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Deans and administrators from each college suggested one of their faculty members who deserves special “kudos” during Faculty Appreciation Week.

Linda MeffordLinda Mefford believes in the power of nursing to heal, and as a professor in the College of Nursing, she feels it is important to pass that power on to the next generation of nurses.

Though at heart she is primarily a nursing clinician specializing in neonatal intensive care nursing, Mefford changed her career focus to nursing education and now teaches one of the hardest parts of the nursing program — pathophysiology, the study of change in the body caused by injury or disease.

“I enjoy teaching pathophysiology because professional nurses need to have a solid understanding of what is happening in their patients’ physical bodies in order to anticipate the complications that may happen and then act promptly to prevent those problems whenever possible,” she said.

“In times of crisis, people trust nurses and invite nurses to enter with them into the most private and painful places of their lives,” Mefford continued. “Nurses hold a sacred responsibility to honor the trust which their patients place in them by delivering compassionate and professional nursing care based in a solid foundational knowledge of both the art and science of nursing practice.”

Mefford applies these beliefs in the standards she sets for her students.

Teaching 100 to 125 junior nursing students, 30 to 40 master’s degree students, and six to seven doctoral students is no easy feat, but College of Nursing Dean Joan Creasia recognizes Mefford’s ability.

“Linda is an extremely effective teacher at all levels. She teaches some of the most difficult content in the nursing curriculum and often provides individual help to students who find the material challenging,” Creasia said, adding that Mefford consistently receives outstanding evaluations from her students.

“The best thing about being a professor is the privilege of supporting students as they work to achieve the professional goals that they have chosen for themselves,” Mefford said. “I want my students to know that I believe in them. I also want my students to believe in themselves.”

In honor of Faculty Appreciation Week, Tennessee Today will feature stories and videos based on comments about great faculty members submitted by students, alumni and others.

You can send a shout out to your favorite faculty member or read what others have written.

Also this week, area merchants will offer a variety of discounts for UT faculty.