Guiding good nurses

Dr. Nina Ouimette shares her calling to lead HPU's School of Nursing

by Rebekah Sterling '18

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Nina Ouimette, dean of HPU’s School of Nursing and professor of nursing, has always felt called to serve. Teaching the next generation of nurses has been a large part of fulfilling that calling. 

Dr. Ouimette has a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, Master of Science degrees in nursing and in child development and family relations, and a doctorate in instructional technologies. She is also nationally certified in nursing informatics. 

In the early part of her career, Dr. Ouimette worked as a clinical nurse in pediatrics. She later worked for Hendrick Health in Abilene as a medical-surgical nurse educator and led staff development before becoming a part of Hendrick’s first Department of Nursing Informatics. Following her time at Hendrick, Dr. Ouimette worked as a faculty member at Hardin-Simmons University’s Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing and was eventually named dean. 

After more than 40 years of learning about nursing, working as a nurse, and educating nurses and future nurses, Dr. Ouimette’s desire to serve ultimately led her to HPU. 

“When I was contacted about this position at HPU, I just decided to take that leap of faith,” she shared. “It’s not often that you get the opportunity to start up a whole new program. It was just a gift.”

Dr. Ouimette joined HPU’s faculty in 2017 and immediately went to work on developing the program. The School of Nursing received its Texas Board of Nursing program approval in 2018 and is currently pursuing national certification. 

Nursing is now one of the fastest-growing majors at HPU. A major element of the school’s curriculum is unifying Christian values with important nursing skills and characteristics. 

“A lot of moral ethics from our faith are the moral ethics that you need as a nurse,” Dr. Ouimette explained. “In nursing you have to take care of everyone, and we teach how to serve in a way that is non-judgmental and maintains confidentiality.”

Students in the School of Nursing have had many opportunities to serve the community throughout the course of the pandemic. Last year’s seniors helped give more than 3,000 vaccines at Brown County’s mass vaccine clinics, while juniors worked in nursing homes that were under-staffed. Dr. Ouimette expressed how proud she is of how the students have represented HPU off campus. 

“People know our students are reliable and consistent,” she said. “We have a good relationship with Hendrick Health, the health department, the school systems, Center for Life Resources, the fire department and EMT services.”

Dr. Ouimette shared how rewarding it has been to work in a Christian environment where the success of every student is valued and prioritized.

"Now I'm at a place where I can give back. My calling now is just helping others grow."

“I love growing people – the faculty, the staff and the students,” she said. “I love that, in my spiritual journey, I’m still learning and I’m always going to be growing, but I’m also at a point where I can teach and mentor.” 

Dr. Ouimette and the faculty and staff within the School of Nursing are proud of the program they’ve developed, which has tripled in size since its start in 2018. They hope to eventually have approximately 30 students in each cohort and develop an accelerated program for non-traditional students. 

Dr. Ouimette currently lives in Brownwood with her husband, Mark. They have three grown children – John, Michelle and Nicole – and three granddaughters – Raegan, Cora and Astrid. 

As she looks with anticipation toward the future of the nursing program, Dr. Ouimette is grateful for all that has prepared her for this season. 

“I’ve been enriched by working in small and large environments and I’ve been enriched by people along the way,” she shared. “Now I’m at a place where I can give back. My calling now is just helping others grow.”

Photo #1: Dr. Nina Ouimette’s 43 years of experience in the nursing field help her lead HPU’s School of Nursing. 

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