Meet Kelly Spilbor, a 1993 School of Nursing graduate. She is an instructor at Trident Technical College (TTC) in Charleston and teaches clinical skills related to labor and delivery nursing. We caught up with her in between classes to talk about her Clemson experience and how it prepared her for her career.
Q: What is your current job? I have been a full-time nursing instructor at Trident Technical College for 20 years, teaching in the Health Promotion for Families courses. My theory and clinical courses focus on labor and delivery and postpartum care for the mother and newborn.
Q: What is the most rewarding part about your job? I enjoy watching students apply the theory taught in class at the bedside in their nursing practice. We offer obstetrics in the first and second year of the associate degree program, so I have the honor of seeing the growth in our students’ knowledge and the confidence in their skills as they approach graduation. The most rewarding part of my job is working alongside our graduates as registered nurses at the hospital. Some of my former students are managers, directors and educators as well. It makes me unbelievably proud.
Q: Describe your career path since graduating. I went to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston after graduation, working in the level II nursery and postpartum units. Having excellent preceptors and a robust teaching environment was critical in my success as a graduate nurse. I then spent about three years at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital West Ashley in the level I/level II nursery, where I was able to add the skill of transition nurse, attending deliveries and stabilizing newborns. When I began teaching as an adjunct instructor for Trident, I chose to return to MUSC as a full-time registered nurse and graduate student, graduating with a Master of Science in Nursing in 2001 so that I could be a full-time instructor. I joined TTC 20 years ago in 2002, when I pursued my calling as an educator.
Q: How did Clemson prepare you for your career? I always knew that Clemson would be the first step in my educational journey, but I never dreamed I would teach nursing. Clemson’s professors and academic advisors were always encouraging me to be a lifelong learner, and now I give this same advice to my students. As a student nurse at Clemson, I was given a wide range of clinical experiences to broaden my perspective of the vast array of specialties a graduate nurse is able to pursue.
Q: What was your favorite Clemson memory? Since I was on the executive board of the Student Nurses Association, I was able to attend our conventions each year as the historian/reporter. Some of my best memories were from those weekends spent collaborating (and socializing) with student nurses and faculty from all over the state of South Carolina. Now I am making new Clemson memories through my son, Wallace Mays. He is studying nursing and in the Clemson Honors program, and I get to relive the nursing school experiences through his eyes!
Q: For students wanting a similar career, do you have any advice? Being a nurse allows you to care for patients in a variety of settings (hospitals, clinics, schools, hospice, birth centers, military/flight teams, etc.). You have the flexibility to work anytime of the day or night, weekday or weekend. This can be critical for those wanting to have families or advance their careers. You can be a nurse leader, educator, practitioner or lobbyist. The list is endless. Be that nurse who inspires, educates and supports the next generation.
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