Dr. Tina Dalrymple With a strong background in nursing, First Lady Dr. Tina Dalrymple has made it a priority to help support the nursing program at Columbia College. Read on for her insights into the programs offered today and her hope for the future.

What would you like alumni to know about your experience in nursing?

My nursing career started as an obstetrics nurse in a small rural hospital, which meant that I worked in labor and delivery, post-partum and newborn nursery. When the unit was slow or closed I floated to all other areas of the hospital. Next, I worked for many years in community health nursing. I later worked as a family nurse practitioner and earned my master’s and Ph.D. degrees. At Hartwick College, I primarily taught courses in community health nursing, rural health nursing as well as nursing leadership and management. I also taught a variety of nursing courses online for Excelsior College. In my role as a family nurse practitioner, I worked in a school-based clinic caring for children in grades pre-K through 12. I have enjoyed the variety of roles and experiences that my nursing career has provided to me.

What are your insights into Columbia College’s nursing program?

Over the past few months I have really enjoyed getting to know the nursing faculty and staff. They are wonderful to work with and clearly care deeply about the nursing students and programs.

Our accelerated Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program is an excellent pathway to become a registered nurse (RN). I am amazed and proud of the fact that our nursing graduates had 100 percent pass rate on the NCLEX exam in 2014 — something I have never experienced in my nursing education career.

The new online RN to BSN degree program is an excellent way for RNs to obtain their baccalaureate degree in nursing while working. The Future of Nursing (2010) landmark report initiated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recommends an 80 percent increase in the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce. The current workforce of baccalaureate-prepared nurses falls well short of this recommendation, with only 55 percent prepared at the baccalaureate and graduate levels combined (HRSA, 2013). More and more employers are looking for nurses to have a BSN degree.

What role do you hope nursing will play into the future at Columbia College?

Columbia College is hoping to be part of the solution for the projected shortage of nurses in Missouri. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014), the occupation of registered nurse is projected to grow faster than average through the year 2022. The Bureau reports a projected growth of 19 percent between the years 2012 and 2022, thus reflecting a growth from 2.71 million RNs to an anticipated 3.24 million by the year 2022. The Bureau has also projected an increase in the need for replacement RNs due to the current RN workforce nearing retirement age (AACN, 2014). Columbia College is excited to be involved in the future of the nursing profession.

How do you hope to impact the nursing programs here at the college?

I hope to assist the nursing department in any way I can! Currently, I am assisting the department in the development of an in-seat traditional BSN program and preparing for accreditation visits for both our ADN program as well as the online RN to BSN program. I am also creating a course in Community Health Assessment for the RN to BSN online degree program. I am thrilled to say that I will be teaching this course once it goes live in June 2015, as I love teaching. It is a very exciting time for the Department of Nursing at Columbia College.

* This article is featured in the summer 2015 edition of Affinity, the official magazine of the Columbia College Alumni Association. Check out additional content on alumni around the world via this link!