By Elinor Keck, student news writer, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky – Dr. Michele Dickens, dean of the School of Nursing and professor of nursing at Campbellsville University, was recently inducted into the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN) Academy for Associate Degree Nursing.
The Academy for Associate Degree Nursing (AADN) exists to “recognize contributions to health and health care through the advancement of Associate Degree Nursing. The AADN honors those who have demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to Associate Degree Nursing education through exemplary leadership in nursing education, research and practice.”
According to the AADN, “Dickens is passionate about working with Associate Degree Nursing Students (ADN) nursing students, encouraging their voice within the school, and preparing them to become leaders within the profession.”
“I was humbled, blessed and excited because, even though one person gets the nomination, it’s really a whole group of people that get together to support this School of Nursing. It’s not one person,” Dickens said.
After a nomination process, eight recipients are chosen and inducted as fellows, honored at an awards luncheon and receive a plaque. The awards luncheon was held in November during a three-day conference in New Orleans, focused on associate degree programs.
“It was a great meal and great fellowship with colleagues,” Dickens said. “It was just a wonderful professional experience. It was a time to come together, exchange ideas, engage with others who are fellows and collaborate on ideas that affect schools of nursing and the profession.”
Dickens said she became a nurse out of her love of helping people and seeing them meet their health goals. She has been serving in Campbellsville since eighth grade when she was a “neighbor,” or volunteer, at Metzmeier Nursing Home in Campbellsville. From there, she became a candy striper at Taylor Regional Hospital.
She is a 1984 graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, where she received her Associate of Nursing and a 1997 graduate of the University of Kentucky, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She is a 2010 graduate of Walden University, receiving her Master of Science in Nursing. She also received her Doctor of Philosophy in Education with a Specialization in Nursing Education in 2016 from Capella University, graduating with distinction.
Dickens has worked in a variety of hospitals and clinics, including 25 years at Taylor Regional Hospital.
Dickens has been a faculty member at Campbellsville University since 2008, and she has served as dean of the School of Nursing since 2019. According to the AADN, since working at the university, Dickens has grown the School of Nursing while providing technology and resources for innovative teaching and student learning. During the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, Dickens led the School of Nursing online, allowing students to stay on track for graduation, according to the AADN.
Dickens said her favorite quote is from Florence Nightingale: “Let us never consider ourselves finished nurses….we must be learning all of our lives.”
Nightingale was a British nurse who served in the Crimean War. The Nightingale Pledge, which nursing students recite before beginning their careers as nurses, is named after her.
“Education excites me,” Dickens said. “If you have an education, you have everything. You just have to decide what you want to do with it.”
The core values at the Campbellsville University School of Nursing are caring, compassion and competency. Dickens attributes the caliber of their nursing graduates to the faculty and staff who mold their students with a standard of excellence.
“I’ve been blessed, and God has led my path, supported by amazing people all around me,” Dickens said. “Again, it’s not my path. It’s God’s path…I’ve been very blessed.”
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that offers over 100 programs including doctoral, master, bachelor, associate and certificate programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.