Q&A with UM Nursing Professor Tammy Brown

Kathy DeanFaculty Q&A, Health, News

Tammy brown

“Growing up, I never wanted to be a nurse.”

Tammy Brown’s childhood dream was to become an aerospace engineer, and she started college with that goal. But God had different plans. 

“When my oldest son was in the hospital, after he was born with many complex medical problems, and we were preparing to take him home, I remember the most profound words that were said to me, and those were by a nurse. She said, ‘You will need to choose right here and right now whether to spend every day laughing or every day crying because God gave him to you to take care of, and that is exactly what you are going to do.’

“She was right, and I chose right then and there to spend every day laughing and praising Him for the blessing that He gave to us through that little boy’s life. That is the difference I want to make as an educator at the University of Mobile,” said Brown.

As assistant nursing professor and undergraduate chair at the School of Nursing in the College of Health Professions, Brown sees her role as much more than teaching.

“It is an opportunity to be a mentor, promoting professionalism and a lifetime love for learning. Here at UM, it is also an opportunity to offer spiritual guidance while being a positive influence in the lives of young people as they begin to strengthen their Christian values while they remain mindful of who God desires for them to be.”

Q. How did your journey to the nursing field begin?

A. I married young, right out of high school, and my husband served in the U.S. Air Force. After he returned from the Gulf War, I gave birth to our first son, who was born with many complex medical problems. I left school to care for him, and as he grew older and my medical knowledge grew right along with him, I decided to return to school and pursue a degree in nursing. I graduated with an Associate Degree in Nursing in 1998, shortly before he passed.

My journey as an ADN was long. I practiced for 17 years, working as a staff nurse, charge nurse and finally a nurse manager, primarily in the medical-surgical setting and, for a short time, in the labor and delivery/postpartum setting. In 2014, I decided to pursue my Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Mobile. I graduated in 2015 and immediately began my journey to a Master of Science in Nursing, graduating once again from UM in 2017.

Less than one month after graduation, I was blessed with an offer to become a nurse educator in the School of Nursing, and I happily accepted. This began my journey on the path that, I believe, God had intended for me to take all along. 

Q. What do you love about teaching at UM?

A. For me, there was never a consideration to teach anywhere other than the University of Mobile. As a student in the School of Nursing undergraduate and graduate programs, I experienced first-hand the love and sincerity offered by each and every one of my professors, and I knew instantly that as an educator, I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted my students to be more than “just a number,” and I wanted to be able to love on them and pray with them during their times of triumph as well as during their times of challenge, both academically and personally. I knew that UM was the place that would allow me to do just that. 

I have the privilege of teaching the undergraduate nursing students during their first semester in nursing school. This can be such an overwhelming time for them, as they begin to develop new ways of learning and testing while being introduced to information that is generally quite foreign to them. I love seeing them begin to make those important connections between knowledge and practice, and I celebrate with them when those lightbulbs finally start to come on.

Q. Why should someone choose to study nursing at UM?

A. A nursing degree from the University of Mobile is more than just a piece of paper! It is an acknowledgment of hard work, a passion for helping others, and a desire to connect with people on a more intimate level. Nurses are the faces that are seen and the hands that are held during some of the best and some of the worst times in a person’s life. Here at UM, we teach students to value and respect each and every one of these experiences, recognizing the impact they can have with simply a word or a touch. 

Students learn the value of communication while they fine tune their skills in our state-of-the art skills lab and simulation center. Each experience in these areas is treated just as it would be in real life, offering students the chance to learn and to grow while making mistakes in an environment that is safe and judgment free.

UM is also a great choice because a student can begin their journey toward nursing and complete it in the very same place. We offer an Associate Degree in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing (Family Nurse Practitioner, Leadership, and Education tracks), Doctor of Nursing Practice, and Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice

Plus, for the second consecutive year, the University of Mobile School of Nursing scored a perfect 100% pass rate for BSN graduates taking the NCLEX national licensure examination!

Q. Where can we find you outside of class?

A. When I am not teaching or preparing lesson plans, I enjoy spending time with my family. I am a proud wife to an Air Force vet and mother to 3 wonderful sons, one who has angel wings. I have a beautiful daughter-in-love and one soon to be daughter-in-love, and I am Gigi to the most precious 9-month old little girl in the world, and in February of 2024, I will become a Gigi again. My family is my pride and joy, and if you have ever talked to me for more than 2 minutes, I am sure you already know that!