On Friday, Dec. 12, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will graduate 105 health care professionals. The commencement ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. in the Second Floor Ballroom of the Memphis Cook Convention Center. UTHSC Chancellor Steve J. Schwab, MD, will preside over the ceremony and give the charge to the graduates. UT System Executive Vice President David E. Millhorn will confer the degrees. To watch the events live, please use the following link, which works best in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers:
The 105 graduates are from five of the six UT Health Science Center colleges.
- 2 from the College of Dentistry
- 21 from the College of Graduate Health Sciences
- 24 from the College of Health Professions
- 4 from the College of Medicine
- 54 from the College of Nursing
This winter’s graduating class includes 22 African-Americans, 4 Latino-Americans, and 29 graduates who came from out of state to study at UTHSC. In addition, this graduating class comprises 86 women and 19 men.
There’s an unusual excitement to the December graduation for Irma O. Jordan, DNP. Affiliated with UT for 18 years in both clinical and academic roles, Dr. Jordan has spent the past four years as an assistant professor in the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at the UTHSC College of Nursing. As a triple UTHSC grad, Dr. Jordan is no stranger to commencements. She earned her BSN in 1997, with the last class to graduate before the UTHSC RN to BSN program was suspended. She went on to earn both her MSN (1998) and DNP (2010) at UTHSC. Now, at December graduation, Dr. Jordan will present her daughter, Lisa Dawson, with her UTHSC BSN diploma. Dawson is among the first group of nursing students to graduate from the BSN program since UTHSC reactivated its nursing baccalaureate in fall 2012.
“With my role as a faculty member in the College of Nursing, I was concerned about Lisa being a student in the BSN program,” Dr. Jordan said. “I was concerned it would present challenges she would not have to deal with in another program. When Lisa and I discussed this, she told me, ‘If I’m going to do this, I want to attend the best nursing program available.’ I couldn’t argue with that.”
Over the 17-month, accelerated BSN program, Dawson, a single mother with twin boys, 7, and a daughter, 5, has described her life as overwhelming at times and always challenging. Much of the time she’s had to operate despite chronic sleep deprivation, a common condition among nursing students. But Dawson is quick to credit each UTHSC faculty member she has studied and trained under in the BSN-CNL (Clinical Nurse Leader) program.
“They have provided me not only with the knowledge to achieve my goal of being a nurse, but they are also great mentors,” Dawson said. “Faculty are approachable and available to the students, and it is evident they want us to succeed.”
“I have had the pleasure of hearing Lisa’s stories of faculty engagement with students as they learned and experienced nursing,” Dr. Jordan said. “There are some faculty members who had Lisa in class and didn’t even know she was my daughter. They treated her just like every other BSN student – wonderfully. I am proud to be associated with these colleagues.”
What Lisa has found most profound is the impact nurses have on the lives of their patients. “Nursing is not about thestuff we can do. It’s about caring for the person.” The emotion in Dr. Jordan’s voice is evident when she states, “Lisa will be a great nurse!”
Dr. Jordan also has a son who is a 2006 UT, Knoxville, graduate. He works in industrial sales for an international company and lives in Knoxville with his wife, a 2011 UTK graduate.