Thursday, September 01, 2011

When you walk through the door of the Simulation Center for the School of Nursing and Allied Health Administration, you feel like you’ve stepped off of a college campus and into an interactive clinical setting. The initiative to develop this lab, which currently has four human patient simulators and a new childbirth simulator, was headed by Connie Moore, Associate Professor/Senior of Nursing. This new teaching and learning strategy is now incorporated into all nursing courses, and is fundamental in preparing Fairmont State University’s nursing students for real-world work.

To the right of the high-tech simulated patients and hospital scenarios, you will find Connie’s small, unassuming office. Upon entering you immediately see her grandchildren, proudly displayed as a screensaver on her computer, and a collection of items given to her by co-workers and students. This warm space speaks volumes about Connie and her ability to connect with those around her on a personal and meaningful level. It is this desire to connect and interact that has fueled her dream of becoming the best nurse educator that she can possibly be – it is also the reason she has affected the lives of so many patients, students, and co-workers during her nursing career.

Since her childhood days in St. Mary’s, watching Howdy Doody and playing dress up, Connie Moore had her sights set on becoming a nurse. In fact, if asked, she will tell you she can’t remember a time when she wanted anything else. As she grew up, she went from wearing her childhood nurse’s costume to being a member of the Future Nurse’s Association in high school. Her desire to help others proved to be a catalyst throughout her life.

Offered a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland after high school, Connie instead chose to attend West Virginia University to pursue her nursing degree. She explained, "That was right around the time I met my future husband, and he was attending WVU. So, I decided to go to WVU. But, I don’t regret it. I think it was the best decision I could have made." In the years following that decision, Connie went on to work in a clinical setting and began teaching in a nursing diploma program in Columbus, Ohio. Her career at FSU began in 1982, and she has been enriching the lives of students and colleagues ever since.

"Nursing has changed so much since I started. There is a lot technology involved today, and that wasn’t always the case. Nurses today have much more responsibility as far as the knowledge required to do the job. That is the biggest challenge for me- finding a way to help students internalize all of the information that they are required to have to work as a nurse," Connie shared.

She went on to say that while she loved working hands-on in a clinical setting, she chose to teach because she felt she could reach more people by training others than she could on her own. She pointed out that when she was working in the hospital, she could reach three or four patients at a time, but with her students in the hospital, that number grew exponentially. She said that she just wanted to be able to do the most good for the most people. That statement, all by itself, sums up Connie Moore as a person.

After 29 years, Connie is still happy to be part of FSU. "We do a lot for the students here, and for the faculty as well. When I see some of the problems that other institutions are having, I am always happy to be a part of Fairmont State," she said.

What advice does Connie offer to new nurses or aspiring nurses? "First of all, I would tell them to believe in themselves. Second, to always to do your best to make a difference in your patients’ lives. Realize that you are not going to cure everyone. A nurse cannot always make a patient live longer, but the important thing is to add quality to the amount of time that person has left."

Now in phased retirement, Connie spends less time in the classrooms of FSU, but that doesn’t stop her from making a difference. The need to help others that she has fostered since she was a little girl is still present, and our community is better for it.

About this story: This story, written by Nita Coleman '10, was featured in the Summer 2011 edition of maroon & white. Click here to view this edition. To request a paper copy contact Beth Martin at (304) 367-4009.