Martha Dudley RN, MSN
Assistant Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing
"Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants." - Deuteronomy 32:2 NIV
Assistant Professor Martha Dudley grew up the youngest of five children in a small town in northeastern Ohio although now, after having lived Texas for nearly 20 years, she claims Texas as her true home. Her path to teaching and nursing was somewhat different than most as Dudley is the mother of four children, and it was not until the youngest child went off to school that she had the opportunity to go back to school herself. At the age of 40, Dudley began her college career at ETBU in the Nursing program. She graduated in 2002 as a registered nurse and started her professional nursing career in Longview as a cardiac nurse. "Being a nurse is the most rewarding job that I can imagine," reflects Dudley. She goes on to say, "I not only cared for my patients, but I learned very quickly that teaching people about their health was just as important as treating their health. And the more I taught people, the more they taught me. My patients taught me that caring for any individual, regardless of sickness or health requires a holistic approach to the mind, spirit, and body connection. Whether it is praying with a patient before surgery, or holding the hand of the patient or family member during times of loss, nursing care is more than treating a disorder." For Dudley, nursing is "all about being able to give a part of yourself to a complete stranger -- a part of you that, for whatever reason, this person needs during their time of illness. And, the more you give the richer you become." Today, Martha Dudley teaches future nurses in the ETBU nursing program and calls it "her honor" to be given the task of helping students learn to be great nurses.
What makes a student successful in your classes?
Nursing courses are hard, so students have to study intensely to pass the program; but, what makes a student successful isn’t about learning what is inside a book. Being a nurse isn’t about getting an A or a B -- it is about how you apply the information that you have learned to an actual patient. Success in my class occurs when the student finally has faith in his or her own capabilities. My role is to teach them about patient disorders, lead them to opportunities, and then stand back and be the support that they need. Then finally, I help them to understand how to put it all together with God's direction.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from your ETBU students?
Passion. I love what I do because the students inspire and challenge me.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from your ETBU colleagues?
Throughout my career at ETBU I have worked with some of the strongest Christian influences that I have ever known. They have shown me how they walk with the Lord every day in all aspects of their life, and I admire them. The most valuable lesson that I have learned is that God’s plan is perfect. Even when we think things are wrong or we are having difficult times, it is still His plan. Working through those times is the lesson that teaches us how to keep Christ in the forefront of our daily life -- a lesson that I am still learning.
How do you promote Christian Scholarship in your classroom?
As a nurse we learn that you must first know and understand yourself in order to meet your patient’s needs. We practice self-reflection to identify who we are and what we believe. We also look at different cultures to see similarities and differences to identify best practices and how to provide a holistic approach to nursing care (body, mind, spirit). Finally, we discuss the importance of understanding that being a nurse is about caring for patients during some of the most critical and stressful times in his or her life. It is about being able to be strong for them when they are sick, tired, confused, or depressed. If the patient experiences devastation or hopelessness, we talk about ways we can help them through those times.
Master of Science in Nursing (2008), Walden University
BS in Nursing (2002), East Texas Baptist University
American Nurses Association
Sigma Theta Tau
Image Credit: Ryan Perry (2013), ETBU Public Relations