Nurses are known for being caring, capable, knowledgeable and selfless, and Professor Amanda Brooks is a great example of all these traits.
The nursing program lead at LFCC’s Fauquier Campus, Brooks makes room in her busy schedule to volunteer several times a month at the Fauquier Free Clinic as a nurse practitioner.
Brooks, who is in her seventh year of teaching at LFCC, was teaching nursing at Northern Virginia Community College when she took her students to a free clinic in Leesburg for some of their clinical rotations.
“While I was there with the students, I just fell in love with the free clinic,” she says. “It’s a place that really puts things into perspective, and makes you thankful for what you have. It feels great to be able to make a difference for somebody, even if it’s something as simple as refilling their blood pressure medication after they haven’t been on it for six months because they can’t afford to pay for it.”
Plus, at a free clinic, Brooks is able to spend much longer with each patient, a big difference when compared to the 15 minutes she was allotted while she was in private practice.
“You’re able to do nursing like we all imagine we’re supposed to do nursing when we go to nursing school,” she says. “I love it. I feel like I make a difference and it helps keep me grounded. And, it reminds me what’s important when I’m teaching students how to be nurses.”
Before becoming a nursing professor, Brooks worked in private practice – which she enjoyed – for about 14 years. Working as a preceptor, helping nurse practitioner students learn in a clinical setting, Brooks found she was learning from those she was mentoring and enjoyed the teaching aspect as well.
“You’re sharing your passion with other people who have that same passion, and sending them out to provide care and be a nurse,” she says.
One of those students Brooks shared her nursing passion with was Christine Palmore, who graduated from LFCC’s RN program in 2014.
“Dr. Brooks was such a kind and supportive teacher,” Palmore says. “She was in tune with the rigor of nursing school, and was always willing to listen and help her students. And, Dr. Brooks modeled good nursing qualities – professionalism, empathy, selflessness. She let us know it was important to her to volunteer.
“It was through Dr. Brooks that I learned about the Fauquier Free Clinic. My class had our first clinical experience there, and since then, I have both worked at and volunteered at the clinic.”
LFCC is a great option for nursing school, says Brooks. In the past year, the registered nursing program was granted accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). It had always been state-accredited, but the national accreditation is a big selling point.
“ACEN accreditation is huge for us,” Brooks says. “By 2020, it will be mandatory for nursing programs in Virginia to be nationally accredited.”
Some employers require national accreditation, as do some nursing programs that confer bachelor’s degrees.
“There are so many benefits of coming to LFCC,” Brooks says.
Besides becoming an RN in just two years, the college is much cheaper than four-year universities, she notes.
“Plus, we have a real mix of students – some younger, some older, some embarking on a second career, some coming back to school after their children leave home,” Brooks says. “LFCC offers a lot of students the opportunity to go to school who wouldn’t be able to do so if they had only a four-year school as a choice.”
Palmore also wholeheartedly recommends the program.
“It prepared me well to pass the nursing board exam and for the challenges I would find in the workplace,” she says. “I also believe the associate degree in nursing (AND) program is a great pathway because it allows flexibility. It was great having a quality program right down the road I could attend while still being there for my family. I’ve since earned my bachelor’s degree in nursing online, as many ADN graduates do.”