MSN, pediatric nurse practitioner, from the University of Missouri - St. Louis. She received her bachelor's in nursing from University of Missouri - Columbia.

Tonya Bland

SLUCare nurse Tonya Bland was one of three finalists in the acute Care/Family Practice/General Medicine nursing category. She is a clinical nurse supervisor in Family and Community Medicine.

SLUCare Physician Group is the academic medical practice of Saint Louis University, with more than 500 health care providers and 1,200 staff members in hospitals and medical offices throughout the St. Louis region. 

Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of nearly 13,000 students on two campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of nearly 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good. For more information, visit