Janice Nash, director of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, is a Pittsburgh Magazine 2016 Excellence in Nursing honoree. In the December edition of the magazine, she's praised as an academic with deep clinical experience who strongly values education and the programs at Carlow.
Carlow is fortunate to have Nash, who began teaching as an adjunct faculty member 15 years ago and moved into a full-time position a couple years later.
Since then, she has helped to develop the College of Health and Wellness at Carlow and to enrich and refine the nursing program. (It's no secret that Carlow nursing graduates have earned the top pass rate in Pittsburgh on the NCLEX RN licensure exam for three years in a row.)
Prior to teaching, Nash worked "29 years by the bedside" including 13 years at Allegheny General Hospital. Her favorite aspect of nursing is teaching patients how to care for themselves.
Nash's level of professionalism goes beyond what most people expect from a nurse and a professor. She zeroes in on the human aspects of providing care and is attentive to both students and patients, as described in the following excerpt from Pittsburgh Magazine.
As a teacher, Nash helps her students “to see beyond their shifts.” She challenges them to consider the bigger picture surrounding their patients — to ask questions about their family members and their needs. She asks them to think about what each patient will need to know upon discharge and how any experience can be made better.
Knowing that nurses have more responsibility today than ever, particularly in regard to technology and accountability, Nash encourages her students to consider all factors affecting their field, including politics and public policy. Her students have gone on to enjoy successful careers at local hospitals as well as Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
"It's so rewarding to go out and see graduates two, three, five years out and they tell you what they're doing. We see a lot of them go back to graduate school and go into leadership positions," says Nash.
A Carlow alumna, Nash completed the Doctor of Nursing Practice four years ago at Carlow, after earning an MSN from the University of Pittsburgh and BSN from York College.
She's helped to shape the nursing curriculum at Carlow, which is a rigorous one. She's also been involved in setting up a peer mentoring program and establishing summer internships for the operating room and perinatal nursing.
In addition to directing the BSN program, Nash teaches students at the sophomore level when they first participate in clinicals—hands-on learning with patients in medical centers—which is a year earlier than most programs.
"Having their clinical experience spread out over three years [instead of two] makes a difference. Students have more time to process the information, to apply it more often, and to see it in different settings such as in-patient and community settings," says Nash.
Nash encourages career exploration through her work with Carlow's Prepare to Care summer program for high school students. The weeklong program brings teens to campus to learn about medical careers and see what college life could be like as a major in nursing or the life sciences.
Nash admits to missing all of the time she used to spend helping patients directly.
But she knows she's in the right place. A surprise note received from a recent graduate confirmed it. It read: You just made such a difference. I learned so much from you, and I hope that I become the same kind of nurse that you are.
Her patients may not see her in person these days, but it's Nash who may have influenced the level of quality in their care. When they meet a Carlow nurse, they'll feel the difference.
Learn more about the College of Health and Wellness's Nursing programs.