Last Modified: Thursday, July 31, 2014 12:07 PM
Veronica Woodard, Ph.D will be signing copies of her book, “Faculty Mentoring of Culturally Diverse Nursing Students: It Matters!” on Friday, Aug. 8 with the event starting at 6 p.m. at the Black Heritage Gallery.
The book is her dissertation, a part of her doctorial studies. During the two years of obtaining her doctorate, she researched the impact of having college faculty as mentors to young students.
“It deals with self-efficacy, expectations and outcomes. Most importantly the scientific research deals with lived experience, what it is they lived through.”
Information was gained through what is considered a qualitative study method using group focus sessions by ways of interview. Woodard asked questions to a group of nursing students about faculty mentors and their impact. The results were surprising for Woodard.
“I thought that they would answer that the mentoring from the faculty was so important, it would influence them to stay in the program. What I got from them, it wasn’t that high on the level of importance. They had already decided that once they got into the program, they would stay in that program, regardless. While it does matter, it’s not influential.”
Woodard is an assistant professor of nursing at McNeese State University, a position she’s held for over 10 years. Woodard became a nurse after graduating from Dillard University in New Orleans in May 1978. Initially, she would have never thought her career would have taken a turn into the world of academia.
“If someone would have told me it was going to happen, I would have told them they were talking about someone else,” said Woodard. “I had no idea I was going into academia.”
The idea of becoming a professor stemmed from her experience as a teacher’s assistant, a job she held one summer as a 15-year-old. She was assigned to work with a struggling student one-on-one.
“I remember how difficult it was because that young person just didn’t get it. I just thought to myself, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m just not going to get through to her’. The day I got through to her, I remember the expression on her face, and her eyes lighting up. But the thing was, it was two weeks to summer school was about to end. I thought I would never be a teacher, this is too much pressure.”
It wasn’t until after her sons were grown and off to college and herself in the midst of a profession change that she didn’t know what she was going to do next with her career.
“I was in my kitchen, and I said, ‘Okay, Lord, you need to show me what to do, because I know I need to work.’ I was the only one in the house, only me, and I heard his voice say ‘Call McNeese.’ That was almost thirteen years ago.”
Over the time, became not just a nurse but a professor in the nursing field.
“I had great mentoring from the staff here. It’s a whole different thing from practicing, teaching what you know to somebody else,” said Woodard. She describes the environment at McNeese as a nurturing one, allowing educators to continue to learn through conferences and mentoring.
“There’s nothing boring about it (teaching) then what I thought when I was 15.”
Woodard teaches from 60 to 80 students a semester. When looking back at being a nurse and teaching nursing in the college setting, she feels that this is where she belongs.
“When I look back, I feel like I gave all I could in those setting, and I gave the most good for the people I could at the time. When I was done with those settings, I feel that I gave the best that I could.”
When asked for advice for young nursing students and students in the medical field, Woodard replied with, "They need to prepare, and prepare to the best of their ablilites. The world they're living in now, is a global insitution. They have to prepare, and they have to prepare adequately."
Posted By: Barbara Westerfield On: 8/11/2014
Title: Certified clinical hemodislysis care tech
Hello Veronica remember working with you some years go you are a wonderful person I am glad u accepted your calling very inspirational you have always had a heart for others "Congtrats" I was just talking with God this morning about the same thing glad I ran across your story..thank you I wish you much success.