Professor’s profile: Jenny Fields, dean of the School of Nursing, pursues a goal of nursing education to meet complex hospital demands

Jenny Fields became the Tulsa Community College (TCC) dean of the school of nursing on July 1, 2019. She has been with the TCC since January 2014.
Before the promotion to the dean’s position, Fields worked as an assistant professor and faculty department chair in the Career Mobility Track.

Which degrees do you hold?

I hold the following degrees: Associate degree in Applied Science (AAS), Nursing and Association of Science (AS) from Connors State College; Bachelor in Science, Nursing (BSN) from Oklahoma Wesleyan University; Masters in Science, Nursing Education (MSN) from the University of Oklahoma; and currently working on a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Administration from Samford University.  I hope to finish my DNP this year.

Where did you work before TCC?

I have worked as an instructor of nursing at Langston University-Tulsa, as an educator, team leader, charge nurse and staff nurse at St. John’s Medical Center (now Ascension St. John’s). My nursing background is in medical-surgical nursing and Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). 

What degrees and certificates does the nursing department offer?

The School of Nursing offers an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (AAS).

How many students, employees, and teachers are currently at the nursing department?

We currently have 331 nursing students (217 traditional/114 career mobility). There are 31 full-time nursing faculty and approximately 22 adjuncts who help deliver nursing courses/clinical. We are assisted by four additional full-time staff members and one part-time staff member.

Name outstanding students and employees of your department.

We currently have many outstanding faculty members. A few that come to mind are Tina Coker-Boyd MSN, RN. She is working in the Adult Health II course in the traditional program, and she goes out of her way to help students to be successful. Another would be Courtney Wayland DNP, RN. Wayland teaches in Adult I in the traditional program and her innovation and curriculum development contributes to the success of the college’s TCC nursing students. The School of Nursing could not run as smoothly without our administrative support, especially Debbie Brown, who keeps us all organized and on track. I know my job would be a lot harder without her support and knowledge of our organization. We have many outstanding students to name a few who just graduated would be Lea Medlock, Matilda Ayuketa Ekem, and Lauren Thompson.

Is there difference how TCC was teaching nursing a decade ago and now?

I think one of the differences in teaching nursing today is that the patients are much more complex and stay less time in the hospital, which creates a unique situation for future nurses. They must be able to think quickly, manage multiple problems/patients at the same time and balance computer charting. Faculty must continuously be learning and need different teaching strategies to meet the challenging demands of the nursing profession.

How did the TCC nursing department help local hospitals to fight COVID-19?

The Nursing and Allied Health programs donated 213 boxes of N-95, procedural with shields and other masks, 845 boxes of gloves, 1,436 surgical and isolation gowns, 150 shoe and hair covers, 12 containers of desinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizers to Oklahoma hospitals. 

After the items were donated to Stillwater Regional Medical Center, the remaining items were divided among the four main hospital systems in Tulsa: Ascension-St. John, Hillcrest Medical Center, St. Francis Health System, and OSU Medical Center.

It was not easy to switch all classes online for spring and summer semesters due to COVID-19. How did the nursing department overcome the obstacle? 

It has been a challenge to switch to online learning. I believe faculty and students are settling in and making the best of this challenging situation.  All of the theory courses in nursing were moved to the online format. Nursing faculty also created simulated clinical situations and moved the labs/simulation scenarios to the online format.  Many of the nursing faculty are holding virtual class via Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate and faculty are also doing virtual office hours so that students still have an opportunity to meet with faculty and get their questions answered. Some of the clinical courses used virtual clinical situations to allow students to finish clinical rotations and some students will receive an “I” in clinical courses and finish their clinical rotations either toward the end of summer or the beginning of the fall semester.

Jenny Fields, TCC dean of the School of Nursing, has been with the college since January 2014. Submitted photo. 

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