Nightingale College Welcomes New Collaborators to Team

Nightingale College Official AnnouncementThe Nightingale College collaborators strive to elevate the organization in a manner that helps us achieve our long-term goals to improve communities our nursing graduates serve. But to help us reach our goal, we need our team to consist of exceptional and dedicated individuals. For that reason, we are excited to announce that the team at Nightingale College continues to grow and brings on more talented individuals. This week is the College’s New Collaborator Orientation Week that allows new collaborators to orient to the College and learn more about what the Nightingale Difference truly is.

We’d like to welcome the newest team members to the Nightingale family.

Beth Messinger, Instructor

Judy Elquist, Instructor

Erika Gunter, Instructor

Shane Otis, Instructor 

Amanda Nussbaum, Instructor

Fulfilling Lifelong Dreams to become a Nurse and Teacher: Meet Sheron Cox

“I always thought to become a teacher or a nurse. I pursued my dream of becoming  a nurse, which was a  tough decision to make between the two. But once I became a nurse, I realized that I can also be a teacher and share my passion to mold and motivate future nurses.” Sheron Cox knew she wanted to be a nurse since she was very young. Not only did she fulfill her mission, but she was able to follow her other dream of becoming a teacher when she joined Nightingale College as an instructor at the Evanston DDC in December 2016.

Nightingale College Faculty

Where did you complete your nursing degree? Do you have any specific certificates?

I completed my nursing degree at University of Wyoming. I was a Robert Wood Johnson scholar in the BRAND (Bachelors Reach for Accelerated Nursing Degree) program.

What attracted you to teaching nursing learners? What is your favorite part about teaching nursing learners?

Teaching is very near and dear to my heart. I always thought to become  a teacher or a nurse. I pursued my dream of becoming  a nurse, which was a  tough decision to make between the two. But once I became a nurse, I realized that I can also be a teacher and share my passion to mold and motivate future nurses. My favorite part about teaching new learners is their drive to learn and motivation to become a nurse, and their willingness to devote their life to taking care of others.

What is the best feature about Nightingale College? Why do you love working here?

The best feature about Nightingale College is the compassion every collaborator has towards the learners, helping and guiding them to gain a nursing education. I love being surrounded by some of the most intelligent, experienced instructors who help me grow as a new instructor.

We have our three C’s: confidence, competence, and compassion. Do nurses need all three to be a great nurse? In your opinion, what is the number one characteristic a nurse should have in order to be a great nurse?

I believe every nurse needs all the three C’s to be a great nurse. However, compassion is the number one characteristic a nurse should have to take care of the suffering.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in nursing?

I grew up in a third world country, Fiji Island. Growing up, I realized how poverty, lack of education and lack of nurses affected the lives of many people. People were diagnosed with chronic illnesses but they didn’t understand the etiology of the disease, there were no medications available because people couldn’t afford them. Families didn’t know how to take care of their loved ones who were suffering due to lack of education, and illnesses were preserved as taboo. I always knew I wanted to change that perspective.

Most often when we are kids, we have our dream career. However, majority end up not in the profession their younger self predicted. Have you always wanted to be a nurse? If not, what was your dream career?

My mother used to tell me, growing up I would be a teacher one day and a nurse on other days. I would check my siblings temperatures and pretend to give them meds all day along or yell at them for not writing in a straight line. Deep within my heart I knew I wanted to be a nurse.  And here I am a nurse and a teacher. Not very many people get to live both dreams.

Going off of the previous question, what is your one piece of advice you want to give our nursing learners?

Keep investing in your own learning, even when it’s hard. And keep searching for a way to contribute to something that helps humanity!

Education is very important, especially when it comes to health care and caring for patients. Do you encourage learners to move forward to a BSN Degree then a MSN Degree? Are you an endorser for nurses to continue their education to at least a BSN Degree level?

Healthcare is a fast growing industry and as nurses, we need to combine our nursing skills and latest medical theory, research, and evidence-based medicine to improve patient care. Pursuing higher education has benefited me through my career and helped transitioned me to  a leader and focus on education, leadership and administration.

Share one of your favorite nursing experiences.

My favorite nursing experience is when I am out with my family in my small community of Evanston. I get lots of hugs from my patients and patient families.

Nursing school is a constant learning adventure, but you often run across a challenge or two. What was one of your bigger challenges you faced in nursing school and how did you overcome it?

I graduated from University of Wyoming’s BRAND program (Bachelors Reach for Accelerated Nursing Degree)  which was 15 months in duration . My biggest challenge was time management because I had never been through an accelerated program. I struggled with working on assignments, studying, taking tests and keeping up with friends and families. After my first week, I learned quick that I needed to put away 15 months of my life to be successful.

Always remember, nursing school, either be a traditional or an accelerated program, requires a tremendous amount of time and commitment. And all nursing programs are temporary. You will get your life back and it will come with two initials at the end of your name, RN.

Outside of caring for patients and training our learners to be nurses, what are some of you hobbies you enjoy?

I love traveling to different countries with my husband and experiencing their culture and of course, I am always curious about the country’s healthcare system.

What is your most proudest accomplishment?

16 years ago, I left my family and traveled to United States to pursue an education. Here I am with two BSNs, a nurse by profession, pursing MSN as a clinical analyst and leadership and married to my wonderful husband of 10 yrs.

Everyone has a bucket list. What are two or three items on your bucket list?

My number one thing on my bucket list is to join my volunteer organization Soroptimist International in a third world country to support women and girls in their quest to lead better lives, be empowered, ending violence against women and help women reach their full potential and live their dream.

What are some of your goals (personal and professional) for the next few years?

My personal and professional goal for the next few years to keep making a difference in others lives.

What will be your legacy?

I want to be remembered for my commitment, empowerment and motivation in supporting women and girls in their quest to lead better lives while gaining inspiration in my own life.

What has been the most daring thing you have ever done?

The most daring thing I have ever done is packed a suit case after graduating high school and boarded a plane to San Francisco from Fiji Island leaving my family behind to pursue  education and build my American Dream.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Ah…. I see my glass as half full. I am very grateful for the miles I traveled to come build my dream. I guess if I didn’t take a chance, my glass could have been half empty. It’s all about your perspective.

Share anything else you’d like with us. 

I am very passionate about improving the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. Growing up in a third world country where girls and women didn’t have access to education and training that they needed to reach their full potential and live their dreams always inspired me to make a difference.

I am a member of a global women’s organization called Soroptimist International and belong to our local club Soroptimist International Evanston. The name, Soroptimist, means “best for women,” and that’s what the organization strives to achieve. Soroptimists are women at their best, working to help other women to be their best.

Other than my career as a nurse and nursing instructor, I look forward to continuing my education and volunteer work.  I will be married to my best friend and husband Ben for 10 years in May. He is my ROCK and inspires me to do better everyday and brings out the best in me.