Before the School of Nursing Dean, Dr. Shu-Li Chen, made her way to South College, she practiced nursing in Taipei, Taiwan at Veterans General Hospital, primarily working with AIDS patients and on the general medical surgical floor.
After completing her Ph.D. at the University of Utah College of Nursing, Chen came to Tennessee and taught at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville and Lincoln Memorial University before she joined the South College School of Nursing.
She said what attracted her to South College the most was an atmosphere that allowed for teachers to not only instruct, but also to mentor and to inspire students.
When Chen first joined South College in 2012 she taught the nursing research class, but now holds a mainly administrative role as the Dean of the School of Nursing. Her administrative role has allowed her to learn about what is unique about South College from the students’ perspectives by analyzing student satisfaction surveys each year. According to Chen, the top thing students write about in the surveys are the faculty.
“They always say how committed the faculty were and how they were there for them,” she said. “I think that is very unique.”
Chen stated students also talk about how they love the small class sizes and that they form great friendships because they spend a lot of time together in class, studying, and carpooling to their clinical rotations. The close-knit groups also form the perfect environment to prepare students for a real-world career in nursing.
“Nurses function in a team environment,” she said. “What students learn from their nursing studies helps them develop leadership skills so they can not just say “I know how”, but can also demonstrate by their actions.
Chen said her favorite part about being at South College is watching her students grow and develop through their college journey.
“I always tell students that undergraduate education transforms an individual from a learner to a professional,” she said. “They come in as nursing students and graduate as nursing professionals.”
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