Ivy named 2019 Academic All-Star

A photo of Elizabeth Ivy

Inspired by a book she had as a child about Florence Nightingale, Elizabeth Ivy always wanted to be a nurse, but was not confident that she was suited for the profession. She instead set her sights on becoming a non-medical care manager. But when she began working as a work study student in the nursing and allied health department at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, Ivy discovered she was indeed meant to be a nurse.

“I was helping Ms. [Caroline] Crumley, and she asked if I wanted to try to start an IV on one of the mannequins. I was able to start it on my first try. I took A&P [anatomy and physiology] and explored the nursing program a little more and decided that’s what I wanted to do,” Ivy said. “I like working directly with people and want to see them be healthy and do well.”

A homeschooled student and the oldest of five siblings, Ivy earned her associate of arts in general education from UACCB and anticipates graduating with her registered nursing degree in December. She has served as a peer tutor for anatomy and physiology as well as some health skills courses while a student at UACCB. She said it was serendipitous that she ever enrolled at the college. “I was originally going to attend Ozarka College in Mountain View, but my parents convinced me to consider UACCB,” she said.

Ivy’s success in her degree program along with her positive attitude and outstanding work ethic led to her being named the 2019 UACCB Academic All-Star. As the award recipient, Ivy will be recognized at an award reception in October at the Arkansas Community Colleges annual conference. She will also receive a full scholarship to the University of Arkansas where she plans to earn her bachelor of science in nursing. “I wasn’t going to get my BSN, but I heard a study that said having a BSN on the floor at hospitals resulted in better outcomes for the patients. If it means better results for the patients, that’s what I want to do, but without this scholarship, it probably never would have happened,” Ivy said.

Two instructors, Vernon Hoffman and Marietta Candler, have been particularly influential on Ivy’s college career. “Mr. Hoffman set me up for success as an RN. Yes, his class is difficult, but you have to know the information he’s teaching in order to be able to apply it correctly. And you will apply everything you learn in his class. It’s your foundation,” Ivy said. “And Ms. Candler is Florence Nightingale reincarnated. She’s always there for you, always working hard, and has a great attitude. I love her teaching style. It meshes well with the way I learn. I’ve never found a question that she didn’t have the answer to.”

Candler, division chair for the nursing and allied health department, said she is proud of Ivy’s accomplishments. “It has been a great pleasure getting to know Elizabeth Ivy, not only as an RN student, but as an outstanding work study student for the nursing and allied health department. She displays a high level of integrity, responsibility, accountability, and ambition.  I have been amazed at her level of enthusiasm for learning and know she will be an asset to the nursing profession.  The faculty and staff of the UACCB NAH department are proud of her and wish her well as she continues her education.”

Ivy is currently performing her nursing preceptorship at White River Medical Center in the medical-surgical orthopedic unit. She will be employed at WRMC after graduation, a position she secured through the Pathways Program. “When you begin in the spring as an LPN student, White River Medical Center and Unity Health representatives make a presentation to students and offer assistance with tuition and fees for their core nursing classes in exchange for students signing a two-year contract to work at one of the facilities after graduation,” Ivy said.

As for her nursing philosophy, Ivy said being a good nurse requires two key components — compassion and critical thinking. “You can’t have one without the other. If don’t care for your patients, all your critical thinking abilities will not be effective. And on the other side, even if you care deeply for your patients, if you cannot think critically to find a solution to the problem, you still won’t be able to effectively help them.”