MSU's Brodell completes doctorate
By Andrea Johnson, Minot Daily News Staff Writer
Becky Brodell has been a nurse for more than 35 years and has trained the next generation of nurses as an assistant professor of nursing at Minot State University. On Friday, Brodell will officially become "Dr. Brodell" when she receives her doctorate in philsophy from the University of North Dakota.
Brodell, a mother of five and grandmother of 13, had two knee replacements and battled breast cancer while doing the coursework, but is proud that she still finished her coursework on time. She spent four years finishing her coursework, taking one course a semester and two in the summer through an outreach program offered by UND at Bismarck State College. She attended a summer seminar every summer at the campus in Grand Forks.
"This degree is a major accomplishment for me because I started the program in the fall of 2005," said Brodell. "Then at Christmas vacation of 2005 I had a right total knee replacement. The following Christmas vacation I had the other knee replaced. In March of 2007 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I feared death at this point and did not know if I could continue with my education, but I did. A week later during spring break I had a mastectomy. Then on Easter vacation I started chemotherapy. I had six chemo treatments, three weeks apart, so this went into summer classes. I stayed in the dorm, went to class in the morning and rested in the afternoon. In the fall I started with 33 radiation treatments. These were all scheduled in the afternoon after work. Throughout all of this I never missed any of my Ph.D classes."
Brodell's breast cancer is now in remission.
Brodell's dissertation was on the topic of "Views of Student Nursing on Caring and Technology" and how best to teach prospective nurses how to show patients caring while learning to use the most up-to-date technology. Brodell said nursing students at MSU learn how to display the proper bedside manner and show care and advocacy for patients at the same time they're learning how to use the most up to date technological advances. In her dissertation she cites research gained from student surveys, a survey of relevant literature and suggestions for future courses.
Being the patient herself during her studies has made Brodell appreciate every day, she said.
Brodell's office is filled with reminders of her career. She has pictures of herself as a young nurse just starting her career in 1975. She worked as a nurse for 14 years then went on for a bachelor's degree in nursing at Minot State University in 1989, followed by a master's in nursing eduction from the University of Mary in 1995.
She keeps pictures of each class of nursing students in her office and serves as the adviser for the Student Nurses Association. Nursing students at Minot State University place a very high value on caring for patients and being good advocates for them, she said.
Brodell said she grew close to the other members of her cohort, who all finished the program together, and her adviser Richard Landry.
It will be great to walk across the stage and accept her doctorate, she said.