Compassion moves Colorado Northwestern Community College nursing director to educate, students, patients
Editor’s Note: This is the first article in an ongoing series that seeks to honor and understand more about educators in Moffat County.
CRAIG — Nursing students at the local college are encouraged to learn both the skills and spirit needed to provide compassionate care.
“We don’t cure, we care. Our foundation is based on caring,“ said CNCC Director of Nursing Beverly Lyne. “My experience of being a nurse is that it is the hardest and most exquisite thing I could have chosen to do with my life. We are allowed to be part of some of the most intimate parts of peoples lives, and we take that seriously, and we cherish it.”
Lyne worked for a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., for three years before moving to Colorado.
“I fell in love with mountaineering and climbing, which led me to instruct for Colorado Outward Bound School,” Lyne said.
Once she realized nursing was her calling, Lyne was inspired by nurse educators to engage in “real world and social justice activities” and teach.
In her classes, she invites student to “try on” new roles.
“If they are the quiet, shy person who never speaks up, try being the innovator, the one who jumps in to try a new skill first,” she said.
Craig Press recently asked Lyne about her experiences and motivations as an educator.
Craig Press: Describe how you learned teaching is what you were meant to do?
Beverly Lyne: As a patient education consultant, I realized how I loved helping nurses break through barriers of teaching their patients. Whether it was how to manage their diabetes or getting over the scary thoughts of living with a new condition, nurses are the ones who help the patient be successful in moving forward toward health.
CP: If your greatest supporter were in the room today, what five words would he or she use to describe you as a person, a teacher or a colleague?
BL: Compassionate, caring, spirited, healing and challenging.
CP: In your experience, what is the most challenging part of your role as an educator, and how have you met that challenge?
BL: Bringing together the desire to work within a bureaucratic institution with budgetary parameters and the urge to be creative in meeting the learning needs of our students. I might have done better in the frontier days, when each school made its own rules. That being said, our finance officer has helped me be able to use our budget in ways that make our program offerings excel.
CP: How are you involved in the community outside school?
BL: I continue to go to Uganda annually to work at a clinic that I co-founded in 2005 with three Canadian nurses. The clinic provides Safe Motherhood and delivers 70 to 100 babies per month. I have taught lots of different continuing education there and have worked with wildly varying issues, such as embezzlement, how to manage thousands of charts, ongoing nursing education, etc.
In 2010, I went to Haiti with the Colorado Haiti Project in response to the huge earthquake. I continue my relationships there, teaching cello at the St. Trinity Music School, Therapeutic Touch at the FSIL Nursing School in Leogane and providing cholera care in the Artibonite region and in the south around Jaqmel.
In 2013, I was a co-founder of the Western Slope Against Trafficking and, in that role, have done numerous trainings for emergency departments, family practice offices, nursing students, county leaders, etc.
I play with the Cedar Mountain Strings.
I am a member of the Western Colorado Nightingale Committee and am part of that effort to nominate and recognize excellent nurses throughout Colorado each year.
CP: If a visitor came to your office and took a photo, what would he or she see in that photo?
BL: My office is full of the things that make my heart soar, things that can buoy me up when there is a particularly challenging day. I have pictures and mementos from Haiti, Uganda, Nicaragua and many of my alpine climbing adventures, as well as family pictures.
CP: How are you breaking tradition?
BL: My work is founded on Jean Watson’s nursing theory. … The essence of Jean’s theory encourages us, as nurses, to explore what it means to be whole, to be healed and to be caring. It is about connectedness and seeing each person’s humanity reflected in ourselves. Through my introduction to Jean in my nursing school, we have remained friends over the decades. It is a delight to work with my faculty in operationalizing caring with them and in the classroom and clinical sites.
I did not come up through academic ranks over decades of teaching in the classroom. I am much more of an experiential learner and teacher. Bringing the cultural insights that I have been blessed to experience in my work in the resource-challenged countries is something rather unusual to our situation at CNCC.
CP: What is one fun fact about you?
BL: I am an identical twin. She (my sister) is also an educator, with a doctorate in music and education. She taught beginning string orchestra.
CP: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
BL: There must be an element of joy in each and every day, or we need to make a change.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.