Gatepost Interview: Susan Conrad, Professor and Chair of the Nursing department

Please provide a brief summary of your resume and educational background. 

I have a bachelor’s degree in nursing from University of Evansville in Indiana. A master’s degree in nursing specializing in pediatrics from Texas Woman’s University and a Ph. D. in communications disorders from the University of Texas at Dallas. I have been a nurse for more than 40 years and I have been a nurse educator for more than 40 years. This is my 30th year at Framingham State. In addition to being a nurse educator I am also a certified nurse educator which is a new kind of specialization in national certification. I have taught at Texas Woman’s University and the University of Texas at Arlington and prior to that I worked at Baylor Medical Center in the emergency room and at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas in their pediatrics ICU.

What was your favorite course in college and why?

It would have to be my pediatric nursing rotation. I had always thought that I wanted to specialize in pediatrics but I had always baby-sat and taken care of kids and so I didn’t really know if I could take care of them when they were sick. So that was a learning curve for me and where I have ended up. I now specialize in children with disability.

What was your best undergraduate experience?

At college I think was where I first took advantage of other activities such as drama/music and at that time I actually sang so I took advantage of those kinds of opportunities that I had not done in high school. There were opportunities to perform and that was very very different from high school because in high school it was all work and no play.

What would students be surprised to know about you?

I think they would be surprised at how much we planned for their learning so that what learners see is not necessarily all that’s behind it. It is a mix of who the teacher is in and outside of the classroom that makes that learning experience.

What class do you think every student should take before they graduate?

As many electives as they can take. In other words I think that your general education model is great but then there should be room for you to take something you want to take. I just think that you don’t know till you get a mix and then if you really want to take art you can take that.

How would students describe you?

Concerned about their learning and energetic. I think experience in the bigger picture of their profession.

Are you currently working on any projects?

Yes. I am working on a nursing education transfer compact at the state level and it was approved this past January so we are now working on transitioning nurses from the community college into four year programs in a seamless manor. It was just approved and we are planning on implementing it starting in the fall. We did the data first and then what we did was to write it admit it it to the department of higher education and it has now been approved.

What is the best part about your job?

Students because they keep me stimulated. I can research things for them and it’s their enthusiasm that makes me enthusiastic.

Do you have any advice for students?

I think to make the most of your bachelor education and then just to know that you can’t stop. I don’t care what a student wants to do they just have to keep taking the next step. Baby step I call them. You just have to keep thinking that there is something else to learn and you just keep learning forever.

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