Faculty Profile - Interview with Dr. Joyce A. Hahn; Associate Professor, School of Nursing
Himmelfarb Library continues this feature in our newsletter that lets us become better acquainted with our friends and colleagues at the George Washington University. In this issue we learn more about Dr. Joyce A. Hahn; Associate Professor, School of Nursing.
How did you become interested in your field?
My future mother-in-law was a nurse educator and Director of Staff Education at a New York City Municipal Hospital when I first dating my husband. I was 16 years old and she became my nursing role model. She encouraged me to volunteer as a student “candy striper” for the summer and this community service at a Veterans Hospital strengthened my interest and passion to become a nurse.
Nursing has opened many paths for me to follow. As I continued my education I found myself working in hospital acute care settings and community settings as a clinical nurse specialist, manager, and director. My educator experience began at George Mason University responding to an invitation from a mentor, who would become my doctoral dissertation chair, to bring students to a clinical community experience as an adjunct clinical instructor. Supported and encouraged by my mentor I began to publish, present at conferences, become involved with nursing professional organizations as a nurse leader, and eventually obtained a position as Assistant Professor then Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of the Master’s Program at George Mason University.
Dr. Mary Wakefield, former Acting Director of Health and Human Services, was my doctoral professor for health care policy. Her wisdom and mentorship led to my strong interest in health care policy. My work with the Virginia Nurses Association as the Commissioner on Government Affairs and my leadership role as chair of the Legislative Coalition of Virginia nurses exposed me to the regulatory side of nursing practice. Three gubernatorial appointments to the Virginia Board of Nursing have allowed me to participate with incredibly dedicated colleagues. I have had the opportunity to serve 6 of the past 8 years as Vice-President and President of the VA BON. These policy experiences have culminated in the policy advocate I am today.
What brought you to GW?
I was invited to become the first Executive Director of the Nursing Alliance for Quality Care, a Robert Wood Johnson grant that was housed at the School of Nursing. During this same timeframe, The School of Nursing had just opened a second degree nursing program at the Ashburn Campus and I was asked to join the faculty becoming a Founding Faculty member and the first Director of the ABSN program guiding the program through accreditation and Virginia Board of Nursing approval. At this point in my educator career at GWU, I am teaching in the online graduate program at the SON invested in the policy, research, leadership and population health courses.
What has been your most memorable moment at GW?
The most impressionable moment at GWU hands down was my first experience participating in the GWU graduation on the mall. The overwhelming sense of pride that washed over me that day was palpable. Pride for the students graduating in my program and pride to be a member of the GWU faculty family. Sitting on the stage with the view of the Washington Monument straight ahead of me remains etched in my mind.
What library resources or services have you found to be the most useful?
The online access to the Himmelfarb library has been invaluable to me in my research and scholarly writing. The ability to click on my computer screen and find pdf copies of articles no matter the time or day to assist me in my literature search has been my most positive experience. The opportunity to request and receive articles from peer reviewed journals through the library consortium in such a timely fashion is another great aspect of utilizing the online access. And then there is the real time availability of the librarians for assistance.
The embedded librarian program brings the expertise of a librarian into the online classroom for student access. Students have shared in their course evaluations the comfort having librarian support brings to them when working on assignments.
Whom do you admire?
It may sound a bit trite but it is Florence Nightingale. Florence is attributed as having been quite intelligent developing statistical methods to evaluate health care. You could say, the first evidence based research in nursing. “The Lady With The Lamp” was dependable working long hours into the night to care for soldiers during the Crimean War. She was an ambitious trailblazer fighting for funding from the English Parliament for her soldier patients and her persistent fight to change society’s perception of nursing. All in all, quite impressive for an Victorian lady of status. These admirable traits of researcher, caring dependability, and policy advocate certainly place her ahead of her time in terms of women’s rights.
Our own nursing students give me pause to reflect on their admiral traits working and volunteering not only in their own communities but globally. This next generation of nursing leaders demonstrates a strong sense of political advocacy for the profession and patients in their support of health care access and the support for advanced practice nurses to work autonomously to the level of their educational preparation. I view them with great pride to have been a part of their educational development.
How do you spend your free time? (or What do you do to relax?)
My husband and I are world travelers. We have visited all seven continents and now are visiting countries that have always held an interest for us. Our next trip is an ocean voyage from Santiago, Chile that will stop at Easter Island, cross the Pacific Ocean to Figi and end in Tahiti.
What advice would you give to a new faculty member just starting at GW?
Be sure to carve out time for yourself. Teaching and scholarship are important but being true to yourself is even more important in life.