What is your current job title and responsibilities?
Professor, College of Nursing, Graduate Department
Hugh F. and Jeannette G. McKean Endowed Chair in Nursing
Coordinator Nurse Educator Track
What is your history at UCF?
I started at UCF in September 1987 as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the then Department of
Nursing. Initially I taught undergraduate courses with a focus on the care of children and the nursing needs of childbearing women. I received my EdD from UCF in 1992 and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1994.
My foci changed in 1998 after I completed a Kellogg post-doctoral fellowship at East Carolina University and became a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). In addition to teaching, part of my assignment has been to work as a FNP at a variety of sites, most recently Student Health here at UCF. Also in 1998, I opened the UCF Community Nursing Coalition (CNC) at Apopka. While no longer its director, I am proud to say the work of this CNC continues today.
In 2002, I was promoted to Professor and I now primarily teach graduate courses in both the nurse practitioner and nurse educator tracks. At the university level, I have been an active member of many university committees. This includes service on the Faculty Senate, where I served as both Secretary and Vice Chair.
In 2012, I was selected to be the Hugh F. and Jeannette G. McKean Endowed Chair in Nursing. The focus of this chair is nursing education. As part of my endowed chair work, I updated a fully web-based (online) preceptor education program developed by former UCF faculty member Dr. Judith Ruland. There are more than 100 local nurses enrolled for the Spring 2014 sessions. This 10-week course teaches participants how to assess individual learning needs, evaluate a student or preceptee’s performance, and implement best practices for communication. There is also content on making high quality evidence the foundation for nursing practice.
What is your favorite UCF memory?
My favorite memory is teaching in the theater located in the now defunct strip mall across Alafaya from UCF. Students picked up lapboards as they entered their class’s theater to use as a “desk”. They had to be careful to not spill their sodas bought at the always open (even at 8 AM) theater concession stand. Another fun memory is those first football games at UCF’s Bright House Network Stadium. No question, UCF bounced with the best of them!
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
Smaller classes. While I and my faculty peers work hard to be fully engaged with all our students all the time, there is no question our teaching is better when the class size is appropriate to the course goals and objectives.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Be present and actively engaged in your department, college and the university. Take advantage of the many opportunities to grow and change available at UCF. I may have been here 25+ years but rarely do exactly the same thing in the classroom or as a member of the faculty and larger UCF community from year to year.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
I will leave that up to someone else but ask it be related to working with students or the provision of high-quality nursing care.
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
A group of faculty from a non-health care related department. It is fascinating to hear about their work and learn about their disciplines. Always a pleasure.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
Dr. Hitt for creating opportunities for students and faculty. Dr. Rick Shell for being a source of support, a mentor, a friend and a model of excellence. Every member of the Senate, especially Ida Cook and Monoj Chopra, who lead the Senate for many years. Every single one of nursing’s phenomenal Directors, Chairs and Deans who have always seen the best in their faculty: Jean Kijek, Joyce Dorner, Elizabeth Stullenbarger, Mary Lou Sole (twice), and Jean Leuner. Also both Joyce Dorner and Belinda McCarthy who, as Deans of COHPA, supported me along the way. Last, but certainly not least, all the staff and faculty especially, but not only, those in nursing. It does take a village to educate nurses and our citizens, and it is nice to reside in such a wonderful village.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
There are two individuals outside of academia who inspired me and helped make my dream to write professionally about nursing practice a reality. Mary Jane Janowski (a pediatric nurse) was on the editorial staff of the American Journal of Nursing and accepted my very first submission after only one rewrite. It was published just two months later. Mary Jane helped me develop the skills for writing I still use today. The mentorship of Dr. Suzanne Smith, editor of Nurse Educator, spanned more than 20 years. Her mentorship skill is best illustrated by the fact she actually rejected my first submission after which I kept writing.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
The class that may have impacted me the most was a non-nursing course taken as part of my fellowship year at East Carolina. Taught by a faculty member from their health care administration track, it opened my eyes about how our health care system is structured and financed. That knowledge provided a foundation which has helped me understand so much of what is happening today.