Even before Craven Community College (CCC) became an independent higher education institution 50 years ago, it was providing nursing education. In 1963, practical nursing education was offered through the Lenoir County Industrial Education Center in New Bern. Classes were held on the third floor of what is now the Harvey Mansion Restaurant.
One of CCC’s early nursing instructors was Winnie Cotton. Cotton started teaching in September of 1969 at the Harvey Mansion building. She taught 21 years in both the licensed practical nursing and associate degree nursing (ADN) programs. When asked what was most rewarding about being an instructor, Cotton replied, “Seeing students be successful and being able to follow them into the workforce and be very proud of them that they were able to do that.”
Recently, Cotton visited the New Bern campus and toured the Perdue Hall building for the very first time. While here, she was able to tour the state-of-the-art nursing simulation lab. The simulation lab features computerized patient mannequins that breathe, talk, bleed, birth babies, and simulate critical health episodes. The lab gives students hands-on learning experience in addition to classroom and clinical training. Contributions from community partners such as The Harold H. Bate Foundation, CarolinaEast Health System and Johnson & Johnson made the more than $300,000 lab a reality and it became fully operational in 2010.
Over the past 10 years, student Michela Turner has been taking college classes on and off. Turner received her associate in arts degree in 2014. Turner has returned to CCC again this fall to finally pursue her passion of helping others. “As a child, I would give first-aid to my dolls and as I grew up I would frequently provide first-aid to family members and friends,” said Turner. Turner is a mother, works part-time, tutors, and serves as one the college’s student ambassadors.
Another long-time nursing faculty member is Carolyn Jones who is in her 29th year at the college. Jones says that while technology has changed, the important teachings of patient care and compassion has not. “It has been very rewarding seeing nursing graduates in the community and I’m always proud when I see a graduate care for a member of my family,” said Jones. While many nursing graduates work in area hospitals and medical practices, Jones said that graduates are working all over the country and the world.
“As it has done for over 50 years, Craven’s nursing program will continue to adapt to the needs of the community and the changes in health care,” said Kathleen Gallman, associate vice president of academic affairs and student engagement. Gallman is a 1996 CCC ADN graduate who began teaching nursing for the college in 1999. Since then, Gallman has advanced both her position and education. She led the college’s health education programs from 2009-2013. Gallman added, “We’re proud that our program has prepared nursing students to pass the license examination at the same or better rates as four-year university programs.”
Follow the college’s history every Thursday for #tbt (Throw Back Thursday) posts on www.Facebook.com/CravenCC.
Deborah Kania is the director of marketing, communications and development liaison at Craven Community College.
Article originally appeared in the New Bern Sun Journal.