Through teaching, research and service, our faculty are making an impact on student lives, on our community, and on the world. Here’s a look at two College of Nursing faculty members who are training the next generation of nurses and finding ways to improve health throughout our region.
Hutson, who came to the university in 2011, investigates the social and cultural consequences of living with chronic illness in a rural and often underserved region. This year she launched a $420,000 NIH-funded study that investigates end-of-life care and service needs of patients living with HIV/AIDS in Appalachia.
“There are different sociodemographic and cultural factors that influence a population’s ability to live with and survive chronic illness. The way that individuals communicate about illness with other patients, providers, and family members have long-lasting impact on their views about health and wellness. These are important factors to understand in order for providers to better care for patients,” she said.
Hutson hopes her research will improve the health of individuals living in East Tennessee. She also wants to teach her students the importance of evidence-based practice in the bedside care of patients.
“It’s great fun to watch them delve into a topic and graduate with an improved understanding of how they can make a difference with their research skills,” she said.
Hutson has served as an advisor to Dabney Wilson, a senior in the Nursing Honors Program. Wilson says she and her fellow students call Hutson “Superwoman.”
“She gives her all to everything she touches, balancing intelligence and drive with compassion and kindness,” she said. “She believes in her students, and works to create new avenues to better our education and future in nursing, never hesitating to put forth extra time and effort.”
College of Nursing Dean Victoria Niederhauser also notes the positive difference Hutson’s dedication has made in the college.
“In the short time Dr. Hutson has been on faculty, she has made a tremendous impact through her work in developing and leading the Nursing Honors Program, involving students in nursing research and contributing to the development of nursing science,” Niederhauser said.
Hutson is the coordinator of the Nursing Honors Program and Pikeville Medical Center’s Cancer Risk Evaluation Program, a women’s health nurse practitioner, associate editor of Home Health Care Management and Practice, and an editorial board member of American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
Mary Lynn Brown
Mary Lynn Brown does not shy away from a challenge. Whether it be caring for the critically ill or distinguishing the best way to reach a struggling student, the clinical associate professor in the College of Nursing relishes the opportunity to make a positive impact.
As a nurse, Brown knew she had to stay apprised of the latest health care research and information to provide the best care for her acutely or critically ill patients.
In 1995, she began teaching these skills to college students—guiding graduate and undergraduate students in giving the best care to those with cardiac, respiratory, or vascular diseases. Her goal is to develop excellent clinicians use who evidence-based research in their care.
“I foster an interactive engaging learning environment that instills in students a passion and commitment to lifelong learning, critical thinking, and research,” she said. “Students have varied learning styles, and I embrace the challenge of discovering the best methods to teach students with various needs and abilities.”
Brown’s passion and love of teaching are reignited when she is able to help struggling students gain confidence, learn, perform, and succeed in their courses.
“Many times I found that students needed someone to go beyond the standard level of teaching to show them that they are valued, important, and will contribute to the nursing profession.”
She has helped countless students in this way, and they often contact her after they graduate to thank her for helping them develop the skills to become premier nurses.
Aimee Hurd, a single mother working full time, is one of these students. A recent graduate in the master’s program, Hurd said there are no words to express her gratitude to Brown for going above and beyond to help her obtain her degree—even regularly driving to Johnson City to support Hurd in her clinical work.
“She will never fully understand the positive impact she has had on my life,” Hurd said. “Her expectations were high and I won’t deny the sweat and tears that have been shed in completing her educational regimen, but I know that I am better prepared as a future advanced practice nurse because of it.”
College of Nursing Dean Victoria Niederhauser describes Brown as an excellent clinician and master teacher.
“Her passion for the nursing profession is apparent in her teaching in which she prepares students to face the challenges of the job,” she said.
Brown’s passion and dedication have earned her numerous clinical and teaching recognitions, including the 2012 Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award; the 2009 Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award; and 2003 Excellence in Education Award, a national award from The American Association of Critical Care Nurses. In addition to her academic degrees, Brown is board certified as an adult clinical nurse specialist, adult nurse practitioner, and certified nurse educator.
C O N T A C T :
Whitney Heins (865-974-5460, firstname.lastname@example.org)