But it was a devastating personal loss that started his journey on a different path.
“When my twin sons were born premature, I spent many hours and weeks in the NICU. I was amazed at how the nurses cared for not only their patients, but also the families. When we lost one of our boys, the nurses showed so much compassion and caring during a difficult loss. I knew then I needed to return to school and obtain my nursing degree,” he said.
Now, Dr. Mathis brings his extensive experience in nursing and understanding of the impact nurses can have in a family’s life to his role as chair of graduate programs in the University of Mobile School of Nursing. We asked Dr. Mathis about his passion for patient care and helping nurses expand their skills and knowledge through graduate programs such as the Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner and Doctor of Nursing Practice.
Q: You joined UM in 2017 as director of the Family Nurse Practitioner program. What are you doing now?
A: I currently serve as the graduate chair in the School of Nursing, overseeing all graduate nursing programs. Since beginning my career here at UM, I successfully managed the development and implementation of two new programs, the FNP post-master’s certificate and the University of Mobile’s first doctoral degree offering, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.
Q: What is your background?
A: My education includes an Associate Degree in Nursing from Bishop State Community College, a Bachelor of Science from the University of South Alabama, and a Master of Science in Family Nurse Practitioner and a Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Alabama.
I am currently employed as a hospitalist at a local large metropolitan hospital. In this role, I care for patients and collaborate with specialty health care providers regarding patient care, ensuring patients receive optimal and appropriate care while hospitalized. Additionally, I serve as a preceptor to nurse practitioner students in my role as a hospitalist.
I serve as the vice president for the Advanced Practice Provider Coalition at Infirmary Health, and I am a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF), the Alabama Nurses Association (ANA), and the graduate faculty committee at the University of Mobile.
Q: What courses do you typically teach?
A: I currently teach a wide variety of courses in the Family Nurse Practitioner and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs. One of my favorite courses to teach is “Cultural Diversity in Health Care.” I have a passion for improving equality in health care by understanding and experiencing different cultures.
Q: UM’s motto is “Know and Be Known,” meaning students are known by faculty. How does that play out in the School of Nursing?
A: The University of Mobile provides a unique learning experience for students. Faculty are invested in the content of their courses as well as in their students. Students become like family; we get to know our students and families.
Faculty in the School of Nursing go above and beyond for our students. I have witnessed faculty on campus after hours and on weekends working with students. Here at UM, faculty genuinely desire to see all students succeed. Furthermore, we have the opportunity to pray with students and share Christ’s love through our teaching by incorporating Christian values into our course content. I am proud to be a part of this great institution.
Q: Tell us something about yourself that might surprise students.
A: Most people are surprised to learn one of my favorite hobbies is to work on cars. I have two race cars I enjoy working on and driving. I enjoy working with my hands and problem solving. There is satisfaction in taking something apart and putting it back together and making it perform at a higher level. It can be said this is a metaphor to my professional life. I enjoy caring for patients, analyzing and solving problems. Additionally, comparing this hobby to teaching, I enjoy taking students’ knowledge base and skills and assisting them to reach the next level.