Donna Pineau MSN '14 doesn't think there is ever a point when a person stops learning. Even with a BSN, educator experience and numerous clinical hours under her belt, Pineau knew there was much more to learn. Her commitment to lifelong learning and becoming a role model to other professionals and her four children is what made Pineau eager to purse a Master of Science in Nursingdegree at Emmanuel.
But her journey at Emmanuel didn't stop there.
"My time here at Emmanuel, obviously wasn't enough, because here I am as an adjunct faculty member," said Pineau, who is teaching a nursing practicum course this spring semester. "When Diane (Arathuzik, associate professor of nursing) asked if I had interest, there was no question."
Pineau's journey at Emmanuel began while she was working as a clinical educator at Steward New England Sinai Hospital in Stoughton, Massachusetts. She received an email about Emmanuel's new program and she decided to check it out. After visiting the school and meeting with Dr. Arathuzik, Pineau knew she had to apply.
"There was just a feeling here. I knew right away that I was in the right place," she said.
Pineau knew an MSN degree would enable her to bring some skills back to her current job. She found the coursework to be challenging and she was attracted to the "hybrid" class schedule, which allowed her to both work and study without being too overwhelmed. Over two years, Pineau felt an incredible amount of support from the faculty, as well as a connection to her fellow students.
"Having support from other nurses who were doing the same thing and who have the same goals was great," Pineau said.
As a nurse, Pineau likes both the clinical and academic side of nursing education, but she chose the academic path because she enjoys "facilitating the spirit of inquiry." She said the learning in Emmanuel's program is pretty reciprocal.
"The students have grown exponentially in understanding the role of the nurse is far broader than just what happens in the clinical setting - seeing that happen, and facilitating that type of growth is what feeds the soul here," Pineau said about the academic side of nursing.
While still a student at Emmanuel, Pineau was approached by Assistant Professor of Nursing Terri Jabaley with the opportunity to help write a paper for possible publication in the Journal of Catholic Education, which would require Pineau to do investigative work and research on her own time. She agreed to the task and was able to use this work as her Capstone Project for her Senior Practicum class.
The subject matter was an investigative look about how ethics, social justice and caring threaded through curriculum would affect graduates of a nursing program, particularly Emmanuel's nursing program.
Dr. Jabaley entered the work for eligibility in a few conferences, and it was accepted. In March, Pineau presented a poster, "A Legacy of Ethical Nursing Leadership: Reflections from MSN Students and Graduates," at the Connecticut Collaborative Scholarship Day in New Britain, Connecticut. In May, Pineau will present a poster, "Developing Ethical Decision Makers: The Values-Based Experiences of MSN Students in Nursing Education and management," at the 23rd annual Conference for Nurse Educators in North Falmouth, Massachusetts.
"I was really enthusiastic and anxious to get our message out that threading those concepts through nursing education truly did make a difference in how students and graduates were looking at their practice," Pineau said. "People were very receptive. It was really exciting to present it and get the feedback from so many nurses."
By working closely together on the project and being in a small program, Dr. Jabaley got to know Pineau very well.
"Emmanuel is a little gem of a program sitting in the midst of a lot of larger programs, but what Emmanuel has to offer is this faculty-to-student collegiality that goes above and beyond what the multitude of students in larger institutions can receive," Dr. Jabaley said.
Dr. Jabaley knew if Pineau helped collaborate with her and other faculty members on this paper that it would assist her in moving toward a doctorate degree.
"She just had tremendous professional ability to write, to speak and to teach. She was conscientious. She was a stellar student," Dr. Jabaley said. "For students, the power of presenting shows their presence as a credible and respected professional."
With a thirst for knowledge, Pineau is pursuing her Ph.D in Health Professions at Simmons College. She began her program in September and chose Simmons' program because it's interdisciplinary. Along with teaching at Emmanuel, Pineau is teaching at Labouré College in Milton, Massachusetts.
"No man is an island. As much as I love nursing and being nurse, I know you need to work with other disciplines to provide the best care to the patient," she said.
Looking to the future, Pineau sees herself remaining in an academic role as a faculty member. She'd also like to take her study of ethics further, so it can become a published body of work.
Pineau was drawn to the sense of community at Emmanuel and she's more than happy to keep coming back to teach. She urges anyone interested in pursuing an MSN at Emmanuel to take advantage of the opportunity to experience the amazing support, excellent faculty and diverse student population in the program.
"Once you go to Emmanuel, it's a family to you here," she said.