Chair of Nursing Department works to make changes

Rachel Baggett, Staff Writer

Since becoming the chair of the Nursing Department a year ago, Dr. Ruth Wittmann-Price has created a nursing graduate program, worked with the department to receive full accreditation and saw all of last semesters’ graduates pass their RN exam.

Dr. Karen Gittings, Assistant Professor of Nursing, spoke about how much of an asset Wittmann-Price has been to the Nursing Department.

“Dr. Wittmann-Price works tirelessly to promote excellence in our Nursing Program,” Gittings said. “She has the experience and knowledge to lead and grow the Nursing Program.”

Wittmann-Price received her associates in applied science and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Felician College in Lodi, N.J. She earned her master’s degree in nursing from Columbia University.

After finishing school, Wittmann-Price worked as a nurse for over thirty years at several hospitals in the New Jersey-Pennsylvania area. She spent most of this time working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

“When I was working, I used to help colleges with students on the unit,” Wittmann-Price said.  “I found that I really liked teaching young nurses, so that prompted me to take a teaching position.”

Wittmann-Price received her doctorate from Widener University in 2006, but continued doing clinical work.

Wittmann-Price came to FMU last year after she accepted an offer to chair the Nursing Department and to create a program for graduate-level nursing courses.

“I got a great feeling in the interview, and the program was ready to progress,” Wittmann-Price said. “They had excellent clinical partners to work with and excellent faculty in place, so it was a really easy decision.”

While Wittmann-Price sometimes misses clinical practice, she really enjoys working with students and said that her experience teaching differs from her experience working in a hospital setting.

“As a nurse, I was responsible for my patients,” Wittmann-Price said. “As a teacher, I have a responsibility to the students, the public, and all the patients that the students will care for in the future.”

Although she spends the majority of her time working, Wittmann-Price spends her free time jogging, crocheting  and writing.

She has published several books and chapters whose subjects range from educating nurses to various nursing student needs.

Wittmann-Price’s new book, that was inspired by her time at FMU, is coming out in November.

The book, which is about nurses developing their academic portfolios, started when Wittmann-Price noticed that some of the nurses at FMU needed to develop their academic portfolios and realized that there were currently no books for nurses on the subject.

The book includes several excerpts from the academic portfolios of the faculty at FMU.

Wittmann-Price has also spent time in developmental research. In her time in NICU that got Wittmann-Price interested in researching preterm infants.

Wittmann-Price said her year at FMU has been very busy and, with the graduate program ready to start in the spring semester of 2013, she will continue to be busy. She said that the support she has received from the administration and faculty has made her proud of all that the Nursing Program has and will accomplish.