At the heart of Frontier Nursing University is a talented and diverse community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, Couriers and preceptors. Spotlight blogs feature members of our FNU community that are focused on the mission of educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to deliver quality health care to underserved and rural populations.
Frontier Nursing University (FNU) is proud to recognize faculty member Vicki Burslem, MSN, CNM, APRN, CNE(cl), FACNM, who is one of the recipients of the 2021 Fall Term Circle of Caring Award.
Burslem’s ties to FNU go back to the late 1980’s, when she served as a member of Frontier’s initial Community-Based Nurse-Midwifery Education Program (CNEP). Serving on the faculty from 1989 to 1996, Victoria helped develop curricula and taught early nurse-midwifery classes during her initial time at FNU.
“I was thankful to be a part of something that revolutionized midwifery education and have been delighted to see its growth through the years, expanding into the development of other strong programs for family nursing, women’s health, and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner APRN tracks,” she said.
In fact, Burslem’s initial inspiration to pursue a career as a nurse-midwife came from Elsie Meier Wilson, a nurse-midwife with the Frontier Nursing Service. Wilson spoke at one of Burslem’s classes while she was earning her bachelor’s degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
“I was initially interested in pursuing a career in psychiatric nursing but when I heard her speak, it resonated with my desire to care for the physical as well as the emotional and psychological needs of those I would be caring for as a nurse,” she said. “The ability to provide physical and emotional support for patients during a major life transition appealed to me, and I saw it as a time when people are more open to healing, growth, and change.”
Burslem has worked as a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) for 45 years, working in clinical practice for over 35 years, providing midwifery care in a variety of roles and settings. Early in her career, she owned a private midwifery practice with a CNM partner. Later, she was the clinical practice manager for many years at a large Obstetrics & Gynecology practice in Atlanta, Georgia, which employed 10 CNMs and provided care in both clinic and private settings.
Over the years, Burslem has enjoyed the opportunity to practice in two university teaching hospitals, a freestanding birth center, and a community hospital with an ongoing commitment to providing evidence-based care for underserved individuals whatever the setting. Teaching nurse-midwifery and midwifery students has also been threaded throughout her career. In addition to her work at FNU, she taught at the Midwifery Institute at Philadelphia University (now known as Thomas Jefferson University) part-time for four years and has served as a clinical preceptor for nurse-midwifery students from eight different midwifery programs. Coming full circle, Burslem was delighted when the opportunity opened up for a return to FNU in 2015 where she now serves as a Clinical Bound faculty member.
“I am passionate about working at FNU, helping to instruct the next generation of nurse-midwives so they are well-prepared to provide evidence-based care upon graduation with the knowledge, clinical competency, and wisdom to care for patients holistically, enabled as vigilant guardians of the physiologic while confident in their ability to identify and manage emergent situations when they arise,” she said.
Burslem has been recognized through several awards and distinctions over the years. She became an American College of Nurse-Midwives Fellow and inducted as a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing in 2014; received the Dorothea M. Lang Pioneer Award from the the American College of Nurse-Midwives Foundation in 2013; won Frontier’s CNEP Pioneer Award in 1992 and won the Tennessee Nurse in Action Award from the Tennessee Nurses Association in 1982. Burslem is active in her professional community, currently serving as chair of ACNM’s Continuing Education Committee and president of ACNM’s Kentucky Affiliate.
As a recipient of the Circle of Caring Award, Burslem said she believes FNU’s Culture of Caring is more than just a slogan, and values the university’s goal of fostering a positive, anti-racist environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“It is a philosophy that is threaded throughout the inner workings of the university community and its approach to decision-making,” she said. “I see evidence of the school’s commitment to this culture in written and verbal communication, and to the honor and value I see expressed in interactions with members in every part of the organization. This commitment makes me proud every day to play a small role in achieving Frontier’s goal of educating outstanding nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners who share the vision in particular of caring for rural and underserved populations.”
Burslem lives outside of Lexington, Ky., with her husband, Rick, who she has been married to for 40 years. They have three children and three grandchildren.
Thank you, Vicki, for the years of dedication you’ve put into the nurse-midwifery profession and for setting an exceptional example for the FNU community!
If you know an FNU staff or faculty member that goes above and beyond, nominate them now for the Circle of Caring Award!