When Dr. Dolores White was about to become a mother, she knew what to expect. The other special delivery caught her by surprise.
"I became interested in nursing when I was pregnant with my first son," she said. "I had amazing nurses who took care of us. That started me on the path. When he was 7 months old, I started college."
Now, Dr. White is an assistant nursing professor at Northern Kentucky University (NKU). She teaches in the online Master of Science in Health Administration program and the online Master of Science in Health Informatics program. She also teaches a core course in all of NKU's Master of Science in Nursing tracks and serves as faculty in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.
"It was an amazing experience, but I was ready for a change. I have been at NKU for a little more than a year. I teach in the master's and doctorate programs and love it."
Before coming to NKU, Dr. White spent more than seven years at the Galen College of Nursing in Louisville. She was the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program director for the Louisville campus and manager of prelicensure BSN programs for the college for four of those years.
"I had the opportunity to facilitate the development of a three-year BSN program," she said. "I not only developed every aspect of that program, I also facilitated its implementation across four campuses in four states."
The return to teaching has been significant for Dr. White, the 2020 Kentucky Nurses Association Nurse of the Year.
"I love what I am doing — teaching and coordinating courses," she said. "It's nice to step back from the leadership roles I have had in the past for work-life balance."
Dr. White is from San Diego, but she moved to Kentucky when she was 16 years old. She graduated with an associate degree in nursing from Elizabethtown Community College in 1996.
She began her nursing career as a registered nurse at St. Matthews Manor in Louisville the same year. After 10 months, Dr. White started her first stint at Hardin Memorial Hospital, where she worked for a total of more than 15 years.
"I have worked in a variety of different areas as a nurse — clinical and bedside as well as leadership and academics," she said. "Clinically, I have worked in surgical telemetry units and the post-anesthesia care unit, which is the recovery room, and same-day surgery.
"I also worked in education in the hospital for several years as a clinical educator. Plus, I served as manager of the surgical telemetry unit."
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from McKendree University in 2006, Dr. White began her education career as an instructor at Elizabethtown and Galen. She also earned a Master of Nursing in Education at McKendree two years later.
"I have worked with education in academics for 10 years with associate, bachelor's, master's and doctorate students as faculty," she said. "I love what I do."
Dr. White added a Doctor of Nursing Practice at Western Kentucky University in 2016 after switching to teaching full time. She was an experienced online instructor when she arrived at NKU.
"I taught a course online at Galen College of Nursing for almost three years, and I have also taught online for several years at other universities," she said. "I enjoy supporting the online students and helping them succeed in their degree programs."
Living the Dream
In addition to performing her teaching duties, Dr. White serves on the Kentucky Nurses Association Board of Directors as the River City Chapter President and Chapter Liaison. She was recently chosen as president-elect of the association. She will serve in that role for one year, then as president for two years.
"When I looked into coming to NKU, I talked to nurses across the state," she said. "I heard so many good comments about NKU."
She was keen on finding a position at a university with a reputation for great work.
"The first year went well," she said. "I had a mentor and a leadership team. The faculty and staff here are so friendly and helpful. It's a very professional place. I enjoy working at NKU."
Dr. White and her husband, Gene, have two sons — Justin (29) and Johnathan (22) — and a granddaughter, Evie (3). Dr. White enjoys hiking, running and camping in her free time.
Although she hasn't been at NKU long, Dr. White knows she is in the right place at the right time in her career. She looks forward to growing the nursing program further to prepare more healthcare leaders.
"I have had other universities try to recruit me to lead their programs," she said. "I have happily declined. I am happy where I am now."
Learn more about NKU's online healthcare programs.
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