Deborah Brown cannot count the number of roses she has received from grateful graduates. A registered nurse (RN) with a bachelor’s degree, the Macomb instructor believes her students appreciate that she offers them both candid kindness and mutual respect.
“I was a nursing assistant for seven years before becoming an RN,” says Brown, faculty/ coordinator of Macomb’s Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Program. “I am able to show my students how they can advance from a CNA to a registered nurse.”
During her nursing career, Brown worked at Harper, St. John, Oakland General and Providence hospitals. She was also director of nursing at an adult care facility and an educational coordinator for the American Red Cross. Her experience includes cardiac care, emergency room, labor and delivery, psychiatrics and medical/surgical. She came on board at Macomb in 2008 to develop its CNA curriculum.
“I love the health care field,” says Brown. “Its foundation is family, and that is what I bring into the classroom. I make every student feel like someone cares about them.”
That pay-it-forward approach takes center stage in the section Brown teaches on caring for elderly patients, one of the fastest growing segments in health care. Adding geriatrics to the curriculum also had the intentional impact of extending Macomb’s CNA program a few weeks longer than most.
“Because of the extra clinical practice, hospitals hire Macomb’s grads without any experience,” says Brown, “With a 95 percent first-time pass rate on the certification exam, Macomb’s program is considered one of the best.”
Brown was recently recognized by the Macomb Career and Technical Education Administrators Association for the dual enrollment CNA program she coordinates at Armada High School. But neither receiving awards nor roses compare to discovering she had been the attending nurse at a student’s birth.
“Her mom came up to me at graduation and told me I had been so great to her when she was in labor, such a positive affirmation of everything I teach,” relates Brown. “Moments like that make me love teaching so much.”