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HSU's Landrum builds career by helping others prepare for theirs

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Barbara Landrum believes variety is not only the spice of life, but the sum and substance of life itself.

Landrum, associate professor of nursing at Henderson State University, had options early on — fighter pilot and international banker among them — but chose to pursue a career in nursing. Her first job was generalist nurse in a small rural hospital and she considers that experience an essential proving ground.

“My early experience as a generalist nurse gave me the opportunity to obtain experiences in medical, surgical, emergency, ICU, obstetrics and emergency transport,” she said. “I spent my first three years in this type of work and moved up to charge nurse and infection control/disaster coordinator.”

After earning her certification in epidemiology, she split time working in an urban cardiovascular recovery unit and obtaining her master’s degree in executive nursing administration. She then took a job as evening house administrator at a 1,000-bed urban hospital.

Her first teaching job, in a diploma program in the same hospital, was a natural fit. Teaching gigs followed in colleges and universities from Montana to Texas. Then in 2006, she joined Henderson State University, chairing the nursing department.

“I enjoy teaching because I love helping students to think and see the world differently,” she said. “There is no such thing as a ‘hard’ subject. It is all in how it is taught.”

Landrum believes so strongly in academics as an underpinning of excellent nursing that she recently stepped down as chair to focus on teaching Henderson’s high-quality nursing students.

“I believe in teaching for mastery and believe that every nurse who graduates should have mastery of core concepts and skills,” she said, adding that the most satisfying thing about her job is “having students come back a year or more after taking my class and saying, ‘because of your class, I understand what is going on at work and feel very well-prepared."

Nursing Notes

“Keep your work life and personal life balanced. Get enough rest, play and make sure you have good vacations. I am lucky because I have relatives all around different places in the world that I can go on vacation. I try to have at least one long vacation each year when I get away totally and relax and enjoy myself.”

Helen McLennon, RN
Arkansas Children’s Hospital 
Years in Nursing: 41

 

Helen McLennon, RN
 
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