Dr. Lin Hughes is the Dean of Nursing at Nebraska Methodist College. Hughes has extensive experience in both nursing and education. She has worked for 42 years as a nurse and 30 years as an educator. Hughes took time this week to discuss her career, advice for nursing students and what makes NMC special.
What is your background in nursing, and what has been your career path to becoming the Dean of Nursing at NMC?
Oh my, where to start? My husband was a pilot in the Air Force so we moved about every three years. Nursing is wonderful as a career because of its flexibility. I started out as a surgical nurse in an eight-room operating room in Colorado Springs, Colo., then became the charge nurse on an orthopedic-neurologic unit in Valdosta, Ga. I took critical care courses and next became the charge nurse in the pediatric unit, emergency department and intensive care unit at a rural hospital in Caribou, Maine, for more than three years.
We moved to Rapid City, S.D., where I worked on a progressive step-down unit and started my journey in teaching. I started my MSN (educator focus) and taught at the diploma school associated with Rapid City Regional Hospital, then at the diploma school in Dayton, Ohio. Our next move was to Moreno Valley, Cal., where I taught nursing at Riverside Community College and finished my MSN at Loma Linda University. I also worked supplemental in intensive care units there and became the supervisor at Riverside Nursefinders.
Our next military orders were to Offutt Air Force Base. I started in the MICU at Methodist Hospital and started teaching at Nebraska Methodist College. I continued to work supplemental in the ICU and teaching full time. In 2002, I received my PhD from UNMC. In 2006, I became the BSN Nursing Director at NMC and was mentored by Dr. Marilyn Valerio. In 2012, I became the Dean of Nursing.
You’ve worked both as a nurse and an educator for much of your career. How did you manage to do both?
I have worked for the last 22 plus years in the Methodist Hospital critical care unit and became certified in critical care 20 years ago. About nine months ago, I decided to devote the time to my present role as dean and gave my notice. I worked casual status/supplemental in ICU while teaching at NMC. The critical care supervisor was very flexible with my schedule on the weekends because of my full time position at the college. I thought that it was important to keep my skills current while teaching as an educator.
What is the most common piece of advice you give to your nursing students?
I just spoke to the NRS445 and NRS446ACE classes about the importance of forming a plan for future education and promoted lifelong learning. I stressed the impact that joining professional organizations can have on a career in keeping abreast of best practices, developing leadership skills and networking. The greatest advice for our nursing students would be to keep caring, knowledge and safety at the center of their nursing practice.
What sets Nebraska Methodist College apart?
NMC is special because of our focus on the individual student and wanting to develop every student into the best healthcare practitioner — one with a heart to care for each individual patient.
What do you like to do outside of your job at NMC?
My family of four children, four grandchildren and husband is my main focus outside of NMC. We do enjoy each other — whether playing soccer in the backyard, watching the grandchildren play sports, or hiking at our cabin in Colorado (despite the recent 12 inches of rain and no roads). I love to read, cook, entertain and work out at the YMCA whenever time permits.
Being a college student often means living on a tight budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. Omaha is a hub of things to do that won’t break your bank. If you are looking to get out and about without spending a lot of dough, put down that Ramen, because we’ve got some great ideas for you:
- Ride the slides at the Gene Leahy Pedestrian Mall. Seasoned sliders bring wax paper for extra speed. After that, head over to the Old Market to take in Omaha culture at its finest.
- Take your picture standing in two states on the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge. Then enjoy all the great parks and attractions Omaha’s riverfront has to offer.
- Be inspired at one of Omaha’s art galleries. The Joslyn Art Museum , the Bemis Center and Hot Shops all have free admission. Also, don’t miss Artsarben later this month at Stinson Park.
- Air guitar to some of Omaha’s best bands. Catch a free concert at Midtown Crossing or go see a local show at the Slowdown or the Waiting Room — both popular all-ages venues. Some local shows are as cheap as $5.
- Ride like the wind down the Keystone Trail — just a half-mile from campus — or explore Omaha on one of its many other trails.
- Make a hole in one. Forget about green fees — play a round of disc golf at Seymour Smith Park at 72nd and Harrison streets.
- Pay homage to our country’s veterans at Memorial Park. Memorial Park is a great place for a walk or ride. It’s also an excellent spot to go sledding in the winter.
- Pick up a spare at one of Omaha’s many bowling alleys. Bowling is a great group pastime that doesn’t break the bank, and West Lanes bowling alley is just a mile and a half from campus near 72nd and Dodge streets.
- Shop for groceries at an Omaha farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets near campus include Aksarben Village, Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Midtown Crossing, Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. Some of the farmer’s markets have free entertainment and, best of all, free samples!
You may have already read our previous blog talking about What is a surgical tech? so we thought in honor of 2013 National Surgical Technologist Week, we would highlight the successes and insights of Nebraska Methodist College's very own student, Molly Bouc.
Molly is a second year Surgical Technology student from Lincoln, Nebraska. She is set to graduate with her Associate of Science in Surgical Technology in May 2014.
Hands On in the O.R.
Surgical technology is an exciting, hands-on, impactful career choice. "One of the main reasons, I want to be a surgical technologist is that I like the overall idea of seeing something new each day walking into the operating room. With every person's anatomy being different, you never quite know what to expect once a surgery begins on a patient, " said Molly.
"What solidified the idea for me was while attending a Medical Youth Leadership Conference, I was able to witness a live feed of a knee replacement. While others squirmed at the site, I was immediately drawn to the image. From there, the journey began in seeking out how I, too, could be a part of such a miraculous experience."
Learn It. Do It.
Education is important, like any career, to gain the skills and knowledge to be a successful scrub tech. Some of the most popular courses are those that take place in high-tech labs that give students an opportunity to learn and practice their skills in a learning environment.
"I’m a hands on learner and love getting involved in the action. So, having the opportunity to practice the skills we learned in a lab setting overall connected the picture for me on a larger scale."
It's All About Family.
Nebraska Methodist College takes pride in our learning environment. We're a family -- here to support you and help you succeed in the classroom and beyond. But according to Molly, that is what makes the surgical technology profession all the better.
"I think what I find most intriguing about the surgical technology profession is the family atmosphere. Working side by side with one another to get a task done gives an individual the feeling of being a part of a team and the feeling of accomplishment that goes along with it."
Interested in Surgical Technology?
If you're interested in the profession, come visit our campus. See the labs, the tools, the experiences of a surgical technologist. Join us for one of our official Visit Days, where you can talk to an admissions representative, see campus and meet students and faculty.
Watch a Video about Surgical Technology
Whether you are looking for a challenge, want to make a difference, or are interested in meeting new people, Nebraska Methodist College has a variety of student organizations offering students a number of opportunities.
NMC’s student organizations range in focus, giving students a chance to be involved on campus, gain more knowledge about their chosen career path, or grow their personal faith.
Among their many activities, students involved in these organizations serve the campus community, organize events benefitting local non-profits and attend events focused on profession development.
According to Erika Pritchard, coordinator of Student Leadership Development at NMC, being involved in a student organization is a great way to learn skills outside the classroom that students will take with them into their careers.
“Through student organizations, students learn how to be leaders, work in teams, communicate effectively and make a difference in the lives of others — all highly important skills in the health care field,” says Pritchard.
NMC offers the following student organizations:
- NMC Sorority is a social and service-oriented sorority open to all NMC students. The sorority promotes personal development and intellectual growth and works to build lasting bonds of friendship among students though community service, chapter meetings and social events.
- Methodist Allied Health Student Association (MAHSA) is open to all students enrolled in allied health programs. The organization is focused on professional development and community service, and is divided into Physical Therapy Assistant, Radiology, Respiratory and Surgical Technology chapters.
- Methodist Student Nurses’ Association (MSNA) prepares nursing students for the professional field and offers networking opportunities at the local, state, and national levels. MSNA is open to all nursing students.
- Campus Crusade for Christ is a Christian interdenominational organization with chapters on college campuses throughout the world. The organization offers bible studies, missionary outreach trips, leadership retreats, joint events with local chapters and other social events.
- Pathfinders is an opportunity for students to learn about themselves and others through team building activities and projects, including the planning of Carpe Diem — a summer overnight event for new students.
- Student Government offers leadership opportunities for students interested in serving the NMC student body. Student Government is a medium of communication between the faculty, administration and students. Officers are elected each spring for the following academic year.
- Student Housing Association promotes a positive environment for students, which encourages the appreciation of individuality and respect for diversity.
- Ambassadors is a selected group of students who assist Admissions and Developmental Services staff in representing NMC to the public at college functions, recruitment activities, and orientations.