UpDate - Vol. 14, No. 14, Page 11 December 8, 1994 Nursing adviser; Pam Beeman responds to a variety of issues Pam Beeman said she went from a faculty member who primarily teaches to a faculty member who primarily does advising. A member of the College of Nursing since 1986, Beeman, an associate professor who teaches maternal-child health, became associate dean of student services in 1992. "I can't believe how naive I was regarding advising when I was a faculty member," Beeman said. "I didn't realize how important it was." In her current position, Beeman said, she sees a large number of students, primarily because advising in the College of Nursing is a little different from that provided in other colleges. Since students and faculty spend two days a week in off-campus clinical programs, faculty are not always available to respond to other students' needs. These students turn to Beeman, who has earned a reputation for being accessible and responsive to their needs. Beeman, who received one of the University's two excellence-in- advising awards for 1994, said nursing programs are relatively straightforward, with little need for advisement on course selection and substitutions. Therefore, advisement issues more often deal with personal problems associated with concerns over roommates, homesickness, time management, a family crisis and even personal decisions associated with morality, ethics and values. For seniors, immediate concerns revolve around getting a job and making graduate school decisions. "Emergencies and crises happen all the time," Beeman said, "and they often are very real." Resolving a student's family-related or personal problem without jeopardizing his or her academic standing is one of Beeman's important goals. The College of Nursing prides itself on intensive advising, Beeman said. Significant time also is spent with students from other disciplines who are considering a transfer into nursing. In addition, Beeman has counseled registered nurses who seek a baccalaureate degree, as well as students with previous bachelor's degrees who want to participate in the accelerated college program that leads to a BSN degree. "An adviser's job is to guide students through the educational process, and that can be a huge responsibility," Beeman said. "We find there are a number of students who are misplaced in a major, in a college or in the University. They really need to talk to someone to get back on track. "I think I see a lot more of students because of the social climate, the times we live in. Students come in to touch base with faculty members to get grounded from time to time in what is an extremely confusing time in their lives." Returning adult students, Beeman said, present different needs that must be addressed. These include support and validation, since many are concerned that by going back to school they are neglecting their spouses or children and that their decision will dramatically change their lifestyle. Two recent instances offered new challenges: Beeman's office received requests from a physician from Lithuania and an engineer from Moscow who both wanted to be nurses. Working with various campus departments-ranging from admissions to the dean of students offices, Beeman was able to determine which courses were transferable and what each student needed to take to complete their degrees. "We were able to do something for the good of the students, the University and the profession," Beeman said, "and what can be better than that?" Despite the unusual questions, the unable-to-be-anticipated crises, the constant need for research and coordination with other administrative and academic units and the days with not enough hours, Beeman said she enjoys her work. "Truly," she said, "the contact with the students is most satisfying, especially when a student is in need and I am able to help. What I like best is feeling that I can enlighten someone and erase their concern. It's nice to be helpful." -Ed Okonowicz This story is one of a series of articles featuring the 1994 recipients of the University's excellence-in-teaching and excellence- in-advising awards.