Cheri Kovalenko, DNP, RN, FNP-BC

Professor, Nursing

Dr. Cheri Kovalenko received her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the University of Minnesota in 2012. She received a B.S.N. from The Ohio State University in 1997 and an M.S. from Ohio State in 2001.  She is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She has practiced in both primary care and inpatient/critical care areas, caring for patients across all age groups. Particular interest areas are pediatrics, pediatric sedation and critical care.    

Kovalenko has lived in the Sioux Falls area for the past 20 years with her husband, Lyle, and their four children. She enjoys reading, traveling, running and spending time with her family. 


  • D.N.P., Nursing, University of Minnesota, 2012
  • M.S., Nursing, The Ohio State University, 2001
  • B.S.N., Nursing, The Ohio State University, 1997

Courses Taught

  • NUR321 - Introductory study of Applied Pathophysiology.
  • NUR322 - Continued study of Applied Pathophysiology.
  • NUR354 - Evidence-Based Nursing Process. Working knowledge of nursing research.
  • NUR347 - Nursing care of the pediatric patient.
  • NUR441 - Final Adult Health course. High-acuity/complex medical nursing.
  • NUR231 - Introduction to clinical nursing. Focus on nursing skills and physical assessment.
  • NUR240 - Introductory Adult Health clinical course.
  • NUR341 - Adult Health II. Increasing complexity in clinical care of patients.
  • NUR431 - Capstone. Led trips to Haiti 2012, 2013.
  • LAR210 - Honors Seminar. Focus on Poverty and Christian Service.
  • NUR323 - Survey of Applied Pathophysiology

Professional Memberships

Nursing Research Committee, Avera McKennan

Appointed to the Nursing Research Committee at Avera McKennan Spring 2014. This committee reviews all nursing research and project proposals before approval/implementation at Avera. 

Sigma Theta Tau International

Nursing Honor Society

Nurse Practitioner Association of South Dakota

South Dakota's professional organization for Nurse Practitioners.

Phi Kappa Phi

Honor Society, inducted through University of Minnesota during doctoral program.

Scholarships and Creative Work

  • 2014: Selected as American Association of Colleges of Nursing Khan Academy Reviewer for NCLEX-RN content on Khan Academy website.
  • Kovalenko, C. (2012). Evaluating the Implementation of a Nitrous Oxide protocol at Avera Children's Hospital. Final project paper for University of Minnesota Doctor of Nursing Practice program.
  • Kovalenko, C. (2012). Evaluating the Implementation of a Nitrous Oxide Protocol at Avera Children’s Hospital, The Sister Patricia Miller Research in Action: Theory, Education and Practice Conference, Briar Cliff University, Sioux City, Iowa.
  • Kovalenko, C. (2011). Nitrous Oxide: Safe, Conscious Sedation for Kids. Training provided to Avera Marshall Emergency Room RNs.
  • Kovalenko, C. (2013). Evaluating the Implementation of a Nitrous Oxide Protocol at Avera Children's Hospital (poster presentation). Mayo Advanced Practice Nursing Conference.
  • Kovalenko, C. (2015). The Basics: Implementing a Nitrous Oxide Program for Managing Pediatric Pain and Anxiety. Presentation given to hospital administrators in Milbank, SD.
  • Kovalenko, C., & Vellenga, B. A (2021). Descriptive Analysis of the Experiences of Nursing Students Who Participated in an International Service-Learning Project in Haiti. Journal of Professional Nursing,37(6), 1071-1078.

Service/Volunteer Work

Clinical Application

Maintain clinical skills by working as Nurse Practitioner for the Pediatric Critical Care and Hospital Service (PCCHS) 2-3 shifts per month, Avera Children’s Hospital. Working as Family Nurse Practitioner at Falls Community Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center providing care to underserved populations, 1-2 shifts per month.  

  • Maintain Family Nurse Practitioner Board Certification through American Nurses Credentialing Center, last renewal 2021. 
  • Service representative to the Pediatric Sedation Research Consortium, a national research group focusing on pediatric sedation and safety concerns/best practices.  Our data is entered into a database that includes approximately 35 institutions across the country and is benchmarked against the consortium as a whole. Perform quality audits on entries monthly.
  • Served as mentor for new advanced practice providers with the Pediatric Critical Care and Hospitalist service. 
  • Served as preceptor for several Family Nurse Practitioner students at Falls Community Health. 
  • Served as Project Manager for Nitrous Oxide Project as part of doctoral work.  Coordinated work of many departments related to the project, assisted with equipment research and purchase, received training from experts in the field and subsequently trained physicians and nurses on pediatric floor. Worked with marketing to develop a nitrous oxide equipment training video. Assisted in the development of order sets, patient education materials and policy/procedure for the administration of nitrous oxide. 
Volunteer Work

Fall 2022-present: Sioux Falls School District Wellness Committee Representative

Fall 2022-present: Roosevelt High School Cross Country Parent.

Fall 2019: Chaperone for Roosevelt High School Band Program's New York City trip.

2018-present: Roosevelt High School Band Program: Organizer for Pancakes and Jazz Fundraising event. 

Spring 2014-present: Avera Nursing Research Committee Member

Spring 2014 - 2022: Volunteer timer for Snowfox Swim Team/Sioux Falls Swim Team. 

Spring, 2013-2017 Girls on the Run Coach.

2016: Children's MInistry Director Search Committee, Central Baptist Church.

2012-2013: Go Pastor Search Committee, Central Baptist Church.

July, 2011:  Served as volunteer nurse through Central Baptist Church, Children of the Promise Orphanage, Haiti. 

2011-2012:  Served on task force at Central Baptist Church that achieved the adding of 37 orphans from the Bethlehem Foundation in Cap Hatien, Haiti, into “One-by-One Haiti,” a child sponsorship program through Converge Worldwide. This program provides basic healthcare, food/nutrition and educational expenses for these children. Prior to this project, this orphanage was in dire conditions, with a lack of basic food and supplies needed to care for the children that were all orphaned after the Port au Prince earthquake. All children at this orphanage were subsequently sponsored by families at Central Baptist Church, providing sustainable support to these children as they grow.

2005-Present: Children's Ministry Volunteer, Central Church/Central Church Downtown.

University Service

School of Nursing Assistant Director, 2023-2024.

Assisted with Nuventive Improve Platform Migration, 2023. 

Committee for Liberal Arts Education 2023-2026.

School of Nursing Lead Clinical Coordinator, 2018-present.

Mentor for new School of Nursing faculty, 2017-2018, 2020-2021. 

Strategic Planning Steering Committee Member, 2016-2023.

Committee for Assessment, Improvement, and Program Review Chair, 2106-2022.

Honors Candidate Project Advisor, 2016-present.

Reaccreditation Committee, 2013-2021.

Nursing Search Committee Member 2014, 2019.

Nominating Committee, 2013-2015.

Program Coordinator for the Forum for Conversations in Theology and Science Series, AY 2013-2014.

Outstanding Faculty Selection Committee, Spring 2013, 2014.

Chemistry Search Committee Member, 2012.

Developed and implemented the Nursing Capstone International Medical Mission Trip to Haiti, 2012, 2013.

Academic Policies Committee, May 2010-May 2013. Chair for AY 2012-2013.

Assisted with blood draws for research for Shane Scholten/Exercise Science Department, 2011-2013.

Accelerated Nursing Admissions Committee Member, 2009-present.

Nursing Faculty, Curriculum and Assessment Committees. Assist with CCNE accreditation/reaccreditation processes.

Advisor for Student Nursing Association on campus 2011-2018.

Volunteer for Honors Interview Day, February 19, 2011.

Regular participation in Campus Visit Days, Recruiting, Summer New Student Registration Days.

University representative at SCRUBS camp, Watertown, S.D., October 29, 2009.