Assistant Professor Charlotte Stephens, BSN, MSN, APRN
MSN, University of South Carolina
BSN, East Carolina University
BS in Social Services, Campbell University
Pathophysiology (NUR 310)
Health Assessment (NUR 352)
Texas A&M University studied a wellness program that she developed at a South Carolina telecommunications firm, tapping it as one of ten successful workplace wellness programs in the country.
But the innovation of 30-year nursing veteran Charlotte Stephens doesn’t end there. She also developed a South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control pilot program that identifies and educates underserved senior citizens who have untreated chronic diseases. And as a founding faculty member of Anderson’s School of Nursing, she was a driving force behind the design of its innovative curriculum.
Stephens, who presented her state Department of Health program at a statewide training session, has a lot to share with students too: from her running of a workplace clinic that served 1,500 employees, to the tenacity it took to become a nurse when family members didn’t think she was cut out for it.
Stephens felt called to nursing at age 8. During regular visits to her grandmother’s house in Dillon County, South Carolina, she discovered an old nursing textbook. Through black and white, drawn illustrations, the book from the 1930s or ‘40s covered topics such as how to make a nursing bed, position patients, and care for skin.
Despite her early interest in the field, Stephens didn’t pursue nursing until she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social services; her mother didn’t think she could thrive in a traumatic medical or hospital setting, Stephens said.
But even though her first degree wasn’t in nursing, Stephens was nicknamed “The Red Cross” by a professor because she verbally aided and defended fellow students who were losing classroom discussions. Stephens also displayed her affinity for care in her completion of her social work apprenticeship at a nursing home.
Upon graduation, Stephens enrolled in a nursing program at a technical college in North Carolina and convinced staff at a local hospital to hire her as an EKG technician. The hospital later hired her as a licensed practical nurse, then as an RN, after she earned an associate’s degree in nursing. After completing a B.S. in nursing, Stephens worked for more than 15 years as an RN for home care agencies, serving hospice patients and families in their homes and making home visits to medical patients in recovery.
Stephens became a nurse practitioner in 2001 after earning a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina. Family practice was her specialty, and she worked in private practice for the next ten years. As a nurse practitioner, she boosted employee use of an on-site clinic at a telecommunications firm by more than 70 percent. She helped employees manage high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and asthma. Stephens also led a yearlong, voluntary, exercise, weight loss, and nutrition program for employees called “Metabolic Makeover” whose results are being finalized for national publication.
Stephens advocates students’ pursuit of nursing because of its overwhelming opportunities for academic achievement, professional growth, job security, and travel. She offers AU nursing students an example of the positive, systemic change a nurse can make in a wide variety of settings. She also is an inspiring portrait of how tenacity in pursuing nursing can reap both personal rewards and glory to God.
AU School of Nursing dean, Dr. Pamela Binns-Turner, says Stephens is a tremendous asset to students.
“Charlotte is not only gifted as a nurse practitioner but also has an uncanny talent of connecting with an individual on a personal level,” Dr. Binns-Turner said. “…I knew that Charlotte would be a critical and solid component of our foundational faculty and would be able to provide our nursing students with a unique perspective on caring and ministering to patients and inspire them to reach their full potential as professional nurses.”
In addition to serving as an AU prof, Stephens is an AU mom. Her daughter Jamie Sellers, a member of the class of 2014, is a psychology major. And her daughter Joya Sellers, who graduated in 2008, was an early childhood/elementary education major.
See Assistant Professor Charlotte Stephens’ curriculum vitae.
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