Pam Garty, who has taught nursing classes at Sandhills Community College since 1988, received her own degree at Sandhills. Both of her parents were instructors at the college; also, five of her six siblings in the Watts family went to Sandhills. But it was the urging of Dr. Donald Wallace at Moore Memorial Hospital that caused young Pam to begin her nursing studies.
“I was working as a secretary and a technician at the hospital and Dr. Wallace recommended I begin the nursing program at Sandhills,” she recalls. “That turned out to be an excellent idea.”
Mrs. Garty completed her Registered Nursing degree in 1974 and began her nursing career. She worked full time at Moore Memorial (now FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital) while also earning her bachelor’s degree at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1975 and then her master’s degree at Duke University in 1994.
“My Sandhills education prepared me well for those other schools and, more importantly, for my work as a nurse,” Mrs. Garty says.
Her career took an important turn in 1988 when she began teaching at Sandhills, first part-time then as a full-time instructor in all three of the nursing programs offered.
“Nancy Hall and the other excellent instructors I had served as wonderful role models for me,” she reports.
Besides advancements in medical information, Mrs. Garty has seen other significant changes in the program. “When I was a student here, I was 29 years old and one of the oldest nursing students in the class,” she says. “Today, we have nursing students of all ages, including many who are displaced workers. One of our students was 62 years old.”
Mrs. Garty retired from full-time instruction in 2011 but continues teaching clinical classes. Recently she ran into one of her former students at FirstHealth. The Sandhills’ graduate told Mrs. Garty that she is now a nurse educator on her unit.
“That made me proud,” says Mrs. Garty. “Sandhills is responsible for educating so many of the fine nurses in this area.”
Original source, “50/50” 2012