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Darlene Branscome, R.N., Ph.D.
Professor of Nursing

Darlene Branscome believes in the power of education to change the health of America. And she's working at it from her own perspective, one student at a time.

She earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Pittsburgh, then master's and doctorate degrees from Texas Woman's University, as well as licensed as a registered nurse. She taught nursing at TWU for eight years before moving to El Centro's nursing program 16 years ago.

"I think that nursing education is actually organized better at the community college level," she says. "In this setting, the emphasis is placed on beginning nursing competency through practice rather than through research."

As a nursing professional, she wants to prepare her students for an increasingly demanding profession in which it's critical to remember medical information with absolute accuracy. She just wants to make that process as fun and as painless as possible. She uses a variety of techniques to help her students learn and memorize details, from PowerPoint presentations to mnemonics. That's using techniques to improve the memory, such as remembering initials that represent key words in a process. For example, her students are taught to assess a wound using REEDA: examine Redness, Ecchymosis (the escape of blood into tissues from ruptured blood vessels), Edema (accumulation of fluids), Drainage and Approximation.

"Every day I go into the classroom, I try to make it my best teaching day ever," she says. "It's a challenge to find new ways to help students retain information. But I really enjoy what I do."

She is also a relentless promoter of education to help Americans take control of their own health. "In the future of nursing, if we can do more in the way of prevention, we will have come a long way," she says. She makes regular presentations to senior citizen centers on issues such as nutrition, heart health and exercise, and understanding the significance of lab values such as cholesterol count.

"Nursing is a challenging profession; we have more and more responsibility on the job," she says. "I have high expectations that my students will become competent professionals. But I also hope that they will learn empathy for their patients. When I see former students in local hospitals who are successful as registered nurses, I feel privileged to have had a small part in their success."

For Darlene Branscome, it all began here.