NMJC Names New Nursing Director
6/28/2009 11:44:37 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. Delores Thompson, Professor of Nursing at New Mexico Junior College, was recently named the new Director of Allied Health. Former director Karen Cummings, who had served as the head of the Allied Health program for approximately nine years, is now working to develop an online licensed practical nurse degree for the college.
According to President Steve McCleery, Thompson’s education, experience and reputation contributed to her being hired as the program’s new director. “I’ve watched her career as a nurse, nurse practitioner, and professor of nursing at NMJC,” he said, “and her degrees and advanced degrees made her appealing as a director. Her reputation with the students is great—they truly respect her. She also has a great reputation with the allied health community in Lea County. Plus, she has the skillsets and the reputation to lead and work with the nursing faculty and the students to provide a very successful nursing program for NMJC.”
Thompson, who says she is “very excited about the possibilities,” will be not only be responsible for overseeing NMJC’s nursing, licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, and certified nursing assistant programs, but also will make sure nursing students meet prerequisites for the nursing program. “I’m excited about coordinating the activities of the program,” she said. “It’s a wonderful thing to see students move through the program and become professionals. It’s an enriching and satisfying experience to watch that transformation happen. There’s nothing quite like it.”
Thompson’s desire to pursue nursing as a career began in her childhood, she said. “When I was young, I read a book about Clara Barton, who started the American Red Cross, and something in that book struck a chord,” she said. “I never forgot it. Later, it just seemed natural for me to go into nursing. It’s always made me feel good to help people. I also grew up in a Christian home where that was an important value.”
Another influence was former Tatum school nurse Vi Jones, who inspired her to become a nurse, Thompson said. Thompson attended schools in Tatum until the eighth grade.
Even classmates throughout her school years saw Thompson as a nurse and caregiver. “The class prediction was that I’d someday be the head nurse at Houston Medical Center,” she said with a laugh.
At age 17, Thompson started work as a nurse’s aide, but it wasn’t until she began working as a paramedic in Abilene that she realized she wanted to play a greater role in patients’ care. “In doing that, I saw only a little snapshot of the patient and his or her illness, and that prompted me to want more knowledge to be able to provide more of their care than a paramedic might be able to do.”
Thompson’s education includes a Registered Nursing degree from the Abilene Intercollegiate School of Nursing in 1989, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of New Mexico in 1995, and a master’s degree in nursing and family nurse practitioner certification from Texas Tech University in 2000.
Thompson has worked as a Patient Care Technician in the emergency room in Abilene, an Emergency Room Nurse in Houston, Lubbock, and Hobbs, and a House Supervisor and Preceptor for NMJC nursing students at Lea Regional Medical Center. Besides working as a professor of nursing at NMJC, she has served as a Nurse Practitioner in clinics in Brownwood and Comanche and was the first Nurse Practitioner at the Eunice Clinic. She was also the Preceptor for NMJC nursing students there. At the time of her appointment, Thompson was the Nurse Practitioner in the NMJC Student Health Clinic and the Coordinator for the [sophomore nursing] Students and Curriculum.
As the new director of the NMJC Allied Health program, Thompson says her goals are simple: she wants to achieve and maintain a high pass rate for the registered nurse exam and to retain the nursing faculty.
She also would like for students to be satisfied with the learning environment in the NMJC nursing program. “There’s a shortage of nurses nationally and locally,” Thompson said. “Our program helps to address the shortage in the county, and we sincerely want to meet the needs of employers countywide. Most importantly, I want the nursing program at the junior college to have both students and faculty of great integrity who have a high degree of responsibility in the community.”