Dr. Shelly Daily, who took office as head of the Arkansas Tech University Department of Nursing on July 1, views a student-centered approach as a key to success for her and her colleagues.
"The faculty have a passion for teaching," said Daily. "They challenge their students, encourage them along the way and celebrate their accomplishments. The program size has been maintained to allow a personal approach within the classroom and the clinical setting to assure a quality education. Our department is a very cohesive family that has benefited from a stable core of faculty for many years."
Daily is succeeding Dr. Rebecca Burris, who retired from ATU as professor of nursing and head of the ATU Department of Nursing on June 30.
"With recent retirements, including department head of 20 years Rebecca Burris, we feel confident that we will continue to build on tradition and embrace our new faculty into the family," said Daily.
Daily earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at ATU. She completed a Master of Nursing Science degree at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the University of South Alabama.
"I was always drawn to the medical field," said Daily. "I chose nursing because I thought it allowed for a balance between work and family. Education is a big portion of nursing. Nurses teach their patients about their illness, treatments, medications and preventative measures every day. Marrying into a family of educators and teaching childbirth classes also influenced my decision. To bridge the transition to academia, I sought certification as a nurse educator and completed a sub-specialty as part of my doctoral work."
Daily has served on the ATU faculty since 2000. Over the past two decades, she has been an active participant as technology has reshaped her profession.
"The RN-to-BSN and master programs have transitioned to completely online," said Daily. "The use of mid-to-high fidelity simulation within the BSN program has become invaluable. The technology allows our students to stay current with the ever-changing field of nursing while also being able to practice complex skills within a safe lab environment."
Change, and the flexibility to respond to it, are paramount in the environment Daily encounters as she takes on her new leadership position.
"The ATU Department of Nursing has always emphasized evidence-based practice," said Daily. "Today, more than ever, this is imperative as our faculty and students learn to navigate the field of nursing during a global pandemic. We must ensure our students gain the needed knowledge for practice, while considering safety, and ensure they have the tools to adapt to an ever-changing health care field. As a nurse I have always sought to guide, support and advocate for my patients. This servant leadership holds true as I take on the department head role. Now I will do the same for my faculty, staff and students during unprecedented times."
Visit www.atu.edu/nursing to learn more about the ATU Department of Nursing.