Dr. Rhonda, assistant professor of nursing at Francis Marion University (FMU), was awarded the Francis Marion African American Faculty and Staff Diversity Award (AAFSC) this past February. This award recognizes FMU faculty or staff members who go above and beyond expectations in their contributions to increase diversity. Brodgon described her excitement in receiving award, stating she was nominated because of her “open door policy” with her students.
“I have students in my office all of the time, which I don’t mind. Sometimes it isn’t even about schoolwork, but sometimes it is about managing things between school and at home.” Brodgon said.
Brodgon explained that she is not the type to brag on herself, but she does whatever is asked of her by her department to better the experience for the students. As a nurse, it is in her nature to help people and she described passionately how she loves to help.
Brodgon graduated from nursing school at Clemson University in 1994 and worked at McLeod as a nurse. She loved being at the bedside of her patients, meeting families and helping. She explained that her experience being a nurse is where she was exposed to a lot of diversity.
“We learn in nursing school that we have to be culturally competent in order to provide the best quality care. So we have to make the initiative to make that difference for the patients.” Brodgon said.
Brodgon explained that she provides the same care and attention to detail that she did while working as a nurse to her students. Once students open up to her, she is able to learn so much about them and what she can do to help. Brodgon says she received the AAFSC award because she reaches out to everyone and lets every student know beginning the first day of class that regardless of their race she is there to help them.
She explains that presentation and non-verbal communication skills are extremely important both in the nursing field and as a professor. Brodgon credited her caring, open-minded teachers in high school for her being the way she is with her own students. She explains that sometimes it takes time to get students to open up because they may not have that same kind of support at home. But after going out of her way to give each student individualized care, just as a nurse does with their patients, the students usually open up and Brodgon is able to provide the best educational experience to the student.
Brodgon began teaching in 2001 as a part-time clinical nursing instructor at the Medical University of South Carolina/ Francis Marion University Satellite. She joined FMU in 2005 and described how she loves her career because she can teach, but does not lose the clinical component.
She explained how rewarding it is when she teaches something in a classroom setting, then sees that they really did retain the information when she takes them into the clinical setting.
“What I love most is that you can take your students into the clinical area, knowing that you taught this information a couple of days before, and they get it. The light bulb goes off.” Brodgon said.
Brodgon continues to work in the summer at Carolinas Hospital in their Oncology/ Renal floor or wherever the hospital staff has a need. Brodgon was the co-editor for the article “Encouraging a Holistic Decision-Making Process in Healthcare,” which takes the mind, spirit and body into account when providing care to patients. She was an exemplar contributor to the book by FMU professor, Dr. Ruth Wittmann-Price: Fast Facts for Developing a Nursing Portfolio: What You Really Need to Know in a Nutshell. She is currently working on the publication of her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) capstone project in the Nephrology Journal of Nursing called “A Self-Care Educational Intervention to Improve Knowledge of Dietary Phosphorus Control in Patients Requiring Hemodialysis.”