Hannah Richards, Reporter
Residing in a non-descript building on the northern side of campus, the Nursing Department has never been much for the eyes, at least on the outside. However, on further exploration, it holds some of this university’s greatest treasures. One of the most recent treasures has come in the form of the newly hired Dean, Kimberly Sharp, RN, BSN.
Originally from Canada, and educated primarily in both Ohio and Aberdeen and Edinburgh, Scotland, it is not a stretch to call Dr. Sharp a citizen of the world. In the last twenty years of her career she has worked at and created many exciting and revolutionary programs at every educational institution she was brought to.
Dr. Sharp brings with her to MC a considerable amount of experience in the world of higher education, but also a practical eye of knowledge that came from years of practicing healthcare and healthcare programming in the UK. She and her husband met while she was working on her higher educational degree in Scotland, and continued to reside there until September of 2001 when she was offered a position at her alma mater, Cedarville University.
During her time at Cedarville as a student, she was the first woman to be working on the town’s emergency medical quad, as well as the first female member of the fire department’s medical personnel. She recalled fondly her days spent on the picturesque campus, and was excited and pleased to be invited to return as a faculty member.
Her time at Cedarville lasted from 2001 until 2007. During those six years she worked tirelessly to get the Masters of Nursing program accredited, and was successful. When the application was submitted en total, the results came back with absolutely no recommendations for change or editing, leading Dr. Sharp and her family to look for the next place they were being called to serve. The answer came from an unlikely location: California.
In 2007, California Baptist University reached out and invited her to come and achieve the same status for their nursing program. In addition, her husband was also offered an Associate Dean position at their university. During her time at CBU, Dr. Sharp was able to procure accreditation for the school as well as to rework their existing School of Nursing and incorporate many new and exciting technological advancements into their departmental offerings. She and her family only lived in California for two years, moving to Louisiana to work at Louisiana College in 2009.
She and her family stayed in Louisiana until they were contact by Mississippi College and she was offered the Dean position here.
Currently, her husband is still residing in Louisiana. Two of her sons and one of her grandchildren have remained in Scotland, while her youngest daughter resides in the states with them and is in school. Dr. Sharp has many exciting plans for the Department of Nursing here at MC.
One of her immediate goals for the institution is to streamline the course development during the two years of nursing school. Currently there is a discrepancy as to the workload per semester, and Sharp’s plan would streamline this work across all semesters, creating an even workload for students so that no semester is either heavier or lighter than another. This will also help nursing students know what to expect during their studies.
In addition, she is in the process of rolling out a new system of re-education for students who are falling behind in a course. With her new alert program, when a student scores below the desired score on their course exit exam, they will be provided with a full packet of materials that point them to exactly what they need to spend additional time learning, all provided in an e-packet delivered via Moodle. Her innovations will hopefully prepare a path for students to graduate with an even deeper knowledge of the programs and score more confidently on their NCLEX, the post-grad test for nursing students.
In addition to reworking the course load for her students, Dean Sharp is hoping to start offering courses to sophomore students that will help them both prepare for nursing school and give them a feel for the work they will be doing in the field. A CNA certification course is in the works, as well as a professional test preparation course. The CNA course would let future nursing students be licensed to provide minimal care to patients, letting them see what nursing is about, as well as provide them with a source of income for their time in college.
While talking with The Collegian, Dean Sharp expressed her desire for the department to produce students who will become nurses fully equipped for the job they step into, as well who are confident in the ministry that they have for Christ. Her job is to provide the tools for these students to make themselves as successful as possible, as well as building up the program to something stable in preparation for future changes pushing the school towards an accredited Masters degree in Nursing.
Clearly, her pedigree and past successes speak for themselves, and her success here at Mississippi College is more than guaranteed. It will be a pleasure for the school and the nursing students to watch as she transforms this non-descript building and department into an academic gem.