by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
Meet Susan Barnes, RN, PhD, an associate professor of nursing and coordinator of the Masters of Science with a major in Nursing Education program at Southern Nazarene University’s School of Nursing.
Susan grew up in Ponca City, OK. She went to school at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, OK, UT in Arlington, Texas, and UT Science and Health Center in San Antonio, Texas.
What a remarkable woman! Susan has been a nurse for 44 years. She entered as a faculty member 20 years ago. She has been at SNU since January 2018.
Asking Susan what she wanted to be when she grew up, she answered, “A Veterinarian. My father wanted to me to become a nurse so I could make a contribution to humans. So, I set out to be a nurse. I didn’t realize at the time how much contact a Veterinarian has with people,” she said with a laugh. “I could have been a Vet,” she added.
In the last several years, Susan has had quite a few accomplishments. Susan Barnes is one of the 100 BEST NURSES IN OKLAHOMA. Outstanding! She was the founding Dean of St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, OK. (St. Gregory’s University was one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in Oklahoma.) She enjoyed being the Chair of Transformational and Global Learning at UCO. She enjoys doing the International studies with students in Africa, (she has been to Africa 5 times) soon to be developing a program here. She was also the matron of a wedding ceremony in Africa (she gave a speech, blessed the couple and was given the first piece of cake) All in all, these are just a few of this amazing woman’s accomplishments.
Susan has a bit of a ‘sidekick’ that stays close by her all the time. A cute, little dog named Tilly. Tilly is a therapy dog and has been for 8 years. Tilly was the first dog embedded in a nursing school in the Oklahoma region. Right now, there is another dog coming into the picture, named Snooky. Snooky is presently a dog-in-training. So far, both dogs are doing well and enjoy SNU.
I asked Susan to describe herself. With a solid and quick answer, she said. “I am willing to take risks for the profession. I love my students, enjoy people and enjoy developing programs.”
What qualities make a good nurse? “A nurse needs to be highly skilled, intuitive and tenacious,” she replied.
Asking Susan what her biggest asset is, she replied. “Oh, it has to be flexibility. I didn’t have much flexibility at the beginning but I have developed quite a bit of flexibility over the 40 years of nursing,” she said with a laugh.
What makes a good instructor? “The best thing an instructor can do is listen to their students. We expect them to learn from us but likewise, we learn a lot from them,” she replied.
Susan enjoys spending time with her husband of 45 years, her 4 children and her 8 grandchildren. Her grandchildren range from age 1-month to 16 years old. She also has 2 gentle and sweet horses, which she enjoys riding on the backroads of Oklahoma.
Susan lives by these words: James 1: 2-4 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
What is one word to describe your personality? “Ornery… Everyone will know it’s me,” she laughed.
I asked Susan if there were any funny incidents about being a nurse that she would like to share. “There were quite a few funny moments while I was in Africa but, what happens in Africa, stays in Africa,” she replied. “There is one I can mention. When we went to Honduras, one of the students got the GI bug (Gastrointestinal) A.K.A. Diarrhea! We knew that she wouldn’t be able to get on the plane if they knew about it, so, we wrapped her ankle, said she has sprained it and we got on the plane right away. Everything worked out fine in the END.”