Five Questions with Dr. V. Ruth Corey
Trevecca’s new nursing program director has an extensive list of credentials, including similar leadership roles at other universities; experience as a registered nurse, a nursing research scientist and a professor in nursing; and most recently as founder of a business that offers training curriculum and professional development for nurses.
What does a successful nursing program look like?
For me, a successful program is about more than statistics like licensure exam pass rates, retention rates and job acquisitions. It’s about creating strong individuals who can confidently provide quality patient care while also caring for themselves and their families, so they can persevere and go the distance. My goal is simple: give each nursing student the tools they need to not only become a good nurse, but one who is happy, confident and comfortable under any circumstances.
How is the nursing profession changing, and how is higher education adjusting to that change?
During COVID-19, nursing was often the center of attention, especially when the unknowns of the disease were raging. I often saw nurses depicted in isolation suits that rivaled space suits. For good or bad, that symbolism of our harsh realities gave the profession new meaning. It's no longer just a calling or a career—it's an acknowledged necessity. And due to nursing shortages, the need for nurses has never been higher. Some in academia have realized the seriousness of the problem. Universities like Trevecca have taken on the challenge, and are determined to bridge the gap and resolve a dilemma communities have come to recognize: We need more nurses!
What is the most beneficial trait for a nurse?
A heart that cares. It's really the best quality a nurse can possess, whether they’re in training or have worked in the profession for years.
What’s one of the most memorable moments in your career as a nurse, administrator or instructor?
A former student approached me one day while I was waiting for a hospital elevator to open. She tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Dr. Corey, I am sure you don’t remember me, but back when I first started nursing school, you saved my life!”
She explained that on her first day of nursing school, her required background check came back saying she had a criminal record, which would have meant automatic expulsion from the program. When she told me that was a mistake, and that this was not her true history but a clerical error, we repeated the background check and it came back clean.
“If you hadn’t believed me, I don’t know what I would have done,” she said. “You saved my life that day. And today I was promoted to the manager of my ICU unit. Thank you, Dr. Corey.”
Needless to say, I always cry a little when I think of that young woman. I believe God was in my decision to dig deeper and let her retake the background check. He gets the glory and I am so happy I got to be a part of that amazing experience.
What are the career prospects and long-term potential for students who choose nursing?
The expression “the sky's the limit” fits nursing today. No matter what level of education a nurse obtains, there are always great possibilities to move upward and onward. Nursing is one of the most versatile, sustainable and productive fields of service in this country and around the world. The growth of the profession and the serious need for it ensures a lifelong career filled with endless possibilities and hope.