Pam Cormier has a way with children, which is perhaps what led her into pediatric nursing. She started her career at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston in 1991, and over the course of the next 14 years, worked her way up to manage the general medicine/transplant unit. Along the way, Pam earned a dual MSN/Master of Health Administration online. “My love was always patient care, but I felt a master’s would give me the ability to eventually move into administration or something away from the bedside,” Pam says.
A leap of faith to higher education
In 2004, Pam made a big move in her career – she switched to per diem at Texas Children’s so she could also join Houston Methodist Hospital, a leading Texas academic medical center, as a nurse manager. “I was earning my master’s at the time, and wanted to get some adult health experience,” she says. Pam also decided to try out teaching and became a clinical instructor, teaching clinicals for Prairie View A&M University students taking an adult health nursing course at Houston Methodist. A 1991 BSN graduate of Prairie View A&M herself, Pam was recommended for the role by a former professor.
As it turned out, Pam loved the education setting. She joined the nursing faculty at Prairie View A&M full time in 2007. “Patient care and teaching the next generation of nurses are my two passions” she says. “After I completed my master’s degrees, I knew that I wanted a terminal degree.”
Finding American Sentinel
Pam took her time to find the right doctoral program to meet her needs. “I need a program that was practice focused as opposed to research based,” she says. She happened upon a press release circulated by the National Black Nurses Association when American Sentinel launched its Doctor of Nursing Practice Educational Leadership program in 2012, and there was no more looking.
“I said, ‘education and leadership is exactly what I need.’ I’d been searching, and there was no other program like it.” Pam applied right away, was accepted and joined the very first cohort of the DNP Educational Leadership.
Applicable in every way
The course work, residencies, capstone project, and practical focus of the DNP was exactly what Pam was looking for. As a graduate of, and now faculty member at a historically black university with a nursing program that is nearly 100 years old, Pam chose to complete her capstone on “Generational and Cultural Differences in Incivility Among BSN Nursing Students.”
“As a faculty member, I know that incivility can be far reaching, so we must address uncivil behaviors in real time,” she says. “We hope to decrease those instances in the workplace by dealing with them in college.”
Achieving her goal
In March 2015, Pam defended her capstone project. Achieving this milestone, Pam says, is a personal goal that she hopes will take her far. “My vision for the future is open but focused,” she says. “I am very happy doing what I do, but if opportunities become available, I’m thankful that I now have the credentials and qualifications to put myself out there.”
As a professor, Pam’s goal is to hold students to a high standard and set them up for success. “I take a lot of pride in helping them learn what they need to know and preparing them for their futures in nursing. I sat in the same classroom they sit in now, and my goal is to uphold the Prairie View tradition of producing excellent nurses.”
Inspired by Pam’s story? A DNP with a specialization in educational leadership prepares master’s-educated nurses for leadership roles in nursing education programs. When you acquire new knowledge, you can apply it to nursing practice in ways that enhance patient care and improve outcomes.
American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of online nursing degrees, including an RN to BSN program and advanced degree programs that prepare nurses for a specialty in case management, infection control, and executive leadership.