Nurses Week in May honors nurses who for 19 years in a row are ranked as the most trusted profession, according to a Gallup poll.
Carolyn Jo McCormies, director of nursing and division chair for EAC’s Nursing and Allied Health Division, for the past 12 years, was recently appointed president of the Arizona State Board of Nursing. The board regulates the practice of nursing and approves all nursing education programs in Arizona.
“I have a respect and high regard for all of my colleagues within the nursing profession. This is why I choose to serve on the board; to give back to the profession I love,” she said.
McCormies, a nurse for more than 30 years, came up the professional ladder as a certified nurse assistant, licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, family nurse practitioner and nurse educator. She continues to work as a teacher and clinician. She believes her family practice keeps her clinically competent and relevant as an educator. She has taken part in every aspect of the associate degree nursing program — teaching in the classroom and in the clinical areas.
She also serves her community on the district board of Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center and as a commissioner for the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), which accredits nursing programs nationally and internationally.
“I love being a nurse and enjoy all aspects of it. It continues to bring me joy in my professional life. It is my life — it is a part of me.”
Of her four children, three have chosen this profession as well, and one is a lawyer. With the support of her husband Jeff, McCormies said, “I am so very proud of all of them and they are my greatest accomplishment.”
Her leadership style at EAC is collaborative.
“Each nursing faculty member, both full and part time, has an equal vote in decisions.”
McCormies feels that each teacher, including the Allied Health faculty, brings strength to the program because of their diverse backgrounds.
EAC received a National League of Nursing Center of Excellence Award, demonstrating that they provide the best in nursing education.
The COVID crisis has made it more challenging for the students to translate what they learn in the classroom setting into their individual practice in the hospital. The faculty has been innovative in the skills lab.
“Faculty priority is the student,” said McCormies, “and supporting them in their learning.” Often students are handling family, study and work. “Balancing life is difficult for all of us — students and faculty alike!”
The EAC graduate nurses are welcome in the community. The program stresses the importance of patient safety and keeps the standards high. “Our students are sought after for jobs in health care,” said McCormies. “Many have become leaders in the health care field all over the nation.”
McCormies takes part in the student activities, such as being a part of their “pinning ceremony” last week on the Payson campus. This ceremony follows Florence Nightingale who received the first pin, the Red Cross medal of St. George by Queen Victoria for her work with soldiers in the Crimean War. Nightingale presented a medal of excellence to her brightest graduates.
The significant tradition continues. Today, the student nurse receives the pin in recognition of achievement in becoming a graduate nurse. The NCLEX, the national nursing licensing exam follows.
“I am impressed with the dedication of the students who put in the work necessary to succeed. Nursing education is hard at any school and it takes a great deal of courage and strength to become a nurse,” she said.