Hazard Community and Technical College Nursing Professor Lauren Bates has completed her defense and was officially awarded her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree on May 12 from Western Kentucky University.
She began her five-year journey because she has always enjoyed learning, and obtaining her doctorate was a bucket list item.
Her research project focused on the attitudes of nurses in the Kentucky River Area Development Region toward patients with substance abuse issues. She chose this topic because substance abuse has such a high prevalence in the area, and much of the research has shown that biases, personal experiences, and attitudes can impact patient care. “My results showed that there was a slight correlation with years of experience and a sense of accountability toward patients with substance abuse. There was no correlation between workplace setting and highest level of education.”
Her students will benefit because she thoroughly understands the research process, and she can pass that on to them in the classroom and clinical setting. “I gained a new appreciation for my students by working and going to school. So many of them face challenges that I can’t even imagine, and persevere. Going back to school reminded me how difficult it is to juggle all the responsibilities that come with being a student,” Dr. Bates said.
Dr. Bates said she received “amazing support and encouragement” through this process, especially from Dr. Jenna Boothe and her supervisors Donna Combs, Gwen Collins, and Anna Napier. “They encouraged me to pursue this degree and provided me with positivity when I was discouraged,” she said.
She is grateful to her family, including husband, Wallace; her son, Caleb, her parents and in-laws, and her sisters. “Without their love and support I couldn’t have accomplished all that I have. Lastly, I’d like to send a huge thank you to my students over the past 10 years here at HCTC- they are my inspiration daily and I am so blessed to get to work at a job that I love,” she said.
Dr. Bates was honored by HCTC in 2010 with the New Horizons Faculty Award of Excellence for her teaching in the nursing program. She has been praised for her high academic achievement standards; community and college service; her positive, caring, and inspiring attitude; and for maintaining a stimulating learning environment. She was praised for her work in facilitating a new student seminar along with other nursing faculty, providing nursing students a good orientation to the nursing program so they could understand the study skills and time management required to be successful.
Dr. Bates joined the faculty in 2006. Prior to that, she worked at Kentucky River Medical Center for seven years as a registered nurse and worked for a total of four years at Nim Henson Geriatric Center, both in Jackson.
She holds a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in science from Eastern Kentucky University and three associate degrees from HCTC.
She and her family live in Jackson.