This year marks the 50th anniversary of Columbus State University’s School of Nursing. Since the institution’s first class enrolled in 1967, more than 2,700 nurses have earned degrees from the school.
The School of Nursing will recognize the occasion at a series of events on Oct. 20 held in conjunction with CSU’s Homecoming Week. The activities, which provide alumni with an opportunity to reconnect and network with one another, include an Alumni Association Recognition Luncheon, an Open House and a Rooftop Celebration.
At the Alumni Association Recognition Luncheon, seven alumni will be recognized for significant career achievements in academic and clinical settings. Honorees are Dr. Christi Deaton, Jean Hartin, Amanda Hawkins, Aleta Henderson, Dr. Brian Holland, Barbara McKnight and Dr. Geneva Turner.
Following the luncheon, an open house will guide alumni through the School of Nursing’s new home on the RiverPark campus in Frank Brown Hall.
The celebration continues into the night with a rooftop party, as Columbus’s own DNR Band hits the stage with an eclectic mix of oldies. Rated as the top local band by the Ledger-Enquirer’s 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards, the DNR band – known to medical professionals as “do not resuscitate” – is comprised of a dozen local doctors.
Babs McKnight, an alumna from the graduating class of 1977, will be there with her daughter, Elizabeth Mathis, who is a 2002 alumna of the school of nursing. McKnight says she is excited to reconnect with old classmates to honor the monumental milestone.
“It is an opportunity to celebrate all that CSU has done in recruiting and training new nurses in our community,” Mcknight said.
As the Director of Case Management at St. Francis Hospital, McKnight has seen nursing evolve over the years and recognizes the role CSU’s School of Nursing has had on preparing nurses for the challenges that come with modern medicine.
“I think fundamentally the principals are the same in what we do to care for patients,” said McKnight. “The patients have changed, and because our patients have changed, we have had to grow our knowledge base. Patients are living longer and the technology we use today is so far advanced compared to that used by my generation.”
McKnight’s daughter, Elizabeth Mathis, is a nursing instructor at CSU and a former pediatric nurse practitioner at Midtown Medical Center. Growing up and seeing her mother dress in the all white nurse uniforms that fizzled out in the 80s, Mathis has also witnessed the evolution of the profession.
“I would say the biggest change in nursing is the amount of opportunities and specializations that you can get now,” said Mathis. “Now you can be a nurse, a nurse practitioner, a nurse educator, or in public health. There are degrees that go along with all of them.”
Both Mathis and McKnight, who previously taught at Columbus Technical College, have made their mark on the future of nursing by training tomorrow’s nurses.
“I’m excited to see the next generation. It is a profession that drains you physically, challenges you intellectually every day and every hour, and it pushes you emotionally. It is challenging but extremely rewarding.”
Alumni of CSU’s School of Nursing can learn more about the 50th Anniversary events at http://alumni.columbusstate.edu/site/Calendar?view=Detail&id=101122.
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