Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Janet Douglass is the other new full time faculty at a distance! Janet teaches courses in the Nursing Department, as well as in Health Care Administration. She also does many, many other projects for SJC! Here is my interview with her!

T: How long have you worked with SJC/GPS?
Janet: In the summer of 1985, my former colleague from Boston University, Dr. Patricia Sparks, who had assumed the position of Dean of what is now GPS, asked me to come and teach two courses. These were "Health Care for the Elderly" and "Leadership". I taught over three sessions of three weeks each, and was hooked on the campus, students and program. After doing this for about four years, I was asked to write a distance course that I named "Aging in America" (you'll note that I didn't adopt the horrible course title we used in the summer). I am still teaching that course and love doing so dearly. It was one of the first courses that went on line when we started using the Web-CT platform.

T: Where did you obtain your education?
Janet: My initial post-secondary program was at the Lawrence General Hospital School of Nursing, a Massachusetts Diploma program in Lawrence, Massachusetts. After six years of practice as a nurse I took an assistant instructor position at my alma mater and ran the science labs in the fall (chemistry, microbiology, and anatomy & physiology), and did clinical teaching in the hospital during the rest of the year. One condition of my employment was that I study toward my Baccalaureate in Nursing, which I started part-time at Boston University and five years later transferred to complete that degree full-time at St. Anselm College in Bedford, N.H.. I then earned a Masters Degree in Community Health/Community Mental Health Nursing at Boston College and a Doctorate in Nursing at Boston University. I also did post-graduate study at a National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health sponsored program at Texas A&M University.

T: What is your experience in health care?
Janet: My first Nursing position was at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, where I worked in a 24-hour admission floor. There were no intensive care units at that time, and this was the closest thing to such a unit; we admitted and stabilized critical patients and then transferred them to general floors the next day. I then married and moved back to my old neighborhood, where I took a staff position in the Emergency Department of Lawrence General Hospital, leaving that position to join the faculty (although I must admit that I was hooked on excitement badly enough to work weekends and holidays in the Emergency Department for quite awhile). After completing my Masters degree, I worked for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health after it had been reorganized from large state regional mental hospitals to a focus on community-based services. My work involved setting up contracts with local providers to deliver adult mental health services in the Cape Ann (Massachusetts) area, and monitoring those contracts.

I have held nursing faculty positions at Northern Essex Community College, Boston College, Boston University, Harvard School of Public Health (lecturer), and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. After retiring from UMass in 2000, I worked part time in Occupational Health Nursing for a brief time before moving to Maine.

T: What courses have you taught or developed?
Janet: I doubt that I can remember them all, but most were related to my preparation in Community/Community Health Nursing, Occupational Health, School Health, Leadership and Research Methods. I also taught some of the critical care content for senior students in UMass prior to developing an Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner program there. I developed Aging in America, and taught that course as well as HC350--Leadership, HC315--Occupational Health, and NU502 Research Methods in Nursing many summer sessions, and HA545, Research Methods to concurrent students for many semesters.. I taught Health Care Policy and Politics and The U.S. Health Care System in the Cayman Island campus to concurrent students last spring. I am currently in the process of participation in the revision of undergraduate courses for the RN-BSN program.

T: What courses are you currently teaching?
Janet: I currently teach LTC/SO310 --Aging in America (I must admit this is still my favorite after all these years), NU642, a teaching methods course, HA545, Research Methods, and HA655-- Gerontology, to concurrent students. I am also working with a small number of students completing capstone papers in the graduate Distance Nursing program.

T: What do you see as the three highest priority items in health care in the U.S.?
Janet: Access, quality and affordability. I believe strongly that we need to make basic health care a right for every resident of the U.S., improve the quality of our health care system (it is not as good as we like to think it is), and bring its cost into the land of reality so that we don't end up spending half of the nation's GDP for lousy health care in the near future. These three goals fit together. In fact, I don't believe that we can have any one of them without the other two. Bottom line, all three items reflect accountability of all involved (government, providers and the public) for the wellbeing of our country and its citizens.

T: What do you do for fun?
Janet: I delight in our three grandchildren (ages 6 months to 16 years), and spend as much time with them as the distance between us allows. At present, my old school chum from grammar and high school and I are writing a mystery novel about Blood Diamonds: we may never finish it but it's a great excuse for me to travel to Atlanta and her to come to Maine and visit. I enjoy gardening in the summer, although summer session responsibilities can put a crimp into that. My husband and I also like to travel and have been to lots of fun places. Great Britain is our favorite place and we try to go there every August. We've also spent some time in Costa Rica, Portugal, Canada, and Hungary and I've had opportunities to do consultations in Quatar, Japan and Korea, and to present a paper at a scientific exchange in the People's Republic of China. My husband and I look forward to lots more travel the next time I retire. Right now, my new full-time responsibilities are leading me to concentrate on one of my major sources of fun---teaching!

You may e-mail Janet directly at jdouglass@sjcme.edu.

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