Caring for people
Associate Professor of Nursing Sandy Blair has a heart for ministering to patients
“I’ve always loved being able to help people and to feel like I’m doing
something for someone else in a time of need,” she says.
Following a 26-year nursing career in hospitals and public health, Blair felt
led to share her experiences as a nursing professor. This marks her 14th year with
The school’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is known for its tough curriculum
and dedicated faculty, who support and encourage students each step of the way.
“Nursing is a very hard curriculum,” says Blair.
“You have to put a lot of time and effort into it, especially the last two years,
though preparation really begins before that in the first two years of college.”
She says high school is a good place to start developing good study habits, time
management and organizational skills.
“It’s very critical for a student to get a broad base of different types of studies.
The diversity will help you in your career in ways that you can’t imagine.”
Students transferring from other institutions can complete their BSN degree at
LaGrange, as well.
“We love to see registered nurses coming back to school to get their BSN,” she
says. “Transfer students meet directly with the chair of our department, and she
helps them develop a plan based on the classes they’ve taken previously.”
This year, LaGrange welcomes the largest nursing class since the school began
offering the BSN degree.
“I think our nursing program is special because we have very committed faculty
members, each with various interests, expertise and backgrounds.
“The students know that we are accessible. They can come in and talk with us about
study habits and how to prepare for upcoming exams.
“We spend a lot of one-on-one time with them,” she says.
The school recently received a new patient simulator, which is used in the nursing
department’s clinical laboratory. A computer interface enables faculty members
to program the equipment—which looks and responds like a human being—with real-life
medical scenarios. It can simulate everything from cardiac arrest to broken bones.
“If activated by the instructor, the computer can be set to have the simulator
moan and groan, eyes blink, pulses course through the veins, along with many other
detailed features,” she says. “The simulator also can be implemented as part of
the students’ clinical experience and hours needed for some of our medical- surgical
Blair believes the technology has significantly enhanced the classroom experience
“The simulator is helping them learn to think on their feet and is providing opportunities
they necessarily wouldn’t get in the hospital setting.”
Though excited about the new equipment, Blair says she doesn’t let students forget
that “they are caring for people, and compassion and empathy are an important part
of being a nurse.”