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Several times a year, students in FAMU’s School of Nursing spend time in the program’s simulation laboratory. The entire set-up is an impressive display of stateof-the-art technology. Electronics have replaced the mercurial thermometers, blood pressure apparatuses, and paper charts. A breathing, life-like model—complete with a heartbeat and gastrointestinal sounds—“tells” the nurses in training about its symptoms. The students play certain roles. Some are nurses, practicing modern-day nursing with the technology of the day as they go on a discovery mission of the model’s malady. Others are observers, pitting their knowledge and training against the actions of the nurses. Then there is the student who is assigned the role of the patient’s mother or friend. “When we care for a patient, friends and family are included in their care, as well,” explained Chenell Henderson, the school’s senior class president who graduates this

We had to fight to be respected. We had to be ‘better than’ to measure up... - Brenda Bryant

year. “If you don’t take the position of a mother or friend, you don’t know if you’re being sensitive to their needs.” This scenario provides a glimpse into the juxtaposition of technology and the human touch, the balance between science and the art of caring, that is the hallmark of the FAMU School of Nursing. Ruena Norman, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing, has come up with a statement that perfectly describes the dichotomy of the nursing profession: “Nursing is the art and science of caring and curing.” “Healthcare is changing. It is the fastest growing industry in the country,” said Norman. “We must keep ourselves up on cutting-edge changes in healthcare. The laying on of hands is important, but technology is a prerequisite in nursing.” Carswella Phillips, assistant professor of nursing, who specializes in medical surgical nursing and health policy, agrees. She explains that today’s students must be comfortable with the new, ever-emerging

Culture of Mentoring Tamekia Carter-Lee was a combat medic for 14 years before she decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Her decision to attend FAMU was impressed by its standing among the top nursing schools in the nation and the acclaim it received for successfully preparing its graduates. Yet, the medic, who had worked on battlefields, admits to originally experiencing some trepidation when it came to the classroom. “Coming to the classroom was different. It was a difficult experience,” she said. “I’d been in my career for more than a decade. I was older and around younger people.” She says her professors helped her hurdle the difficulties. “They opened my mind to learning different things. Whenever I

tools of nursing. “I think it’s very important because we are educating 21st-century students,” she said. They are seeing chart documentation in computer systems, high-fidelity simulators, electronic medical administration, and, most recently, electronic tablets that faculty use in clinical courses. “Our faculty have tablets with software that mirrors what’s being used in today’s world,” said Phillips. “Instead of bringing in heavy textbooks, students can use the tablets for researching references and to find the latest best practices immediately.” She continued, “We develop really strong relationships with our partners. If they get new technology, they invite (the faculty) in and train us. We may not have the resources every time there’s a change, but this way our students can become familiar with new and changing technology. We really value those partnerships, and they really value our students.”

needed help, they were there,” she said. “If it weren’t for my professors, I wouldn’t have made it through the program.” Carter-Lee is now a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army and works at San Antonio Military Hospital, the military’s flagship hospital. Having conquered her anxiety about the classroom, she has continued her education and expects to receive a master’s in nursing administration from Liberty University in Virginia in May 2017. Norman also credits her FAMU mentors with putting her on the track that eventually led to her becoming dean of the school. “I had such good mentors,” she says. “They saw me as somebody who could succeed and helped me grow as a young faculty member. One of my mentors was the late Dr. Margaret Lewis (former dean). She would say to me, ‘Visualize what you could become.’” 4 A&M MAGAZINE // WINTER 2017 // 35

Profile for FAMU Communications

Winter 2017 A&M Magazine  

The Winter 2017 edition of the award-winning A&M Magazine celebrates remarkable milestones, including the accomplishments and anniversaries...

Winter 2017 A&M Magazine  

The Winter 2017 edition of the award-winning A&M Magazine celebrates remarkable milestones, including the accomplishments and anniversaries...