DeSandre believes that to truly be able to improve the health of families, it is essential to understand their beliefs about health and wellness and design treatment strategies which work within their daily lives.
I earned my Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, and my other degrees include the MSN from Emory University, an AND from Kennesaw State University, and a BA in journalism from the University of Georgia.
I currently teach graduate courses in nursing for both tracks – Nurse Educator and Family Nurse Practitioner. I’m also responsible for the Professional Transitions Sequence, which enables registered nurses with bachelor or master's degrees in other disciplines to bridge into our graduate programs.
I enjoy working with people! My doctorate research addressed human development and family studies. I believe that the way we learn about health and illness stems from our primary socialization unit – the family – so, as a healthcare provider and a nurse educator, to truly be able to improve the health of families, it is essential to understand their beliefs about health and wellness and design treatment strategies which work within their daily lives. These beliefs about healthcare were confirmed when I came to UNG and began working in the Appalachian Nurse Practitioner Clinic – a federally funded clinic which served the medically underserved residents of north Georgia.
After being in clinical practice for over 22 years, I realized that it was time for me to share my knowledge and experience with a future generation of nurses in an educational setting.
Nursing is an evidence-based discipline where protocols are designed from clinical evidence derived from research. Since healthcare is ongoing and ever changing, we must always be current and continuously identifying the newest methods for helping our patients and this involves ongoing research and sharing of evidence through professional publications and presentations.
Service is a huge component of nursing, and in the last seven years at UNG, I’ve been instrumental in designing service learning components for our clinical graduate courses. In the past two years, I collaborated with Dr. Kim Hudson-Gallogly in the development of an international service learning opportunity for students in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This opportunity will be available to students across UNG campuses for the first time this year through the Center for Global Engagement (CGE).
Since the primary focus at UNG is rural health care, it is a primary goal of our graduate program to give our students opportunities to give back to our communities through service learning. We have successfully partnered with both Head Start facilities and retirement communities as well as in the campus-based Appalachian Clinic to improve community education and wellness through our service learning projects.
In 2010 Ms. Dotty Gabrels and I developed the Professional Transitions Sequence, a two semester online bridge for registered nurses with bachelors or masters’ degrees in other studies to matriculate into graduate studies. To date, seventeen registered nurses have successfully matriculated through the transitional sequence. The first three students will graduate on May 10, 2014 with their MS in Nursing degree.
I also received one of the 2012 Faculty Scholar Awards which helped me complete my doctoral research. In 2011, I was recognized as the March of Dimes Advanced Nurse of the Year due, in part, to my work in the Appalachian Nurse Practitioner Clinic. Other highlights include serving on UNG committees such as the Environmental Safety Task Force and the Strategic Planning Steering Committee.
I hope that they will always remember that they are humans trying to serve families in a dynamic healthcare environment, and through human connections, they have the ability to change lives. I want them to feel empowered to reach their educational goals, try new experiences in diverse clinical settings, and go beyond their “comfort-zones” to develop into whole individuals. I want them to also remember that education is fun, innovative and life-long!
My favorite quote that I share with friends, family, colleagues, and students is:
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” Isaac Newton
I have been fortunate to have many giants in both my nursing and academic careers, and I try to remember to tell them every chance I get. I hope someday that the nurses I educate today will go out into the world and be somebody’s giant, to help them see further – in my opinion it is the greatest gift you can give someone.