Mississippi University for Women President Dr. Jim Borsig, left, and Dr. Sheila Adams, dean of the College of Nursing and Speech-Language Pathology, talk during the 40th anniversary celebration of the nursing program at MUW on Thursday. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff
November 15, 2013 9:51:16 AM
As Mississippi University for Women celebrates 40 years of nursing, students and faculty are ready to usher in the next generation of nurses.
The university celebrated its anniversary Thursday night with a guided tour of Martin Hall and a moonlight dinner.
MUW's dean of nursing, Dr. Sheila V. Adams, said she feels The W's hands-on approach gives the university's students an advantage.
"The fact that we are very, very dedicated to making the program work and helping the students get through it, we have a slightly different approach to teaching," Adams said. "We teach as teams and we take cohort groups in which means the students, the class, comes in all at one time and the take the same courses for two years and graduate together. Then a team of faculty works with them the whole two years they're in the program so that helps us really understand those students."
Professor Barbara Bryan has taught psychiatric mental health at MUW School of Nursing since 1999. A charter member of the ASN class in 1973 and a charter member of the first bachelor's class in 1974, Bryan feels a deep connection to her alma mater.
"To come back to a place where you started to finish out a career, you know to be involved with a faculty that is so dedicated, so loyal, especially the administration, it means the world to me," Bryan said.
Bryan said she transitioned into teaching so she could help the future generation of nurses.
"That's the reason for being a teacher, I think, is the 'ah ha' moments," she said. "Nursing is not always an easy thing to grasp. The concepts can be difficult sometimes and how you apply the theory and then you have to actually apply that in practice while you're a student. Rewarding is such a little word to say but it is rewarding. It's very fulfilling and it's a happiness for the student when you see that 'ah ha' moment. It feels good as a teacher but to see that student struggle struggle struggle, it's kind of like a caterpillar. All of a sudden, 'Oh, I've made it, I get it now, I'm born to do this, I'm born to fly.'"
That faculty dedication resonates with the students.
Carlos Martin is a senior and expects to graduate from the program in May. Martin said being able to count on his fellow classmates and teachers for support has helped his nursing school experience.
"It hasn't been easy," Martin said. "I know for sure I couldn't have done it without my classmates and my teachers. You come here, I didn't know what to expect, and I thought I could do it on my own, but I found out really quickly that that wasn't true. I think I'm going to walk out of here with a family."
Karley Keith is also a senior at The W. Keith transferred from Mississippi State and said in her two years at MUW, she has made connections that will last a lifetime.
"I've met lifelong friends," Keith said. "I've really been blessed with the people that I've met. My teachers, they've all been very supportive and I've enjoyed it so far. "
Haritha Abbott said she feels being a "W nurse" gives she and her fellow nursing students a competitive edge in their field.
"You always hear "We want to hire a 'W nurse'. There is something associated with being from here," Abbott said. "They really instill a lot of professional leadership, a caliber, I feel like we're held to a standard here that is really well known. It's really nice to know that that's already there and we just have to fill those shoes. All these people have paved the way for us."
Forrest Pogue is also a senior nursing student at The W and is president of the Student Nurses Association. Pogue said he was grateful for the opportunity to be able to meet those who have gone before him and are now working in the nursing field.
"I think, especially in particular, with this anniversary of The W's nursing program, I think it's kind of a good opportunity to look back at where we've come from but also from this point where we're going because the field of nursing is really changing and our role in the health care field and I think it's a good time to reflect but plan for things to come as well," he said. "I think for us as students, it's kind of important to realize that there is all these people who have graduated before us and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Nursing school is admittedly not the easiest thing in the world so it's nice to meet and mingle with some of the alumni and see what our opportunities are after graduation."
Pogue said he hopes to work at a large hospital after graduation but hasn't yet decided where that will be. Wherever he ends up, he feels his W education will be with him.
"People respect nurses that come from the W," he said. "Going here and then going off somewhere else will have a lot of merit for the rest of my career."
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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