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Continuing Nurse Education Faculty Lyndsay Goss: A Faculty Q&A

Lyndsay Goss and the text Lyndsay Goss, Nursing and Health Professions Faculty Lead.

It makes a lot of sense that Lyndsay Goss became a member of Southern New Hampshire University's Continuing Nurse Education team. She grew up visiting her parents, who both taught at what was then New Hampshire College. She recently offered her thoughts on teaching, the importance of education and more as part of the Faculty Spotlight series.

Tell us a little bit about your professional background.

I graduated from an undergraduate program with my BS in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and BA in Psychology. During my junior year of undergrad, I became a licensed nursing assistant. It was at this time that I knew I wanted to be a nurse. I moved out of New Hampshire to Los Angeles and worked at a nonprofit for a year and then was accepted into a direct entry master’s in nursing program. When I graduated, I moved back to New Hampshire where I began working as a nurse within a community health center. My experience in nursing included community and population health, rehabilitation, gastroenterology and now nursing education. I am currently pursuing my doctorate in nursing practice as a public health nurse leader and have gone back to my roots, as I am completing my capstone project at the same community health center where I first began. 

What led you to academics, and in particular, SNHU?

I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and honestly, I think it runs in the family. Even when I wasn’t in academia I was always mentoring, precepting and training within the workforce. My story with why SNHU is interesting. Actually, the first job I ever had was working at the front desk of the Business Department at New Hampshire College on Saturday mornings.  I remember answering phones, doing some filing and stuffing envelopes. Prior to that first job experience I remember sitting in the back of my mom’s classroom while she taught accounting at New Hampshire College and visiting my dad (who taught Economics) in his office at New Hampshire College. I remember when the name change occurred to SNHU and my mom changed her license plate to WhatSNHU (like What’s new?...get it).

After I had worked in nursing for a while, I knew I wanted to begin teaching – right around that time I read an article that SNHU was going to be creating a nursing program. I instantly applied to teach as an adjunct faculty and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Once I began teaching for SNHU, I realized how much my values aligned with SNHU’s mission and vision putting the students at the center, just like nurses are always putting our patients at the center of care. I knew I wanted to do this full time and was fortunate to be hired as a full-time faculty member in January of 2017. My parents both still teach adjunct for SNHU and my brother does as well (it really does run in the family). 

What drew you to this field of study? What keeps you excited about it?

I’ve always been interested in the field of medicine and decided to become a licensed nursing assist to get a feel for working within healthcare. It was at this time that I fell in love with the nursing profession. I enjoyed the time I was able to spend with my patients and their families. Caring for them and supporting them through their healthcare experience. What keeps me excited most about nursing is that it is never stagnant. There is always something new for me to learn!

What do you find rewarding in your position as full-time faculty?

The most rewarding part of teaching for SNHU is seeing students succeed in a course and watching students graduate in May. I primarily teach community and population health. At the conclusion of the course students frequently state that they have learned so much about populations within their communities and how to better serve them.

What I find rewarding about being a full-time faculty member is being actively engaged in the nursing program as a whole. As a full-time faculty member, I’m able to participate in various projects and committees. The most rewarding project I’m involved with right now is our Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) team where I am the lead nurse planner.  The CNE team works together to develop high quality CNE activities that address gaps in the nursing profession.

Can you think of a particularly impactful or eye-opening moment as a faculty member?

It is hard to think of just one particularly impactful event as a faculty member at SNHU. I have had the opportunity to work with many amazing students and peers who inspire me to come to work everyday with fresh eyes and a positive attitude. If I had to choose one, it would be participating in an event last year titled “Leading Manchester to Recovery.” This event was a collaboration between SNHU and the Farnum Center (a local drug rehabilitation facility). It was a day long symposium that offered education to individuals who are on the front line of addressing the opiate epidemic. This was the first opportunity our CNE team had to share face-to-face educational offerings to community members outside of SNHU. This moment was impactful to me because it showed me the SNHU is truly committed to serving our community.

What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing their BSN? How can people stand out in this field?

If you are interested in pursuing your BSN you should do it! Be sure you take advantage of all the resources available from SNHU, everyone in all departments is here to help you succeed. My recommendation on how to stand out in the field of nursing is to be actively engaged in a professional nursing organization, locally or nationally. Being involved in a professional nursing organization allows you to be a part of a greater cause, network with like-minded professionals, and gain valuable real-world experiences.  

What, if anything, did you not expect from your career path?

Honesty, I didn’t expect to be working at the same university where three of my family members teach.

What do most people not understand about working in the nursing field?

First, I just want to share that nurses have been ranked the "Most Trusted Profession" in Gallup’s 2019 poll, this is the 20th year in a row.  The role of nurses on TV and movies is commonly misrepresented. Real nurses are an independent, autonomous and a high-functioning part of the medical team. Another element about working in nursing that is misunderstood are the vast opportunities within the field which exist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses work in hospitals, physician’s offices, home healthcare, nursing care facilities, out patient clinics, and serve in the military. Nurses also work at institutions of higher education as faculty, camps, insurance companies, correctional facilities, places of worship and in courts of law. Within each of these facilities there are many roles a nurse can take on.

How have you found ways to effectively connect with students online?

Being actively engaged in the classroom through discussions, announcements and feedback has been one of the most effective ways to connect with students online. I also respond to emails as quickly as possible and encourage students to reach out when there is a question or concern. Finally, I make myself available via phone or video conferencing to connect with students. I want students to know there is a real person looking at another computer screening rooting for them.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I enjoy spending time with my family (husband, 3 kids, dog and cat), reading, music and getting outdoors.

What is one (or two) books every student in the BSN program should read?

This is a great question, and I know it can be hard to read anything outside of your course material while you are in school.  I believe all nurses should read "Notes of Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not" by Florence Nightingale. Florence Nightingale is where modern nursing began and it serves us well to look back and see this history. The second book I would recommend is "Saving Lives: Why the Media’s Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk" by Sandy Summer and Harry Jacobs Summers.

Why is education important to society as well as to you personally?

Education exposes us to new ideas and it can come in unexpected places.  What I mean is, that not all your education comes from the classroom. Additionally, the education you get in a classroom may not be related to the outcomes or objectives listed on the syllabus. To me education is important because it provides us with opportunities to learn and through learning grow as a person in society.

Joe Cote is a staff writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Follow him on Twitter @JoeCo2323.

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