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Meet Russell McGuire, Undergraduate Nursing Program Director at the Montgomery Campus

by South University
August 4, 2017
Photo of Russell McGuire, South University, Montgomery Undergraduate Nursing Program Director

When Russell McGuire first enrolled in college, his plan was to become an agriculture teacher. Now, over 40 years later, McGuire is indeed an educator, but instead of teaching how to care for the soil, McGuire teaches patient care as the Undergraduate Nursing Program Director at South University, Montgomery.

It was while studying to become an agriculture teacher that McGuire met his future wife, who was attending nursing school at the time. From there, he started meeting others in the healthcare field, and decided to try his hand at becoming a paramedic. Before long, he was pursuing a career in nursing and working in the emergency room.

As a nurse, McGuire focused heavily on peri-operative nursing (providing care before, during, and after surgeries), eventually serving as the Director of Surgical Services at several hospitals and medical centers. Like many of our South University students, McGuire was simultaneously working and attending school—earning his BSN in 1991, his MSN in 1995, and a PhD in Nursing by 2002.

Meanwhile, as he kept learning, his career continued growing, and he took on a range of nursing leadership roles that included Director of Clinical Services, System Director: Quality Initiatives and Clinical Practice Development, Chief Nursing Officer, and Chief Clinical Officer. From 1980 to 2000, McGuire also served in the United States Army Reserve, Army Nurse Corps as a Major and Operating Room Nurse.

In 2002, McGuire started teaching part-time at the University of Kentucky. In 2010, McGuire took on his first full-time role in education, later joining South University in 2015, where he enjoys helping adult learners build their new skills and knowledge. "The move to education felt natural for me,” he says. "I've had wonderful mentors throughout my 39 years in nursing, and it was time for me to pay it back."

As an instructor, McGuire is committed to mentoring and serving. "Always greeting students with a smile and giving them my time and full attention helps students to develop the aptitude, confidence, and care required of nurses. Me being present in the moment, I think that eventually rubs off on them so that they do the same when they’re serving their patients."

Throughout his courses, the idea of caring is consistently at the forefront. "Caring is the essence of nursing, the foundation for our whole profession," he says. Collaboration is another important skill he fosters in students, strategically placing them into diverse groups and assigning projects that require them to rely on one another.

Although he's no longer at patients’ bedsides, McGuire sees his students' success as an extension of his own practice, and, as he watches them walk across the stage or when a former student calls to announce that they passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), he is proud to have played a role in their development. He even sees a bit of himself in the students. "Our students are often the same kind of student I was in nursing school. I was trying to work full-time, raise a family, and go to school, so I truly understand many of the challenges that they have," he explains. "I encourage them to learn to time manage, learn to keep your commitments, but also learn to balance your life, and, if you need advice come talk to us, the faculty. We've all been there."

See suprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

South University, Montgomery does not guarantee third-party certification/licensure. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to South University, Montgomery.

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Meet Jennifer Wilson, Graduate Nursing Program Director at the Montgomery Campus

by South University
August 1, 2017
Photo of Dr. Jennifer Wilson, South University, Montgomery Graduate Nursing Program Director

As Graduate Nursing Program Director at South University, Montgomery, Jennifer Wilson, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, regularly draws on her 20 years of nursing experience when working with students.

Wilson spent much of her early career in the cardiac unit focused on critical care nursing. "That's one of the classes that I still love to teach in the undergraduate program," she says.

After a decade in nursing, Wilson earned her MSN in 2007 and took on a Clinical Nurse Educator role in addition to her normal duties as the RN Team Leader at the medical center where she worked. In reality, however, she’d already been mentoring nurses for a while.

"In critical care, I was always the nurse that new nurses were paired with to train them. I never imagined myself as a teacher, but I did enjoy that role. Eventually, I began considering going into a more formal line of education," she says. "That was really solidified after I started working as a nurse practitioner and was doing a lot of teaching with my patients. Once you realize the impact you can make by educating people, your work takes on a whole new life."

As a Family Nurse Practitioner, Wilson has worked for a range of healthcare organizations and clinics, including a family practice clinic at Maxwell Airforce Base. During her time at the base, she developed and implemented a hydration plan for ROTC field training and received several letters of commendation from Colonels in the USAF as well as multiple military coins of achievement and service. She has also served as an independent consultant for Blue Cross Blue Shield doing in-home assessments.

Wilson began teaching in academia in 2011 and, by 2012, she had completed her DNP from Troy State University. A year later, in 2013, she started teaching nursing at South University.

Today, in addition to her role at South University, Wilson practices around 10 hours per week in a clinic. She is particularly passionate about helping patients become active participants in their health, something she says she can really dive into with her diabetic and pre-diabetic patients.

"By guiding patients to start making lifestyle changes earlier, we can go beyond controlling diabetes to actually helping someone who is pre-diabetic prevent diabetes from ever developing," she explains. "It can be hard to get them to embrace that diagnosis, but once they realize that they can do something about it and that the weight is on their shoulders, I give them the tools that they need to change. It's incredible to see that turn around."

When it comes to teaching, Wilson is committed to doing everything she can to help each student master the skills and knowledge needed for providing patient care, including teaching to fit their varying learning styles. When someone struggles to understand a concept, her job, she says, is to find another way to explain it, occasionally teaming up with other faculty to introduce other viewpoints and instructional styles.

"There's tough love involved, but you also have to be sensitive to the different needs of different students. It's something I really care about. I'm educating people who are going to be my colleagues and my peers and the representation of my profession," says Wilson, who was once under the care of two of her former South University nursing students. "That was a very rewarding moment. To see that the knowledge was there, the bedside manner was there, and also the caring was there. That does nothing but say good things about the quality of our program and our graduates."

See suprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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South University Nursing Faculty and Staff to Attend 2017 FNPN Conference

by South University
July 25, 2017
Image of a nurse surrounded by various symbols related to nursing.

At South University, our nursing students and faculty understand the importance of lifelong learning, especially amidst the ongoing transformation of our healthcare systems, our aging US population, and the limited access to care in many communities.

In the College of Nursing and Public Health, our academic offerings can prepare you with a strong foundation and the fundamental knowledge and skills you’ll need to continue developing and evolving throughout your career. We encourage our students and faculty to be active in furthering the nursing community, and we support nursing organizations such as the Florida Nurse Practitioner Network (FNPN) that help nurses to learn from each other and encourage discussions about new nursing methods and techniques.

South University at the 2017 FNPN Conference

Through numerous workshops, training courses, and presentations, this year’s FNPN conference explores a variety of caregiving best practices as well as the many ways that the nursing community is transforming the healthcare field. Held August 10-12, 2017 at Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel in Lake Buena Vista, FL, the conference will include keynote speeches on the future of nurse practitioners in healthcare as well as strategies for solving complex healthcare problems. Recognizing the importance of these discussions, South University will be attending the conference, with team members available to chat with attendees and discuss how our graduate programs can prepare you for this ever-evolving profession.

Among the team representing South University will be Dr. William Warrington, PhD, ARNP, FNP-C, CCRP, an accomplished nurse practitioner and educator, with over 25 years of nursing experience. Warrington is a South University Assistant Dean and Associate Professor for Graduate Nursing at the South University Orlando Learning Site. At our Orlando Learning Site, students can attend classes and meet with advisors and faculty in-person once a week, while completing their remaining coursework online or in clinical settings.

Warrington holds an MSN from Georgetown University as well as a PhD in Nursing Science / Physiology from the University of Florida. His hospital nursing experience includes time in the ICU as well as time in cardiac catheterization laboratories. Warrington has also held the title of Nurse Scientist, working for 5 years with the Center for Nursing Research, where he served as co-investigator in numerous studies and co-authored multiple peer-reviewed articles, including one published in the Journal of the Association for Vascular Access.

In addition to guiding and mentoring South University students, Warrington continues to practice at a family medicine clinic in Orlando and volunteers his time as a Nurse Practitioner for Shepherd's Hope Inc, providing free care to low-income families in need.

Stop by to see us!

Are you a nurse practicing in Florida? We hope to see you at the FNPN Conference this August, and we invite you to stop by the South University booth on Friday or Saturday to meet Dr. Warrington! In the meantime, you can explore all of our Nursing programs on our website and find South University faculty and student stories on our blog.

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Meet Novi's Graduate Nursing Program Director, Dr. Michele McMahon

by South University
July 10, 2017
South University, Novi nursing faculty with Dr. Anna Czubatyj in the center.

As a nurse practitioner, graduate instructor, and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Graduate Program Director at South University, Novi, Dr. Michele McMahon's communication skills are a large part of her success.

"Communication has to be the basis of our program, of our educational system, and of how we work together as colleagues," says McMahon, who has an open door policy with her students and encourages all instructors in the FNP program to do the same.

With dual certification in acute care and family nurse practitioner as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree to her name, McMahon considers what types of communication her academic experiences have lacked or benefitted from, as she teaches other RNs the fundamentals of working as an advanced practice nurse.

"When I graduated about nine years ago with my acute care degree, there was a significant gap between what I was taught in school and what I was really doing in practice," she says. "I use that as a basis to teach my students, and say, 'These are the things that I struggled with when I got out of school.'"

McMahon also allows students to identify their own areas where they need to improve, getting to know the students and their nursing experiences when they start the class and then discussing their growth as the class progresses.

"I prompt them, 'Let's talk about where you're at now from where you were five weeks ago. How well do you feel like you've grasped this information? Looking at syllabus for the rest of the term, what things are missing?,'" says Dr. McMahon. "If I have time, we'll squeeze those in. If not, I will find resources for students so they can get that additional information."

Student surveys are another valuable tool she uses for gathering feedback from students, identifying topics students found difficult to grasp or aspects of courses that they believe could have done differently. Gathering and reviewing this feedback allows McMahon to continuously be improving the FNP program and its courses.

McMahon's teaching also relies heavily on her clinical and bedside nursing experiences. "You can read whatever you want in the books, but until you're approached with a specific situation it doesn't become real to you," she says. "Scenarios and real life examples are so important for student learning."

Currently, McMahon works in home health assessment, conducting outpatient visits in which she completes physical exams and medication reviews as well as provides patient care. On such visits, McMahan spends much of her time educating patients, their families, and their caregivers for disease prevention and health promotion—covering everything from explaining the purpose of their various medications to reviewing their chronic illness and its impacts. This work also involves careful listening and observing.

"You have to identify the barriers keeping them from the things they need to do to maintain their health," she says. "Sometimes they don't have anyone else, and your visit once a year is something that they look forward to. Oftentimes people are embarrassed. They don't want to say something's wrong, that they don't have enough money to pay their bills or that they don't have a way to get to their appointments, or whatever the case may be."

By listening and evaluating the situation, McMahon helps find patients the support they need, whether through social services or connecting them to a community support group.

Outside of her home health work, McMahon provides critical care as a Nurse Practitioner Intensivist at St. John Oakland Hospital, where, in 2014, she was named Nurse Practitioner of the Year for the St John Health System.

For other nurses, her advice is to always be eager to learn and to help educate others. "We all were a new nurse once or a new student once or have grown from someplace," she says. "We have to support each other to get us where we need to be. We need each other."

See suprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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Meet our Nursing Program Director at the Novi Campus

by South University
June 20, 2017
South University, Novi nursing faculty with Dr. Anna Czubatyj in the center.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and RN to BSN Program Director at South University, Novi, Dr. Anna Czubatyj has been teaching for 20 years and has been a Registered Nurse for over 40. In fact, nursing was something she always knew she wanted to do, she explains, recalling a time when she visited her mother in the hospital as a child.

"I remember this person in a starch white uniform with a hat on who seemed to make my mother feel better. She seemed to have all the answers as to what was going to work to make her healthy," she says. "Somewhere in the back of my mind, that really stuck with me, and I wanted to be that person."

Starting her career as a Staff Nurse in the operating room in 1976, Czubatyj worked her way up at various Michigan hospitals to serve as Nurse Manager, Department Manager, and Director of Surgical Services and Emergency Room. "I still have my first nursing hat—my first bandage scissors, my stethoscope. I put it all in one of those shadow boxes," she says.

Today, Czubatyj has five different degrees under her belt and significant experience in healthcare management, but that wasn't always what she envisioned for her future. "I call myself the late bloomer because originally all I wanted to do was get my associate degree and be done," she says.

Yet when all her peers start returning to school, so Czubatyj did, first earning a bachelor’s degree in Applied Science and then a master’s in Hospital Administration as she moved into management roles.

Still, something was missing. "I didn't feel that I had completed what I needed to do to fulfill my role in life," she recalls. It became her goal to earn a Bachelor of Science of Nursing. After that, she got her Master of Science in Nursing as well, and followed that up with a PhD in Leadership for Higher Education in 2010.

Czubatyj's move into education came after she'd already conducted staff education in several nursing roles. In 1994, she even travelled to Ukraine to teach operating room nursing standards and procedures as part of the Henry Ford Hospital and the American Institute of Health overseas program. A few years later, in 1997, Czubatyj decided to pursue teaching in a college setting. In 2003, she transitioned full-time to academia, where, based on her own experiences, she encourages her students to keep going beyond their first degree.

"My advice is do not stop with your bachelor's degree. Do not stop with just a master's. Continue going to school and learning. It changes you as an individual," she says. "It's not just what you learn in nursing school and being able to do what's needed for patients; it's that you as a person start questioning and looking for those answers and that makes a difference."

As an instructor, Czubatyj strives to create learner-centered environments, where she acts more as a facilitator than lecturer, finding creative ways to engage her students. For example, when discussing medication administration, Czubatyj brings in pill bottles with candy inside to demonstrate the concepts she’s teaching and simulate real-life problems and scenarios. She's also known for challenging her students to delve deeper, so that they never answer a question without also providing the corresponding "why" behind their answer.

As Program Director at South University, Novi, Czubatyj typically teaches courses at the beginning and end of BSN and RN to BSN programs. "I like the students to get to know me, to feel comfortable coming to talk to me, and to see me as a professor but also an everyday person, because I bring in my experiences and what I've done," she says. "I’ve had a challenging road to get to where I am. I tell my students that if I can do it, anybody can, if that is your wish. I can open the doors for you, but you need to be the one to walk through them."

See suprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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