As Tony Ramsey sits in his office in Waldron Hall reminiscing about his time as a student at Radford University enrolled in the RN to BSN program, he recalls the help and encouragement he received from his professors.
“I received such good guidance here as a student,” he says. “The faculty members were so positive and willing to help.”
Now, Ramsey is providing that same level of support to his students. An assistant professor in RU’s School of Nursing, Ramsey advises 12-15 students per semester. A smile lights up his face every time he mentions his role as a faculty advisor, and indeed, he names it as his biggest achievement.
“My first year as an advisor, I had no clue what I was doing,” he admits. “But each semester, I worked one-on-one with my students, moving them toward graduation and even post-graduation plans. It’s the individual attention that’s important, and my advisee numbers have since increased because I like doing this, especially guiding students who are struggling for various reasons.”
Ramsey applied for a full-time teaching position in RU’s School of Nursing immediately following his graduation from RU’s family nurse practitioner (FNP) program in 2003.
“I fell in love with the faculty, and RU’s nursing program is exciting and has a wonderful reputation. For me, it was a no-brainer.”
Now six years into his job, Ramsey has seen significant and extraordinary changes come to the nursing program. The biggest change to date has been the doubling of enrollment for nursing students at RU, a move designed to combat both the national and local nursing shortage.
“I think those increased numbers have actually improved our quality,” Ramsey says. “And that has been our promiseto retain the exceptional quality of this nursing program while boosting the quantity.”
Ramsey and his colleagues are adamant that RU produces graduates who will lead the way in taking care of patients on an incomparable level. Personally, Ramsey’s goal is to help the RU nursing program “evolve into the best we can be.” He is working to complete his Ph.D. by 2011 and has created the only nurse-run migraine clinic in Southwest Virginia. Operated through the Free Clinic of the New River Valley, Ramsey’s migraine clinic is filling a niche left empty by the nursing field.
“Nursing is not there when it comes to migraine research,” he explains. “Typically the endeavor is led by medicine, but I really want to understand the patient’s story and their personal experiences living with the effects of migraines. I want to improve the quality of life for my patients and figure out how I may best help them.”
And that is the greatest way to describe Ramsey: always willing to help. From the success of his students to the health of his patients, he embodies the RU School of Nursing’s mission to blend knowledge with caring.