Note: The following story appears in the fall issue of Hindsight alumni magazine. For more information about the Hinds Alumni Association, see the website.
RAYMOND – Solid foundations in healthcare are built one satisfied patient at a time.
For Brenda Howie, the essentials of caregiving are built with the kinds of foundations laid every day at Hinds Community College for its nursing students.
“Hinds was my foundation and I built it in the Associate Degree Nursing program,” said Howie, who marked her 40th year in nursing in 2017 alongside being named chief nursing officer at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center, where she’s worked since 1981. “My education at Hinds is the reason I am where I am today.”
Howie was in the Student Nursing Association during her time in the program at Hinds, when it was housed at the Raymond Campus with other science classes. The Jackson Campus-Nursing/Allied Health Center opened in 1982.
“I lived at home during school and it was a busy two years,” she said. “I was taking all my prerequisites with my nursing. We had a checkoff labs back then instead of simulation labs. We did IVs and injections on each other.”
Howie began at Baptist as a staff nurse on a medical-surgical unit. She has served various roles, including staff nurse, educator, assistant manager, nurse manager and clinical director. Additionally, she has been an adjunct clinical instructor for both Hinds and Mississippi College School of Nursing.
“It is always wonderful when our graduates are recognized for excellence in their profession,” said Dr. Libby Mahaffey, current dean of Nursing and Allied Health, who also taught part of Howie’s doctoral program. “Brenda Howie is an outstanding example. This promotion is well deserved, and I know Brenda will continue to serve Baptist with excellence.”
In her current role, Howie provides leadership to more than 1,000 RNs in the hospital’s nursing department. She also oversees the Educational Resource Center and is the executive leader for service.
In August 2015, Howie obtained her doctorate degree in Nursing Education and Administration from William Carey University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Her days in front of students in a classroom might be done, but she emphasizes that teaching never really stops in her world.
“You teach every day,” she said. “The biggest change is technology, especially with electronic medical records.”
The field today has many challenges, including keeping quality personnel.
“In today’s world, there’s so many more avenues, professionally, a nurse can take,” she said. “It’s challenging to keep a strong workforce. You have to adapt and learn with the generations.
“You have to learn how to take time to listen to the patients. They are why I’m still here today. You have to learn the right words at the right time, so you can communicate with them while utilizing all the advanced technology we have in healthcare today. Patients and their families are at the center of why we do what we do.”