At the conclusion of the spring semester, Diane McElroy, nursing faculty, announced her retirement from Otero Junior College after 25 years of service.
McElroy began her career in nursing while still in high school, where she completed the CAVOC program, which is now known as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
After high school, she completed her Licensed Practical Nurse Program (LPN) and worked as an LPN for nine years before returning to OJC for her associate degree.
McElroy went on to earn her bachelor’s in nursing from University of New Mexico and her master’s in nursing from University of Phoenix.
McElroy began her career at OJC teaching the nurse aide classes before moving to nursing faculty. She also served as the Director of Nursing and Allied Health for two years.
“The nursing program has changed immensely over the past 25 years,” McElroy said. “When I first started, only about 30 students were admitted to the program, now we admit close to 80 students a year.
"Being able to accommodate more students is largely due to the nontraditional program we built, which allows students to travel a distance to attend classes; as well as the expansion to the nursing area on campus, which included the addition of the simulation lab.”
Of all the accomplishments McElroy has celebrated over her 25-year tenure, she takes the most pride in her contributions to the two major curriculum changes the program underwent. In particular, she said, she is proud of the obstetrics (OB) course she teaches, where the tactics she has implemented benefit all styles of learners.
“The biggest change I have seen at OJC since I began is definitely the technology,” McElroy explained. “Then, computers were not the norm. Now every faculty has a computer and it goes with them wherever they go.
"We also no longer use overhead projectors, though I did hold on to some of the transparencies I’ve made over the years!”
Though officially retired, McElroy will stay busy. She plans to continue teaching at OJC as an adjunct instructor, work part-time at Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center, and volunteer on the Arkansas Valley Hospice Board.
She and her husband have four children, 14 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild, and she looks forward to spending more time with all of them.
The staff and faulty of OJC wish McElroy all the best in her retirement.