Dr. Lynn Hogan

UAH Alumna Dr. Lynn Hogan

Courtesy Calhoun Community College

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of the University of Alabama System, announced that Dr. Lynn Hogan, DPN, RN, has won the 2020 Alumni of Achievement Award for the College of Nursing. The selection was made by the Board of Directors of The UAH Alumni Association to recognize alumni for their outstanding accomplishments in their career and community.

Dr. Hogan earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at The University of Florida, then moved to Huntsville to achieve her Master of Science in Nursing and Nursing Administration at UAH in 1999. She returned to her alma mater in 2008 to become a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). She has been on faculty since 2004 and the Nursing Department Chair at Calhoun Community College since 2011.

In all, Dr. Hogan has amassed 34 years of experience in nursing, including 18 years in acute care nursing and 16 years in higher education. She has been the Administrator for RN and LPN nursing programs on both the Decatur and Huntsville campuses, responsible for overseeing and supporting a student enrollment of 450. The licensure pass rates under her watch over the last five years have exceeded both the state and national averages, and she has just led a successful program accreditation effort in 2020.

Looking back on her decision to become a nurse reveals a path to her current position that would have been difficult to chart early on, but one that has ultimately become the perfect fit for this career caregiver.

“I was not one of those children who said she was going to be a nurse from an early age,” Dr. Hogan explains. “I’m the youngest in my family, and my parents are educators. All of my family are. As the youngest of five, I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew I was not going to be a teacher. So I spent a couple of years in community college, taking time to think about transferring to a four-year institution. I was drawn to a lot of sciences over the years, so it all fit for nursing. It was as good a decision as an 18-year-old could make.”

As Dr. Hogan progressed through her career, though she enjoyed bedside nursing, she came to appreciate other facets of her professional life, passions that begin to nibble at the edges of her sense of just whom she was and whom she wanted to be.

“Through the years I’ve enjoyed staff development, teaching, new technology, new policies and procedures that go into place when the evidence changes,” she says. “Then I ran into a friend who was working at Calhoun, and she encouraged me to go to back to school to get my M.S. so I could teach. And that sounded really good to me. She was at UAH, and it was right here in my backyard. It was my first choice. Working at Huntsville Hospital, I was involved in a lot of patient interaction, fact-finding, finding what patient’s needs are, and I figured out that ultimately the goal I had in mind was getting my M.S. to teach in the nursing education setting. So I still ended up as a teacher!” she says with a smile. “It blended the best of both things about nursing and teaching for me.”

As someone who has worn a number of different hats and experienced nursing from many perspectives, as a nurse, academic and administrator, it’s interesting for Dr. Hogan to consider how the roles compare. For instance, does she miss nursing on a day-to-day basis?

“As a nurse you get your satisfaction at the bedside,” she says. “The things you do to help your patient get well, get better, reach their max potential and hopefully go home. Those experiences make your job rewarding. You miss that in education, but your focus becomes the students, and when you see them realizing their goals, particularly in a community college population of many non-traditional students, the chance to see them change their lives for themselves and their families is very satisfying.”

With all her responsibilities, one might wonder what it’s like to oversee two different campuses. For Dr. Hogan, the key to keeping on top of things is robust support.

“The Decatur campus is the primary program location,” she says. “That’s where it started in 1953. The new campus in Huntsville has provided some challenges, but I have a very strong team there. So I try to spend one day a week there, and it hasn’t been too difficult to keep up thanks to the help and support I have.”

As busy as her days tend to be, she has found time to give back to her community in plenty of other ways as well. Dr. Hogan is on the Alabama Board of Nursing Education Advisory Committee, is past vice-president of the Alabama Council of Nurse Administrators, serves as a peer evaluator for the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), participates in nursing curriculum review for the Alabama Community College System, chaired the LPN Mobility curriculum revision committee and has supported the American Heart Association as Team Chair. She attends Trinity Baptist Church where she has traveled to support domestic and foreign missions, as well.

She still has a soft spot for her alma mater and shares a strong bond with friends in the UAH College of Nursing, Dr. Karen Frith, Associate Dean, Graduate Programs Professor, and the UAH Dean of the College of Nursing, Dr. Marsha Howell Adams.

“All nursing programs have to go through accreditation on an 8-10 year cycle,” Dr. Hogan says. “It’s a great learning process for you to self-evaluate all the criteria that you strive to meet. It’s a lot of work on top of what you are trying to do every day, but it’s a group effort. Everybody pitches in and does their part of the work, and when the accreditation team comes for the visit, and they agree with what you have said about yourself, that is very satisfying and affirming, and good for the students and the institution in maintaining that quality program. I also participated in panels at UAH last November when Dr. Adams invited me over to meet with their accreditation team. It was gratifying to come back to support their accreditation effort as a graduate. Myself and two other women were the inaugural UAH Doctor of Nursing Practice graduates in 2009.”

It is enlightening to note what kind of advice and encouragement Dr. Hogan gives to young students who are considering nursing as a career, especially in these challenging times.

“Nursing is certainly a calling,” she says. “If you are so moved to work in that field, then you’ve already weighed out the risks and benefits. Then your responsibilities lie in understanding the science and taking measures to be safe. It can be overwhelming. At Calhoun we held a COVID-19 meeting about how the faculty were feeling about going to the hospital with their students, and they agreed they feel safer at the hospital ‘because we know who has COVID! We don’t know this at the grocery store!’ Certainly, for someone considering it, your undergrad degree in nursing will take you so many places. There are so many different ways to be a nurse. It will give you access to a variety of opportunities.”