Though Assistant Professor of Nursing Andrea Frederick has been a full-time employee of SVSU for only a few years, her connection to the university started almost 20 years ago when in 1996 she obtained her Master of Science in Nursing. Subsequent to that experience, she served on the College of Health & Human Services’ Nursing Advisory Board, helped organize clinical experiences at Midland’s MidMichigan Medical Center (where she worked for 34 years) and served as an adjunct faculty member at SVSU. Andrea retired from MidMichigan Medical on June 30, 2010, and joined SVSU on July 1, 2010. She became acting assistant dean for the college on July 1, 2012, and served in that role until June 30, 2014. Having completed her doctorate in health administration, Andrea is excited about returning to the classroom for the 2014–2015 academic year.
You spent almost four decades in nursing before joining SVSU. What is your background?
I started my career with MidMichigan Medical Center as a staff nurse and then progressed into various leadership roles,culminating as the director of inpatient care, quality and infection control.
Tell us about your doctorate.
I’ve successfully defended my dissertation [sighs, smiles]. I am very interested in the impact that healthcare executives involved in the operating room environment have on staff perception of teamwork and safety. The operating room is a high risk, problem-prone environment because of its complex setting. Historically, executives don’t often venture in the O.R. but the value is that when they do, they can empower staff to speak up and share ideas. It also helps the executive make resource allocation decisions when they better understand the setting. The research indicates that it’s definitely worth the time for executives to be engaged in the O.R.
You seem to have reinvented yourself and your career at SVSU.
Yes, but not only reinvented. I’ve rediscovered my passion for teaching. There is true joy for me in teaching. Teaching has been for me an opportunity to emphasize the quality and safety agenda that is so important to me. It’s a privilege to be with our nursing students and to have an impact on how they will practice. My job is to help them to make meaning of what they see and find out in what nursing area they belong. There are so many options to explore, and I can help students talk through things, tease out options and look at the possibilities.
You have just left your role as acting assistant dean to return to the classroom. A tough or easy decision?
Honestly, both. When Dean [Judy] Ruland started here in 2011, I was tasked with introducing her to healthcare partners in the region. I was immediately attracted to her enthusiasm and creativity and when she asked me to become acting assistant dean, I was all onboard. As acting assistant dean, I still had opportunities to interact with students, but on a different level; it was more in an advising and problem-solving role. The downside of the administrative role is that is does limit your time in the classroom and that’s where I feel I can make my greatest impact. Judy has been very supportive of my return to the classroom.
OK, the recruitment question: Why should prospective students choose to study nursing at SVSU over other universities?
It’s the whole package. For starters, the facilities are excellent, especially the lab and simulations. Every week and at every level, simulation occurs. This allows our students to develop competencies and confidence in taking care of patients before they are in an actual clinical setting. Much of the learning is also interdisciplinary, which is so critical to a highly functional healthcare setting. Our nursing, kinesiology and social work students work together. And our faculty are amazing. They’re very well versed in both theory and practice and care deeply about our students.