Debra Smith

Debra Smith

Principal Lecturer II

"I have been teaching for almost 20 years and have never regretted my decision. I love making a difference and have found teaching to be incredibly challenging and rewarding."

Degrees held:

  • MSN – University of New Mexico, 1995
  • BSN – University of New Mexico, 1985

Career highlights:

I have published articles and chapters in books related to the development & implementation of our concept-based undergraduate nursing curriculum. Also, I have given several presentations & consultations locally and nationally related to conceptual teaching and learning.

I have received the Quality Matters Certificate of Course Recognition for the RN BSN course N302 Advancement of Professional Nursing.

Eleven times received the Outstanding Undergraduate Faculty award (from students).

Three times received the Dean's Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.

In which online degree program do you teach?

RN to BSN.

Which classes do you teach online?

N302 and N408.

What do you want students to take away from your classes? What do you want them to learn?

I would like all of my students to learn to love learning and increase their ability to find resources to help them in their nursing practice. I cannot "teach" them everything they need to know, but I hope I can help them to become lifelong learners and enjoy the process! Being curious and not being afraid to ask questions is so important.

Why did you start teaching?

I was working in an adult Trauma/Surgical ICU & loved patient care! I started precepting new nurses and found that I loved teaching also. This motivated me to go back to school and obtain my master's degree so I could have more opportunities. I have been teaching for almost 20 years and have never regretted my decision. I love making a difference and have found teaching to be incredibly challenging and rewarding.

What's the best advice that you ever received?

Take things one day at a time and put your energy and time where you can make the most difference.

Why are you interested in nursing? What drew you to this field?

I love caring for people (patients and students) and helping them along their journey whether it's related to health & wellness or advancing their knowledge. Sometimes even the small things can make such a big difference. Sitting with a patient or student and really listening to them can have a huge impact.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.

What qualities make someone particularly successful in nursing?

Caring, compassion, flexibility, dedication, lifelong learner and excellent communication skills.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that nurses face today?

Keeping up with all the changes in our healthcare system and still finding the time to deliver excellent, quality patient care.

Tell us something your students may not know about you:

My "signature color" is green!

What is the value of a BSN?

It has been shown repeatedly that nurses with a bachelor's degree improve patient outcomes. In addition, it open up so many career opportunities. I also hope this is just one more step on their educational path to a terminal degree.

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