Hiram College

May 4 – 8 is Teacher Appreciation Week and Hiram College is proud to recognize the sustained and dedicated efforts of our faculty to inspire and drive student success. Every day this week, the College will feature a different faculty member from each school.    

Today, read more about Jennie Wood, Ph.D., an associate professor of nursing in the College’s School of Health and Medical Humanities.  

WHY DID YOU BECOME AN EDUCATOR? 

I have been a nurse for nearly 50 years, and I will always be a nurse, but teaching merged with nursing for me in my role as a staff nurse mentor and then as a clinical nurse specialist (CNS). The CNS role was a multifaceted role including clinical practice, research, education, and administration. I found the most rewarding part of the role was teaching the critical care, coronary care, and ECG classes in the hospital setting. When a teaching position became available at Youngstown State University, I applied and was selected for an instructor position in the nursing department. Over the years, I advanced to the professor level and retired as a professor emeritus.  

But when I retired, I deeply missed the student engagement and I felt I still had more to give to the profession and nursing education. Some of my colleagues were at Hiram and we often had discussions about what it was like at the College––the interdisciplinary aspect, the small classes, the sense of community, and the ability to think outside the box. When a position opened for a critical care faculty member (my specialty), I felt it was meant to be and quickly applied for the position. I am fulfilling my life’s work. Since retirement and coming to Hiram, I have coauthored an article in the Nurse Practitioner Journal, wrote the department’s Ohio Board of Nursing Self Survey, served as Treasurer and Board Member of the Ohio Nurses Association (District Three), served as an ONA delegate, was nominated and chosen as a member of the Dorothy Cornelius Leadership Congress, guided Hiram nursing students to resurrect the Hiram Nursing Student Association, and… I love every minute I spend with students in the classroom and clinical. 

TALK ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE COURSES TO TEACH.  

The combination of critical care nursing class and clinical. Critical care has always been my specialty and although it is challenging content and the patients are acutely ill, it is an excellent opportunity for students to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it at the bedside. Almost everything we discuss in the classroom is demonstrated in the clinical setting. Students are challenged to learn how to communicate with a patient who is intubated and on a ventilator, how to build trust with an acutely ill patient and his or her family, and how to comfort families when their loved one is critically ill. The art and the science of nursing are excellently represented in this environment.  

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT TEACHING?  

Hands down, the students. It is very rewarding to witness student’s growth and development as a professional and as a person. From the first day they enter college to graduation, you see them evolve into this very responsible adult and professional. Knowing at graduation that I had some small part in this process is an awesome feeling. And then, the joy and pride you feel when you follow them after graduation and hear about all the great things they are doing. 

TELL US ABOUT SOMEONE WHO HAS INFLUENCED YOU AS A TEACHER.  

There are many, but one that had a big influence was a student. It happened in the first few years of my teaching career when I was reviewing a student’s clinical evaluation with her. The student explained that she watched me in clinical and she saw how I talked to the patient, the demeanor I had, the caring attitude I displayed, my empathy, and how I looked at the patient. Believe it or not, at that point, I had no idea she was watching me. It became clear that I was a role model to students and that I should become more cognizant of that role. It taught me the value of being a good role model for students.   

What lessons did that student teach you?  

The value of being a good role model for students. Students are watching even when you don’t think they are watching. The importance of role modeling the behaviors that will be critical for them as a nurse and a citizen such as patience, positivity, integrity, kindness, acceptance, empathy, forgiveness, concern, professionalism, and caring about others, to name a few. I believe it is important to role model these behaviors not only with patients in the clinical setting, but with students in the classroom and clinical setting as well. 

Can you describe your favorite memory from your time at Hiram? 

I have two, one is when the students receive their nursing pin just before graduation. Witnessing the pride their family and friends feel for them is heartwarming and gratifying. The second is taking pictures of students with their evidence-based posters on Sugar Day. They are always proud of their accomplishment and I am so proud of them and their scholarly activity.