ENMU Nursing Student Has Passion for Teaching

Sean McTavish
Sean McTavish

ENMU Nursing Student Has Passion for Teaching

sean with family
Sean with his family.

Sean McTavish, who is studying nursing at Eastern New Mexico University, has an associate degree in nursing from San Juan College and has been licensed as a registered nurse since 1998.

When asked why he chose to attend ENMU, Sean shared that there is a "national focus for all associate degree nurses to become bachelor prepared. Attaining a BSN from an established University that is fully accredited but yet retains small community value is important."

He found that his instructors have taken a "real interest in me even though the program is internet-based." ENMU professors Dr. Susan Basset and Kathleen Cooper have served as Sean's mentors. "I really cannot say enough good things about them. Through understanding, encouragement and compassion they have helped me when I struggled," he explained. "Both have related personal stories that make me feel supported."

Sean, a recipient of ENMU's "Outstanding Junior Student in the BSN Completion Program" award, said that the "smaller-school feel" and "caring instructors" are his favorite things about being a Greyhound.

His career goal is to become a full-time teacher in surgical theatre or high school health.

"My passion is teaching, and it happens at work all the time," said Sean, who works as a clinical coordinator for the San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, New Mexico. "In and around surgery, I try to help student nurses and surgical techs with their clinical experience, getting them to know the 'why' versus 'just do it' is important to me.''

His favorite class at Eastern has been "Statistics," which he found to be the most tasking course he has taken. "I absolutely dreaded taking that class. Other BSN programs do not require it, and I almost transferred to another school for that reason, but Dr. Basset gave me the encouragement to challenge the course and believed in me," he explained. "It was the most cherished 'A' ever!"

sean with children

He advises Future Greyhounds who may be interested in nursing to "do it because you enjoy helping people and are fascinated by the human body. If not, pick another field of study. When people need help, they need compassion as well, not attitude."

Sean's work experience includes spending four years in the Navy as a corpsman. He was deployed to the Persian Gulf and worked in a field hospital in support of the 1st Marine Division in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during Desert Storm 1991. His current workplace is a level-3 trauma center. He has about 46 direct reports with 6,000 surgical procedures performed annually. He is in Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Certified Nurse Operating Room (CNOR).

Sean was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. His father was a social worker for the states of Arizona and New Mexico, so they moved around a lot between the different field offices in both states. Sean has one brother, who is two years older and has a bachelor's degree in electronic engineering from the University of New Mexico; he works in California with Ethernet technology advancement.

For extracurricular activities, Sean enjoys camping, hiking, sports and bicycle riding. He is the scoutmaster of a local Boy Scout troop. He does volunteer-lecturing in the surgical tech program at San Juan College and is an active member of their Advisory Board. He is also a volunteer for numerous church-related community service projects and is a Farmington High School band booster.

He enjoys that "every day brings about 20 hugs from my son who has Down syndrome."