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Kimberli Robberson: Teaching Other to Serve

January 21, 2011

This article originally appeared in The Oklahoma Nurse.

Kimberli Robberson has a passion for serving families and children in public healthcare. A registered nurse, Robberson also has a desire to learn and expand her worldview-and to help future nurses learn to do the same.

Robberson is a professor of nurse science at Rose State College in Midwest City, Okla. She is a recent graduate herself. In March 2010 she was part of the first cohort of graduates in the master of science in nursing degree program at Oklahoma Baptist University Graduate School.

At Rose State, Robberson teaches third-semester students in a two-year associate degree program, lecturing on obstetrical, pediatric and aging topics. She also leads clinical experiences in an outpatient psychiatric facility, obstetrics/neonates at Integris Southwest Medical Center and two pediatric rotations at the University of Oklahoma Children's Hospital.

"It was my intention, upon enrolling in the OBU graduate program, to pursue a new career track in nursing education," Robberson said. "The full scholarship that OBU offered, the location and the Tuesday night class commitment all fellinto place for me. I knew that I would fulfill the return scholarship commitment to teach in an Oklahoma nursing program for two years."

Gaining a master's degree and moving to a nursing education role was the continuation of a career which has touched on many aspects of nursing.

Robberson earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing in 1983. Shemaintained 50-75 continuing education hours per year to continue certification as an ANCC Perinatal nurse from 1988-2007. For the past 11 years, her continuing education centered on assisting families with children ages birth to 3 who faced complex health and developmental needs.

She was employed at Children's Hospital as a nurse aide IV, then transitioned to graduate nurse, and then to a licensed registered nurse all on the same unit.

"This was a developmentally centered unit for children ages 6-12 with all types of diagnoses and medical treatments," Robberson said. "This was a tremendous learning opportunity in a teaching hospital."

Her second job as a registered nurse was with Oklahoma City-County Health Department, where she learned to care for both adults and children in outpatient clinics.

"It was here that I discovered my passion for working with families, children and public health," she said. "Fortunately, this was early in my career and was the impetus for the career choices that followed."

Prior to her role at Rose State College, she worked for the SoonerStart Early Intervention Program in Oklahoma County, a joint program between the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the Oklahoma State Department of Health. She served as RN technical supervisor and as East team leader. For a time, she facilitated SoonerStart RN Peer staffing with nurses across the state.

"Having the opportunity to work with a multidisciplinary team, to work with families in their homes, and to know the local specialty healthcare resources was very rewarding for 11 years," she said.

Robberson said graduate studies helped prepare her for her current role as a nursing educator by broadening her point of view and enhancing her critical thinking skills. The OBU curriculum included nursing theory, ethics, principles of teaching and curriculum development.

"The class assignments frequently involved presentations and professional papers which prepared me further for rolechange," Robberson said. "My practicum experience at the J.D. McCarty Center provided the opportunity to practice the skills that I had learned in class. My clinical mentor assisted me in the transition to the faculty role. I taught two classes of senior OBU nursing students. The regular meeting with the professors and my class peers provided the supportive environment to explore new ideas and to launch into a new career."

A native of Oklahoma City, Robberson and her family have lived in Edmond, Okla., for 11 years. Aside from nursing, nature photography has become her favorite hobby, and she has had four photos published this year.