The College of Nursing recognizes excellence in our nursing graduates by awarding Outstanding Nurse Alumnus awards. Get to know our 2020 alumni award winners and what makes them stand out!
Outstanding Nurse Alumna Award
Amelia Joseph, PhD, RN
What has been the proudest/ most memorable moment over your 40-year nursing career?
Without a doubt, it was September 30, 2016. That was the day the SC Board of Nursing gave provisional approval for The Citadel to open their BSN program.
Why is it important in nursing for a primarily male-dominated College, like The Citadel, to offer a BSN program?
The Citadel offering this program has to be one of the most unexpected events that has happened in my life. I received my MBA at The Citadel when it was still a males-only school so starting a nursing program was a huge surprise. The Provost at the time, Dr. Connie Book, said that she hoped it would bring more women to The Citadel and I responded, respectfully, “Oh no ma’am, it will put more men in nursing” and that is exactly what happened. Every single class that we have had in the Corps of Cadets has substantially more men than women. It will be my legacy, increasing the number of male nurses.
Do you have any advice for nurses currently working on the frontlines who are feeling defeated and exhausted?
Many years ago, I was admitting my mom to Trident Hospital at 11:30 at night, and as we were riding up in the elevator, a young nurse got on, clearly on her way to work with her head hanging down and looking completely exhausted. And I said to her, “another chance to save a life,” and she immediately perked up. One of the things that I learned in the Amy V. Cockcroft Program is that sometimes you have to reframe your reality. Nurses have an opportunity every single day to influence people’s lives. We are there at birth, and we are the people who close the eyes at death. What a great honor that is.
Outstanding Young Nurse Alumnus Award
Justin Chavis, MSN, APRN, CRNA
Why was being a student leader so valuable to you while receiving your BSN?
The value of serving as a student leader boosted my sense of accountability and communication skills while becoming a BSN prepared nurse. Promptly fulfilling deadlines and leadership duties developed my ability to prioritize nursing tasks throughout my clinical rotations and into my nursing career. As nurses, we encounter a variety of patients and family members that rely on us to care for them, mostly through our communication styles effectively. I was exposed to difficult, empowering, and humbling conversations as a student leader that allowed me to communicate through empathic and compassionate lenses as an advanced practice registered nurse. The underpinning of my nursing practice today reflects the valuable experiences that I cherish from my student leadership opportunities while receiving my BSN.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in nursing?
While contemplating what career to research for a high school career project, my mother suggested the nursing profession. I felt that my personal values aligned with those of the nursing profession as I was researching how nurses impact others. Furthermore, I was attracted to the job stability projections and diverse professional advancement options within nursing. Fast-forwarding to each passing year at the College of Nursing, my viewpoint of nursing as a career turned into my perception of how I identify myself– I am a nurse. After graduating with my BSN, I now identify as a Gamecock nurse.
What do you hope to accomplish throughout your career in nursing?
My nursing background began in neonatal and pediatric critical care. Currently, I provide anesthesia care to pediatric and adult patients since earning my master’s degree in nurse anesthesia last year. A short-term professional goal of mine is to serve on the New Hampshire Association of Nurse Anesthesiology or American Association of Nurse Anesthetists board and/or committees. Once I develop a deeper level of competence as an advanced practice registered nurse, I wish to earn my doctoral degree in nursing as a commitment to advance quality patient care continually. In the long-term, I hope to give back to my profession by serving as a faculty member and educating future nursing professionals. I intend to continue enjoying the journey while accomplishing these goals.