Nursing faculty's experience broadens on path to master's

A photo of Caroline Crumley

When Caroline Crumley returned to college for her master’s of science degree in nursing, she took the opportunity during clinicals to broaden her knowledge in different areas of nursing.

“I had specialized in neonatal care and pediatrics and had always worked in the acute intensive care areas. Since I had seldom been in the outpatient setting I focused my clinical course time there. So I did my clinicals with a pediatrician, an internal medicine physician, a geriatric nurse practitioner, and a physician with dual internal medicine and pediatric specialty. All clinicals provided a wonderful experience and to be involved with these specialties outside of the hospital environment also met my course objectives,” Crumley said.

Crumley recently earned her MSN through the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville’s online degree program. She walked at the commencement ceremony on campus in December 2016 and was able to meet some of her fellow online classmates including a military nurse from Germany.

“I was so glad to meet her since we had share a part of the student life online,” Crumley said. “I would encourage anyone wanting to refresh their training or continuing their education to give online education a try. It’s a new way of learning, and your age doesn’t matter”.

Crumley grew up in Independence County and attended the University of Central Arkansas where she ultimately earned a master’s degree in education. She also participated in a graduate assistantship. “I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world,” Crumley said.

After teaching for a few years, Crumley decided to enroll in nursing school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She said she always knew she wanted to work in pediatrics. “I grew up with a disabled uncle, which probably instilled my love of working with disabled children and helped me relate to them,” she said. “With both teaching and nursing, you do it because you want to be a service professional. They are selfless professions. You have to be willing to help wherever you are needed.”

Crumley worked for over 15 years at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock and also worked in high-risk neonatal care at UAMS. She also assisted with on-the-job training for new nursing staff members. In addition to two master’s degrees, Crumley also holds a national registered nurse certification in acute care neonatal and is a certified pediatric nurse.

Crumley returned to Independence County and joined the University of Arkansas Community College nursing and allied health faculty in 2012. She teaches certified nursing assistant courses to concurrent students attending UACCB as well as post-secondary students. Crumley also works with the RN entry-level nursing students and does online courses for students working toward a bachelor of science in nursing degree.

“I love working with the concurrent high school students. They are just so eager and delighted to learn,” Crumley said.

Crumley is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys gardening, fishing, hunting and camping when she has the time to spare. She travels to Branson every year with her family and enjoys taking care of her “fur babies” which include two cats and a dog.