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“I want my students to not only be competent, skilled nurses but understand that nursing is all about heart too. It’s not just science, it’s an art."
Proudly displayed on the wall of her office is a plaque that reads “Nursing is a Work of Heart.” Given to her by former students, it is a motto that nursing professor Tina Zimmerman strongly believes and incorporates into her teaching. “I want my students to not only be competent, skilled nurses but understand that nursing is all about heart too. It’s not just science, it’s an art. Patients will remember them— they will have an impact on a patient’s life” says Tina.
Teaching in Harford’s nursing simulation lab is a perfect example of where science and heart come together. As a member of the sim team, Tina knows the science and the technology behind where and how her students train. She achieved a Simulation Educator Leader level 2 certification from the Maryland Clinical Simulation Resource Consortium and works with her colleagues to keep curriculum current. But while she understands the importance of providing a safe, realistic training environment, she also stresses that the simulations themselves aren’t as important as dissecting the results and analyzing and understanding what transpired. “Mistakes are going to be made, but as long as the students are putting the pieces together and getting the bigger picture—that is the goal.” Former students continue to thank Tina for the patience (the heart) and expertise (the science) that she exhibited during sim lab trainings, noting how they have taken those lessons and applied them in their own careers.
Tina’s dedication to nursing is evident. This former NISOD recipient has held multiple leadership positions and served on committees at both the College and in professional associations. As Nursing Student Affairs committee chair, Tina was instrumental in the nursing program’s last re-accreditation process. She created the first chapter of Alpha Delta Nu, Harford’s Nursing Honor Society, and she currently serves as vice president of the Nursing Foundation of Maryland. Tina regularly attends professional conferences and most recently received recognition for her poster presentation to the Maryland Nurses Association Board on the work she and her students completed on AIDS awareness and prevention in Narva, Estonia.
During her 29 years of service to Harford Community College and 40 plus years as a nurse, Tina has not once regretted her decision to become a nurse educator. She continues to be inspired by her students, to engage with partners such as University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, the Town of Bel Air and its sister city in Estonia, and to stress to her students the importance of being “good global citizens.”
The reach of Tina’s influence is apparent. As she walks through the hospitals observing current students completing their clinicals, former students now working as nurses often stop her to offer kind words and memories of their time in her classroom. They learned from her, and now share the same dedication, caring and heart with others.
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