Feb 05, 2013

Alumnus Received More Than A Degree

Phillip Tatum Reflects on Education and Values

It has been more than a decade since Phillip Tatum walked Columbia State Community College's Columbia campus as a student. He still fondly remembers the time he spent there and the professors who made the biggest impact on him and his career.

"The nursing instructors were detailed, comprehensive, and above all, extremely professional," said Tatum, a Columbia State alumnus and board-certified family nurse practitioner.

The Perry County resident graduated from Columbia State in 1998 with an Associate's Degree in nursing but walked across the stage at his graduation with more than just a diploma. He took with him a set of values instilled by the instruction and expectations of his professors.

"The first professor that comes to mind is Mrs. Gayle Larkin," said Tatum about the former associate professor of nursing at Columbia State. "She was very influential in my nursing background. Mrs. Larkin was very stringent, yet compassionate in her instruction. She taught me what I needed to know about managing my time as a nurse as well as critical thinking skills."

The next professor Tatum remembers being influential to his career is Columbia State's associate professor of nursing, Toni Meredith. "Ms. Meredith is very passionate about pediatrics. Thanks to the training she provided, this is my area of interest as I practice as a nurse practitioner," said Tatum.

Tatum also recalls how Dr. Susan Russell, associate professor of nursing at Columbia State, taught he and his peers the importance of mental health and how it applies in the nursing profession. "Dr. Russell taught us many aspects of mental health and how it affects everyone in some form during a lifetime," said Tatum.

"Last but not least, is Dr. Deanna Naddy," said Tatum discussing his collegiate experience with the former assistant dean of nursing at Columbia State. "Even though Dr. Naddy was not a part of instructing the students, it was by her example and leadership that the instructors and students hold the nursing profession to the highest regards."

After graduating from Columbia State, Tatum went to Middle Tennessee State University where he received a Bachelor's of Science degree in nursing.

"Columbia State definitely prepared me for furthering my education," said Tatum. "I received a strong nursing education from the professors at Columbia State, which made my future studies less difficult."

He later attended University of Tennessee Health Science Center where he earned a Master's degree specializing as a family nurse practitioner.

"I am very satisfied with the education I received from the nursing program at Columbia State," said Tatum. "Even today as I practice as an advanced practice nurse, I often reflect on these individuals mentioned and provide care based upon the teaching I received from Columbia State Professors."