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Both the standards and the expectations are high at the School. Faculty members are known for cultivating strong mentoring relationships with students. They insist on professionalism—from being on top of the course material to showing up on time. They often encourage students to further their education, spurred by the notion that a higher degree allows students to “do more and affect more people.” Brenda Bryant, one of the School’s longest-tenured faculty members, believes this culture of elevated expectation shifted a gear higher when FAMU’s former hospital—Tallahassee’s only Black hospital that provided services to Blacks in a six-county area during the time of racial segregation—closed in 1971.

FAMU students were sent to the “majority” hospital for their clinical experience, and thus began a critical lesson in “better than.” “We had to fight to be respected. We had to be ‘better than’ to measure up,” said Bryant, who received her bachelor’s in nursing from FAMU in 1976. “It came from the deans on down that we had to be ‘better than.’ If somebody did 10, we had to do 20.” Today, the legacy of “better than” is alive and well, and growing far beyond the confines of Tallahassee. Norman says the school is dedicated to providing a solid foundation in global nursing so that FAMU-educated nurses can compete anywhere in the world. “We try to put demands

on them, set standards for them—because when you leave here, we want you to rise to the occasion. You’re going to stand strong because you came from FAMU,” she said. Bryant admits that students don’t always appreciate the rigor and demands of their education until after they graduate and face the test of real-world nursing. “Once we finish with them, that’s when we get the accolades,” she said. “When they leave and start their careers, they see the difference in their preparation.” Carter-Lee, the military nurse, certainly did. While non-military nursing school graduates go straight to their specialty areas after graduation, military nurses

Community Care In 1891, when Florida A&M University became a land-grant institution, its founding mission was to provide a quality education to those who otherwise may not have had the opportunity and to produce graduates who would empower their communities. There is perhaps no greater potential impact to be made on underserved communities—particularly the African-American community—than health care. The nowfamiliar litany about the general state of poor health in the Black community goes unabated, despite news of amazing breakthroughs or mind-boggling medical advances. The African-American community is sicker and dies quicker than nearly any other ethnic group in the nation. In 2010, Uloma Onubogu, the School’s director of adult/gerontology nursing, conducted research on breast cancer survival in Black women, who in 2013 (according to Susan B. Komen report), had a nearly 40 percent higher chance of dying from the disease than White women. For Phase II of her study, Onubogu is seeking funding to study the connection between breast cancer survival and obesity. She is planning to partner with Bond Community Health Center, a town-and-gown collaboration 36 // FLORIDA A&M UNIVERSITY // A&M MAGAZINE

must first work on a medical, surgical floor for at least 18 months, then spend another six months under the tutelage of a preceptor in the specialty. Carter-Lee explained that because of this added preparation, meant to make them battlefield-ready, military nurses are known for their proficiency. Still, as she works alongside colleagues from universities and colleges around the country and across the seas, Carter-Lee says her education at FAMU ranks up there among the best. “Because of FAMU, never once did I feel inadequate or not prepared. I probably knew more than some of my counterparts,” she said.

that ensures her that the study will have a significant impact on the community. “This research is focused on a need that the community identified and talked to us about. They told us how we could (help them),” she said. “It’s truly an area of necessity and could extend to other individual schools interested in the study.” FAMU is making an impact on the community in another unique way. According to Onubogu, no other institution in North Florida is offering adult gerontology and producing practitioners. Yet, by 2020, more than 20 percent of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65 and will have a greater need for health care. “We’re meeting a critical need, and that makes us very special,” she said. Research is only one element of Onubogu’s multifaceted role as a nursing professor that has her contributing back to the community. “Not only am I able to practice, teach, and conduct research, but I help produce other people who will go back in the workforce and serve,” she said. Besides being practitioners in hospitals and other health care agencies, School of Nursing alumni are deans, professors and administrators at colleges and4

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...