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Nelda Godfrey, Ph.D., ACNS-BC, FAAN, ANEF

Nelda Godfrey portrait
Professor, School Of Nursing

Associate Dean, Innovative Partnerships & Practice, SON-Kansas City

Professional Background

Dr. Nelda Godfrey is Associate Dean for Innovative Partnerships and Practice at the University of Kansas School of Nursing; and Professor, University of Kansas School of Nursing. She is the founder of the International Society for Professional Identity in Nursing and the 2017 recipient of the Amy Ladner O'Brien Women in Science and Medicine Award for Innovation, University of Kansas Medical Center. She previously served as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs at the University of Kansas School of Nursing, and prior to that Chair of the Department of Nursing at William Jewell College, Liberty, Missouri.

Dr. Godfrey has more than twenty years of experience in academic leadership, entrepreneurialism and innovation. She also has 24 years of bedside nursing experience as both an RN and an advanced practice nurse, working in acute care, rehab, cardiac, ICU, and cardiac stepdown areas. She received her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Nursing with an emphasis in Ethics at the University of Missouri. She received her Master of Nursing (MN) degree from the University of Kansas Medical Center as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult/Gerontological Care. In 2010 she was selected as a Fellow of the Harvard Macy Institute Innovations in Health Care and Education and served as invited faculty in In 2011 and 2015.

Dr. Godfrey currently serves as chair of the American Nurses Association Ethics and Human Rights Advisory Board, the only national nursing ethics advisory forum. She is the immediate past chair of the International Society for Professional identity in Nursing and formerly served on the Board of Directors for the American Academy of Nursing and as chair of the Missouri Nurses Foundation.

In 2011 she was honored with the Missouri Nurses Association Leadership Award and in 2021 she received the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing Citation of Merit award. She served as chair of the Organizational Leadership Network, American Association of Colleges of Nursing 2009-2010 and chair of the Standards Committee of the National League for Nursing Commission on Nursing Education Accreditation, 2015-2017. She was instrumental in the University of Kansas School of Nursing applying for and receiving the National League for Nursing Center of Excellence Award for Student Learning and Professional Development 2013 and 2017. Dr. Godfrey was inducted as a Fellow for Leadership in Academic Nursing in 2003, a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 2012 and a Fellow in the Academy of Nursing Education in 2020.

Licensure, Accreditations & Certifications
  • Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist Certification (ACNS-BC), American Nurses Credentialing Center



Principal Investigator
Professional Identity in Nursing: Transitioning from Direct Patient Care to Leadership. Co-Investigators: Claire Poague, BSN, RN; Taynara Formagini, MS
Primary Co-Investigator
Scoping Review: What are current themes of professional identity in pharmacy, vet med, nursing, and medicine in the literature?
National study on faculty and administrators’ perceptions of civility and incivility in nursing education using the Workplace Incivility/Civility Survey (WICS).
National study on faculty and administrators’ perceptions of professional identity in nursing education using the Professional Identity in Nursing Survey.