New Director Brings Expertise to UMW’s Nursing Completion Program

Pamela McCullough has a nearly 35-year nursing career, a focus on patient-centered care, and a passion for the liberal arts.

Now, she is taking the helm of the University of Mary Washington’s new bachelor of science in nursing completion program, which is slated to begin this fall. The program is designed for registered nurses who have graduated with an accredited associate’s degree or diploma nursing program.

Pamela McCullough

Pamela McCullough

“Continuing your education to the bachelor level makes you able to see a more global picture of healthcare,” she said. “You are looking at populations instead of individuals. You are learning how to think using different models. It’s exposure to different ways of thinking.”

McCullough pointed to recent studies that show patient outcomes are improved when at least 80 percent of nurses hold bachelor’s degrees.

“Not only does the employer want it, but there is an advantage for the individual,” she said. “[The curriculum] focuses on how to think outside the box.”

As an undergraduate, she started out as a theater major, then started her nursing coursework. Those connections between the liberal arts and healthcare drew her to UMW’s program.

McCullough, herself a registered nurse and certified nurse practitioner, wants the degree program to be a good fit for working nurses.

“I want to make it flexible and individualized,” she said. “Some nurses will want to go fast and some will go slow. I want to adapt our program to meet their needs.”

The coursework will include classes that allow nurses to make connections between their everyday situations and liberal arts disciplines, including advanced writing techniques, sociology courses on global health and medicine, and medical ethics.

McCullough has lived in the Fredericksburg area since 1998. Most recently, she spent more than two years as nursing program director at Stratford University in Woodbridge. She also spent a decade as a certified nurse practitioner at Pratt Pediatrics in Fredericksburg.

She received a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and post-master’s certificate from the Catholic University of America and a doctor of nursing practice from Old Dominion University. She completed her doctoral capstone project at UMW’s Student Health Center from 2009 to 2011.

For more information about the program, please contact McCullough at pmccullo@umw.edu.

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.