San Marcos,
11:31 AM

Helping to Build a Healthy Health Care Industry

By David Ogul

“We’re innovative, we have quality students and we’re providing quality nurses”

-- Deborah Bennett

She began training as a nurse at the age of 14 in a small medical center serving the rural, border town of Deming, New Mexico. Today, Deborah Bennett is training a new generation of health care professionals as an instructor and Nursing Simulation Director at Cal State San Marcos.

“My passion is teaching and serving the needs of our students,” Bennett said.

Bennett comes from a family of nurses, and her aunt ran the nursing program at the only hospital in the dusty town of Deming. When Bennett showed an interest in nursing, her aunt put her to work learning everything from checking blood pressures and vital signs to helping patients get out of bed and assisting new moms in the maternity ward. Her career would go on to include working as a nurse educator at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach and nurse manager at Children’s Primary Care Medical Group and Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers in San Diego.

When Dr. Judy Papenhausen was charged with putting together CSUSM’s nursing program, Bennett was one of the first people she called. Bennett developed or taught more than eight new courses during her first few years alone, all while earning high marks from her students who describe her as a passionate, effective instructor. Her work was recognized through the President’s Award for Outstanding Lecturer in 2009.

“We’re innovative, we have quality students and we’re providing quality nurses,” said Bennett, who added that well more than 200 nursing students enroll at the university each year. “Without CSUSM there would be a shortage of nurses in our area.”