The decision to go back to school can be a tough one to make, but there are actually perks for those taking a less-traditional route. In fact, sometimes the “later-in-life” student might have some advantages over more-traditional students.
You Are Better at Managing Your Time … and Your Sanity!
Many nontraditional students have moved out of Mom & Pop’s and have been busy supporting themselves, and possibly a family. Adding college into an already-demanding schedule can seem impossible, but you have experience juggling already, so figuring this out will be a little easier for you.
Be sure you communicate with your friends and family about what you will need help with, and let them help you. And remember that nursing school won’t last forever, so these adjustments will only be temporary. (And worth it!)
You Know What You Want
An adult entering (or re-entering) the collegiate realm better understands what you want for the future, having a past or present from which you want a change.
And you understand the importance of time management in a way that applies to the real world based on your own personal experience.
Better Coping Skills
It’s safe to say that if you’re returning to school as an adult, you’ve probably been managing your own life (and maybe even the lives of your children or family members) for a while now.
You understand that it’s important to look at the big picture and are willing to work hard to do whatever it takes to get the job done. One bad grade doesn’t mean you should hang it up and quit. You have the maturity to know that it just might mean you have to ramp it up and try harder or ask for help, and you also possess the confidence which will tell you that you will succeed if you consistently improve.
Take Action Today!
So, let’s get started! Schedule that information session or follow-up appointment you’ve been putting off today. You’ve spent a lot of time cultivating the awesome adult you’ve become, and you now have the skills needed to create the life you’ve always wanted.
Yes, it might be tough but anything worth it always is. You’ve got this.
What started as a two-week vacation back to the island of his birth turned into a major career opportunity for Glen Cornwall, Dean of Galen College of Nursing’s Tampa Bay Campus, and he wouldn’t change a single moment of it.
Glen was born in Antigua, then his family moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands when he was 2 years old. He started his medical career in 1985 as a Navy medical corpsman stationed with the Marine Corps. He was involved in a few combat operations – including serving in Desert Storm – before leaving the military and moving to the Tampa Bay area to work as an EMT.
One year, he and his wife went on vacation back to the Caribbean, and while in Antigua, he noticed there wasn’t a good Emergency Management System in the country. So, he reached out to the local medical director at the hospital and, as he says, “one thing led to another, and I ended up starting a new EMS program for the hospital. What started as a vacation turned into moving to Antigua for 7 years!”
Once he had the system up and running for the entire island – “you can’t tell the difference between what they have there and what we have in the U.S.,” he says – he started thinking about returning to the U.S. to continue his education. He moved back to Tampa and started by working as a paramedic while he got his nursing degree, then moved into nursing education, where he felt he could help more people.
“I started as a clinical instructor in Galen’s LPN program,” he says. “Then I was asked to take on a couple of theory courses, which then turned into most of the theory courses, along with the clinicals. Then the campus president asked me to be program director for the LPN program. At first, I said no because I loved teaching, and I walked out of his office. But when I closed the door, I stopped, and I said to myself, ‘This might be your chance to help more students. You’ll regret it if you don’t take this chance,’ so I turned back around and went back into his office and told him I’d take the job.”
Now, along with serving as Dean of Galen College’s Tampa Bay campus since December 2018, Glen is waiting to defend his dissertation to complete a Ph.D. in Nursing from Barry University. The dissertation is about the lived experience of the informal caregivers (those with no medical training) of scleroderma patients, something that hits home for him because his wife – a nurse who has dedicated her life to caring – has the rare condition.
“As a young nurse, I had a patient with scleroderma and saw what her family went through,” he says. “After my wife got diagnosed, she and I started a support group in the Tampa Bay area, and in talking with other families, we realized there are not a lot of resources. I hope this will shed some light on the condition and also share these experiences so other caregivers will be able to help their loved ones.”
Throughout his entire career, as he has traveled around the world with the military and as an accomplished musician, Glen feels there’s nothing that’s not worth trying to accomplish. But there’s one word he tries to avoid.
“I tend not to use the word ‘change,’ because in nursing, if you say you’re going to change something, everyone gets upset,” he says. “So, I tell people that we’re making progress instead, because progress goes in only one direction. After all, who’s going to be against making progress?”
It took Tara Dailey, Dean of Galen College of Nursing’s San Antonio campus, a little while to find her way into the nursing field. But once she got started, she never looked back.
“I had gone to college in Texas and was working on a psychology degree, but as soon as I finished the associate’s part of it, I didn’t feel like I was making a difference, so I moved back home to Kentucky,” she says. “One of my family members was going to nursing school and suggested I go, too, and I immediately felt like I found my calling. The funny part is that I’m the only person in my family who is still in nursing!”
When asked what her favorite part of the job, she says “hands down, it’s making a difference for the students.” Normally an introverted person, she finds that being around students brings out a different side of her.
“My husband can tell when I’m in front of students or not because when I come home, if I’m bouncing, he knows I met with students that day,” she says. “They make me feel more upbeat, more positive, and happier overall. I love working with students, and I love working with faculty to help them work with the students, too. When my faculty succeed, that’s like my success, too, because the students are getting what they need.”
She started her own nursing career as a practical nurse in Kentucky in 1997, which is why she finds herself often advocating for practical and vocational nurses. She also believes in the importance of education, earning her associate’s degree from Northern Kentucky University, her bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati, and her Master’s Degree from South University in Savannah, Ga. Oh, and you can call her Dr. Dailey now, since she recently earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership from American Sentinel University.
Beyond education, one of her passions is leadership, and she is constantly finding ways to combine those two in ways that will help Galen College students and faculty.
“This year I’m participating in Leadership Women Texas, a state organization covering all types of disciplines with women who get together and discuss best practices in leadership,” she says. “I’ve been able to link with lots of women, including the director of the food bank in Dallas. We had built and launched a food bank inside our campus in 2017 – over 90 students visit the food bank every month – and we are looking to see if any potential collaboration opportunities exist. This type of leadership networking allows me to tap into greater partnerships and ultimately help the students and Galen.”
Outside of work, Tara loves spending as much time with her family as she can. She has a 20-year-old who lives in Indiana and an 8-year-old son who’s getting ready to turn 9. She also said she is “addicted to baking shows, even though I can’t bake very well.” But she’s not going to be making too many sweets any time soon – now that she has finished her personal educational journey, she has been “working hard on my physical self, having lost more than 80 pounds since January, so no cake for me right now!”
No matter what she’s cooking up, you can guarantee it will be in the best interest of the students at Galen College of Nursing’s San Antonio campus.
Spring 2020. The world is frozen, horrified at the rising tide of the Coronavirus pandemic. Healthcare workers are still working nonstop, and nursing students are desperately wishing they could be there to help.
But with clinical rotations and even on-campus coursework suspended, the only thing future nurses could do was try to find ways to connect with – and show their support for – the people on the front lines who had become their mentors, teachers, and, above all, friends.
At Galen College of Nursing’s Louisville campus, Sharon Evans, then a 4th-quarter ADN student and National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) chapter president, was discussing the problem with Constance Cruse, a Spring 2020 BSN graduate and 2019 NSNA President.
“The Galen students couldn’t be in the hospital, and nurses were so isolated … so we were thinking ‘There has to be a way we can show support, and (the clinical sites) can still have this experience with a Galen student,’” Sharon says. “How can we reach out to the community? What can we do to still have a presence in the hospital, build morale, and keep a presence among the doctors and nurses?”
Then Constance, who has a 6-year-old son, thought of “Flat Stanley,” the traveling paper-cutout hero of the popular children’s “Flat Stanley Project.” She’d recently accepted an RN position with Norton Audubon Hospital, and from her SNAP work in the Audubon ER, she remembered “Flat Henry” – a stand-up photo of the hospital’s therapy dog who had to stay home during the lockdown, too.
That’s how the Galen NSNA “Flat Students” were born. And it didn’t take long to figure out how to put them to work.
“I work with nurses who love to teach, and they want to teach … so I thought ‘What if the Flat Students went in to work with me?’” Constance says. “What if we took them into these situations to show Galen students our nurses are still willing to be there for us, and also that we’re supporting them? What if we show our support, and thank them and say we’ve missed being there with them?”
Things just took off from there. Sharon and Constance worked with Galen’s marketing team to create the cutouts, and Constance took them into work with her. She says the Flat Students turned a day on the front lines into a day of real fun. She photographed her co-workers interacting with the Flat Students – “I can see you smiling behind your masks!” she said – while they worked on shift reports, patient care, and other clinical activities. One of the Flat Students was even kitted out in PPE for a photo!
Now, the Flat Students are taking on lives of their own. According to Sharon, since their debut in the Norton Audubon ER, NSNA members have taken Flat Students to several other facilities – always accompanied by treats – with even greater adventures planned.
“It’s really been a team effort. That’s what NSNA is all about, too – it’s about teamwork, building relationships and using them to be involved in the community,” Sharon says. “It was brainstorm of love. Constance came up with a great idea, and it’s been great to watch it go.”
So, watch for future “Flat Student” appearances in healthcare facilities near you. They’re a sign that Galen College students truly value their teachers and mentors, and that even when they can’t be there in person to get hands-on experience, they can continue to be there in spirit, sharing their love of nursing and their pride in the people who answer the call.
Hannah Robinson has wanted to be a nurse for as long as she can remember because of her “drive to help others,” as she likes to say. And she chose Galen College of Nursing because she felt like Galen was the best fit for the kind of nurse she wanted to be.
“I loved the community at Galen. Everyone around you is like-minded and on the same mission,” Hannah says. “We all have the same mindset, which makes it extremely easy for your peers to become family. The professors push us as if they’ve known us our whole lives. Galen is full of love. Galen feels like family.”
Now that the Louisville native has earned her Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), the next step is a job at University of Louisville Hospital as a Trauma ICU nurse, where she knows she’ll be able to help people.
“Nursing to me is more than putting in an IV or a catheter – it’s holding the hand of a patient who is in there for the first time or being there for that family member who just found out their mom is sick,” she says. “I like to be the change in healthcare and that’s what brought me to nursing, and to Galen.”
No matter where her career takes her, she will think back on her time at Galen fondly and lovingly.
“The thing I’ll remember most about Galen is the professors. I remember each and every one of them – their stories, their backgrounds, and why they love nursing,” she says. “Nursing school is extremely hard, but they make it easy.”
New Jersey League for Nursing, led by Galen Executive Vice President Tracy Ortelli, wins national award
The New Jersey League for Nursing (NJLN) has been chosen by the National League for Nursing (NLN) as this year’s recipient of the coveted Constituent League Excellence in Innovation Award.
The NJLN is led by President Tracy Ortelli, Ph.D., RN, CNE, ANEF, who is also Executive Vice President of Postlicensure Nursing Education at Galen College of Nursing.
“New Jersey has really been hit hard by COVID-19, so to get this recognition now is especially meaningful,” says Dr. Ortelli.
In addition to offering excellent programming opportunities to its members, the NJLN has expanded its grants and scholarships program to include 26 nursing students at all levels of educational progression. Each of those students is eligible to receive awards from $250 to $1,000, with one advanced degree candidate who pledges to remain in the state’s nursing workforce eligible for a $10,000 scholarship award.
“The NJLN has been focused on awarding scholarships to nursing students so they can continue their education. We’re very proud of our ability to help our members in this way,” says Dr. Ortelli.
The award was presented at the recent NLN annual Education Summit, which was held virtually for the first time this year. Galen College of Nursing is a proud sponsor of the NLN Education Summit.
“Today, more than ever, the National League for Nursing has depended on state, regional and local leadership to support nurses and nurse educators on the frontlines of health care. While we face the challenges of a pandemic, along with demonstrable health care disparities reflecting the social determinants of health, innovative programming and other initiatives to support students and faculty are truly needed,” says NLN President Patricia S. Yoder-Wise, RN, EdD, NEA-BC, ANEF, FAONL, FAAN, Professor and Dean Emerita at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and president of The Wise Group. “The New Jersey League for Nursing has been a role model in this regard, helping to spread the National League for Nursing’s message of sustained, inclusive, culturally sensitive educational excellence in the preparation of the next generation of nurses to deliver outstanding patient care, advancing, in particular, the health all New Jersey residents.”
The NJLN supports and implements the mission of the NLN to promote excellence in nursing education to build a strong and diverse nursing workforce to advance the nation’s health at the constituent level. The NJLN is a premier nursing Organization in the State, with more than 105 Years of promoting the positive image of nursing.
Joline Lowe was working at Methodist Hospital-Stone Oak in San Antonio in March when its first COVID patient arrived. An RN for more than a decade, she hadn’t seen anything like it – how the patient deteriorated and how the entire body was affected.
“There’s a lot to learn, and a lot to teach the families about, too,” she says. “And because people can’t visit, we had to count on phone calls and Facetime and work with the patients in the isolation room to help them remember that their families are still with them and they’re not alone.”
The new Galen instructor, who teaches Med-Surg and Gerontology for the LVN program, also had to remind her colleagues that they were not alone, either.
She often spent time talking with other nurses through social media groups. It was in one of those groups that she saw a painting by Meagan “Meags” McGinty of a nurse in a medical mask, face shield, and scrubs that resonated with her. When Joline showed it to her mother-in-law, she responded simply: “I can do that for you.”
The 71-year-old Jeannie Hope Gibson created her own piece, drawing her daughter-in-law freehand in pastel on paper in her medical mask, holding the hand of a COVID patient.
The piece (pictured here) is called “The Gift of Love.” The inscription on the back reads, “To Joline with love and respect for being there during this troubled time. For all that you risked, for the comfort you provided, thank you. Mama J.”
Now, the artwork hangs in Joline’s home office in San Antonio, where she teaches Galen students and thinks often of all her former colleagues, still working every day to help people as only nurses can.
Rear Admiral Aisha K. Mix, Chief Nurse Officer for the Office of the Surgeon General and Health and Human Services, is sharing a special congratulatory message with the newest graduates of Galen College of Nursing.
“Greetings Galen College! It is with tremendous excitement that I join you virtually to convey my congratulations on a job well done. As you are well aware, completion of a rigorous nursing program is no small task, but you did it,” RADM Nix says in her virtual address. “By design, your studies at Galen have prepared you with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to care for patients, to care for their families, and all the communities across the nation and in this world. The current pandemic has certainly highlighted the impact and the contributions of nurses to the health and wellbeing of our country. Representing all levels of nurses, you will now join a workforce that nears 5 million members. It also reflects the largest group of healthcare professions in the United States, and the most trusted. I am honored to be one of the first to welcome you into your new role within the nursing profession.”
As Chief Nurse Officer, RADM Nix provides advisement on the recruitment, assignment, deployment, retention, and career development of thousands of nurse professionals. She is responsible to provide leadership to more than 4,000 Public Health Service (PHS) and civilian nurses. With 25 years in nursing, she is an experienced clinician, public health practitioner, educator, and emergency manager.
In support of the PHS, RADM Mix served as Deputy Team Commander and Team Commander during several deployment operations. In addition, she deployed to Monrovia, Liberia, to support the 2014 Ebola Response and assumed the role of Field Operations Policy Lead in the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
RADM Mix is a board-certified National Healthcare Disaster Professional and graduated with her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Nursing from Hampton University. She completed her Master of Public Health degree at Johns Hopkins University and received her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, with a focus on educational leadership, from Case Western Reserve University.
We are honored to have her address our amazing Galen students as they embark on the incredible journey of nursing. Congratulations to all our graduates!
We are pleased to announce that Glen Cornwall, MSN, RN has been named Dean of Galen College of Nursing’s Tampa Bay campus, effective July 6, 2020.
Glen was appointed to serve as Interim Dean in December 2018; since then, Glen has been a dedicated leader and team player, which has contributed to the continued success of the Tampa Bay campus. Glen started at Galen in 2013 as a faculty member and has proved to be a valuable asset as he has developed as a nurse educator and leader.
Before coming to Galen, Glen held various roles in nursing education, nursing practice, and emergency medical services, both in the Florida community and abroad in Antigua. Additionally, he served as a Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy. Glen’s varied experiences and skills are of great value and benefit to his role at Galen.
Glen is currently awaiting to defend his dissertation in order to complete a Ph.D. in Nursing from Barry University. We look forward to celebrating his success with him in the very near future!
Please join us in congratulating Glen on this promotion!