With Gratitude and Enthusiasm for Changes at MCCN-Fairfield Medical Center (By Deidre Smith, MSN, RN)

Deidre Smith

Mount Carmel College of Nursing-Lancaster campus will be entering into its 10th year this coming academic year. I am proud to have led the program for the past five years. Cora Arledge MSN, RN, will be taking over the reins as the program coordinator May 2017. She and I have worked alongside one another for the past year and I am confident progress that we have made will continue and grow under her leadership. Drs. Wynd, Spalla, and Dolan enabled Cora and me to work together this year in efforts towards a seamless transition. We are truly grateful for their support.

I began to teach at our Lancaster campus six and a half years ago. Deb Huff and I were excited to meet our new junior students in the mental health/psych course and I immediately sensed the culture of friendly and calm community at Fairfield Medical Center. When President and Dean Emeritus, Ann Schiele, PhD, RN, offered me the program coordinator position I hesitated, not because of the location or students, but because of my lack of self-confidence. I am thankful that I trusted in her belief in me and am grateful for her support and encouragement. Having this experience is a bright spot in my nursing career.

The past five years there have been many milestones to celebrate, but also challenges to overcome. Obtaining resources for the students and faculty took time and patience. At times I may have stomped a bit too loudly but my intent was always for the recognition of our campus and for our respectful students.

MCCN-Lancaster campus is definitely more visible and on most people's radar today. This has not been a solo effort. Our wonderful group of nurse faculty has worked alongside me in the spirit of advocacy. Also, many staff and faculty members at the Columbus campus supported and applauded our efforts, and I extend a sincere thank you to all of them. I have learned that it really does take a village to build something great!

I count many achievements from our efforts over the years – ranging from a tremendous increase in student activities, including Campus Ministry (thank you Cora) and development of our Student Advisory Council and to obtaining student testing laptops (no need to move class to Ohio University-Lancaster campus for ATI exams) to a 100% NCLEX pass rate for the class of 2015, full off-site library access, a student pantry, and a reliable printer for all students. These are but a few of our achievements – as responsible for enriching our students’ college experience and success.

Over the years, I saw myself as a guide, a cheerleader, a coach, an advisor, and a sounding board. Throughout each and every day I strived to put the students at the forefront. I will continue to do this as I return to classroom teaching. Advocating for students, watching them grow and increase in skill and maturity – and ultimately becoming professional nurses – that's what it is all about. As I return to my first love – teaching – I ask that you please welcome Cora into her new role, and give her all the encouragement and support you’ve provided for me. Thank you.

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