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Liberty Nursing professor named finalist for global nursing award

With over 40 years of nursing experience in India, Oman, and the United States, Liberty University School of Nursing professor Rachel Joseph has been named a finalist for the Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award.

Joseph is one of 10 finalists selected out of over 24,000 nurses around the world by Aster DM Healthcare for their “contribution to humanity” in the award’s inaugural year.

After a final interview conducted by a grand jury of international healthcare experts and other international entities at Aster’s headquarters in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the winner will be awarded the grand prize of $250,000 on May 12, International Nurses Day.

“God has given me this opportunity, and no matter what I am doing I want to glorify God through it,” Joseph said. “As nurses we want to serve others, and God has to give us the wisdom to do it right. As Christian nurses, we are the hands, feet, and voice of Jesus. I want to speak blessing to my students, fellow faculty, and everyone else around me.”

Joseph’s path to nursing and teaching began with her upbringing and early career in India, where because of her serving nature her parents guided her to join a new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Government College of Nursing, Trivandrum, Kerala, South India. At the time, Joseph had never even been to a hospital before.

“In India your parents will tell you based on your nature and aptitude, ‘Here’s a good profession, that suit you well, and that’s what I did,” Joseph said. “In fact, the first time I remember going to a hospital in my life was for physicals to get into the nursing school.”

Once in the program, Joseph built friendships with her fellow nurses and has remained connected to many of them, including one who nominated her for the Global Nursing Award. Joseph began her career as a cardiac ICU nurse before finding an affinity for neonatal and pediatric care,  one of the courses that she now teaches at Liberty.

After moving to the United States with her husband in 1998, Joseph worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Nashville for a year and later in two hospitals in Delaware, before becoming a full-time assistant professor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and an adjunct professor at Wilmington University in Delaware.  During this period, Joseph was also a founding member of two annual conferences in Delaware in addition to contributing to local, regional, and national committees, facilitating several research projects, and publishing and presenting at local, regional, national, and international conferences.

Even while she taught, Joseph remained a neonatal nurse to enhance her ability to teach the latest practices to her students.

“When you teach, you want to give specific examples to your students and have a better view of what is going on in the real world, and when you look at all of the technology — IV pumps, ventilators, monitors — they all come to the clinical area first,” Joseph said.

Joseph is also a Fulbright Scholar, member of the American Association of Critical Care Nursing, contributing editor for Neonatal Network, editorial board member of two peer reviewed journals, and a reviewer for journals, including the Journal of Christian Nursing. In 2021, she received a Provost Award for Excellence in Research Mentorship from Liberty’s Center for Research & Scholarship.

Since she began teaching at Liberty in 2019, Joseph has appreciated the freedom to talk about her faith and how God has guided her in nursing.

“Here at Liberty, I have more freedom to represent Christ, which is a big blessing for me,” she said. “I didn’t have the ability to do that at a public universities.”

Joseph said she lives by the philosophy that humanity transcends everything.

“No matter what happens in our lives, it’s our humanity that (connects) us,” she said. “Jesus loves the world, he sacrificed himself for all of humanity, and we need to care for everyone. Whether that is in a classroom, at a refugee camp, or at a patient’s bedside.”

A voting poll for the award, which will be a partial factor in choosing the winner, will be open between April 26 and May 6 on the award’s website.

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