Spring holds special meaning for Lander's Leslie Myers
May 29, 2008
Lander University faculty member Leslie MacTaggart Myers will always remember the spring of 2008 as a period when she achieved two important milestones in her nursing career: being selected for Lander's Young Faculty Teaching Award, and receiving her doctoral degree in nursing practice, adult nurse practitioner, from the University of South Carolina.
Myers said she chose nursing after observing the care that nurses provided to members of her family and decided to specialize in obstetrics, gynecology and maternal-child health. She said, "It is perfect fit for me because the focus is different. I am not dealing with ill patients for the most part but helping women manage healthy pregnancies."
The Greenwood native received her nursing degree at Clemson University and a master's in public and community health nursing from the University of South Carolina.
For five years, she worked as a staff nurse at the Women's Center at Self Regional Healthcare where her duties included coaching and patient education in labor and delivery. That prompted an interest in teaching and in 2005 she joined the Lander faculty as an instructor in the four-year nursing program, teaching basic skills in maternal-child nursing. She also teaches in the university's online RN to BSN program.
"What I like most about teaching is sharing my knowledge with students, watching them become excited about what they are learning, and watching them develop," she said. Although Myers is younger than some of her students, she views them as her children. "They receive a loving nursing education at Lander, which is important in helping them develop compassion in patient care."
An enthusiastic advocate for breastfeeding, Myers, founded the Greenwood Alliance for Breastfeeding Cyber-support, an Internet site dedicated to providing comprehensive information to nursing mothers. She said the Web site, www.greenwoodabcs.org, is an alliance of professionals, mothers and community leaders whose goal is providing optimal health for mothers and babies through coordinated breastfeeding awareness and support.
She also drafted legislation to support breastfeeding in the workplace and is collaborating with the South Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition to put the bill before the legislature for consideration in the next legislative session.
Myers and her husband, David, an eighth-grade teacher at Wright Middle School in Abbeville, have two children, Ethan, 4, and Bailey, l. She said motherhood helped her better understand pregnancy and the labor and delivery experience.
While she plans to continue teaching at Lander, Myers will also work as a nurse practitioner at Clinica Gratis in Greenwood, a free medical clinic associated with Community Initiatives Inc. The clinic is open four hours each Monday and provides free healthcare to about 500 patients a year.
Myers has received several awards and honors during her career. Among them are the 2008 award for excellence in nursing research from the Alpha Xi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the international nursing honor society, and the 2006 South Carolina League for Nursing Award for Excellence.