As vice president of Academic Affairs, Paul Savory, Ph.D., plays a major role in ensuring that Nebraska Methodist College’s programs are effectively preparing students to thrive as healthcare professionals. Savory was recently selected to by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to participate in its Executive Leadership Academy. He is one of 23 senior-level administrators in higher education nationwide to be chosen for the year-long program, which prepares provosts and vice presidents with the skills and knowledge to be future college presidents. Savory took a moment this week to discuss his career and his passion for education.
Tell us about your career as an educator.
I have been in higher education for more than 20 years, having started as an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1994. I advanced through the academic ranks at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and was promoted to Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and later moved to the Department of Management. In addition to my faculty responsibilities at UNL, I assumed a range of administrative positions, including interim associate vice chancellor for extended education and outreach, the director of summer sessions and coordinator of the peer review of teaching project. Then in June 2012, I joined Nebraska Methodist College in my current role as vice president of Academic Affairs.
What is your role at Nebraska Methodist College?
I serve as the chief academic officer and dean of the college. This involves providing direction and leadership for our three academic divisions — Nursing, Arts & Sciences and Health Professions — and supervising the budget, policies, evaluation and planning for all academic programs.
What makes you so passionate about higher education?
Being an effective educator is more encompassing than just being able to deliver a student lecture with coherence, clarity and the ability to sustain students’ attention. Rather, being effective requires one to impact students in the classroom, encourage student enthusiasm and inquiry outside of the classroom, and to participate in efforts to improve the direction, role and value of teaching and scholarship. Overall, we impact students’ lives and help set a foundation for their future success.
As an administrator, what do think the future holds for Nebraska Methodist College?
The future is extremely bright for Nebraska Methodist College. We are personalized enough to develop one-on-one connections with our students that will greatly impact their success academically and as a health professional.
How do you spend your time when you aren’t working at your job at Nebraska Methodist College?
My wife and I juggle taking our two daughters to their sporting events and school activities.
In March, a group of 11 Nebraska Methodist College students participated in the Spring Break Service Immersion, giving them a first-hand look at food issues in the surrounding Omaha community. The service immersion focused on the nutritional status of children among Omaha’s urban population.
Nebraska Methodist College’s service immersions provide students with intensive community-based learning experiences. Through the service immersions, Nebraska Methodist College aims to provide students with opportunities to gain greater self and global awareness by studying diverse cultures, politics, economics and healthcare.
During the March service immersion, students explored food insecurities within Omaha and learned about strategies for preventing of childhood obesity. The service immersion took the students to a number of organizations in the Omaha area to both learn and volunteer:
- The group joined with employees of Woodhouse Auto Group in volunteering at the Food Bank for the Heartland. The group formed a production line to package weekend food backpacks for area children in need. The project provided breakfast and lunch for children in need during the weekends when they are away from school. The food was provided by a partnership between the Food Bank and ConAgra, which serves more than 8,000 children throughout 220 schools.
- Students learned about The Big Garden, an outreach program aimed at establishing community gardens throughout Omaha in an effort to improve nutritional health and facilitate community development. The community gardens are focused on providing communities of need with options of having fresh produce and bringing the community and neighbors together by working as a team. The Big Garden provides support in establishing the community gardens, including securing grant money for seed and soil, building raised beds in areas where the soil may have lead contamination and providing education to the individuals in the community about continuing their garden.
- The group visited Table Grace Café during the service immersion. The café is a non-profit restaurant in downtown Omaha that focuses on providing food to everyone who walks through their door whether or not they can pay for it. The café runs off of donations from patrons, but doesn’t turn away those who can’t donate. The café encourages those who can’t donate to volunteer at the restaurant.
- The immersion brought the students to the Omaha Opportunities Industrialization Center where they assisted members of the adult program in starting their own garden. While some students helped the members assemble garden starter kits of seeds and potting soil, other students helped till soil in garden beds to prepare for planting. The students provided instructions on how to care for the new plants and talked about ways to prepare the vegetables. The members were very excited and seemed to have a lot of hope for taking care of their new project.
- The students visited with a school nurse at Minne Lusa Elementary School in North Omaha to learn about the food insecurity issues among the families in the surrounding community.
All jobs in nursing aren’t the same. In fact, nurses come in a variety of careers and specialties that more than blow the lid off of outdated nursing stereotypes.
Nurses have a number of career paths to choose from, specializing in all sorts of areas such as primary care, management, information and even forensics.
To illustrate, here is a look at five unique careers in nursing — one or more of which might be in your future:
Forensic nurses provide specialized care for patients who are victims or perpetrators of crimes. While caring for patients comes first and foremost, these nurses are responsible for collecting evidence, providing medical testimony in court and consulting with legal authorities. Forensic nurses have specialized legal knowledge and skills to identify injuries, conduct evaluations of patients and provide necessary legal documentation.
Nurse navigators follow patients through transitional care, enhancing communication by serving as the single point of contact between patients, physicians and caregivers. These nurses help patients navigate clinical and supportive care services within a health system and in the community. Also referred to as patient navigators, these nurses coordinate patient appointments and work to eliminate barriers to timely and effective care. Nurse navigators also provide health education to patients before and after they receive care.
Informatics nurses manage electronic medical records required at healthcare facilities. These nurses work to improve information management and communication in nursing to increase efficiency, reduce costs and enhance the quality of patient care. Nursing informatics is a specialty that combines nursing science, computer science and information science. Nurses in informatics support patients, nurses and other providers in their decision-making throughout the care process.
eICU nurses are experienced in intensive care and facilitate electronic monitoring of ICU patients from a distant site. eICU nurses work with cutting edge technology that allows them to effectively monitor critical care patients. These nurses provide support to critical care physicians and nurses on the ground at the ICU, helping them to improve response times and intervene before a patient’s condition deteriorates.
In addition to offering undergrad and graduate degrees in nursing, Nebraska Methodist College also offers professional development courses for healthcare providers. With year-round courses including CPR, cardiac and pediatric life support and other seasonal courses, we’re committed to the development of the healthcare profession. In the rapidly changing field of nursing, choosing your degree is just the beginning.