New NTU Nursing Director Aims to Stabilize RN Program

May 1st, 2016 | By | Category: 27-4: Good Medicine, Tribal College News
By Daniel Vandever
Returning home, Michelle Kellywood will serve as the new nursing director of Navajo Technical University’s registered nursing and pre-nursing programs. Photo by Daniel Vandever

Returning home, Michelle Kellywood will serve as the new nursing director of Navajo Technical University’s registered nursing and pre-nursing programs. Photo by Daniel Vandever

Navajo Technical University (NTU) has hired Michelle Kellywood, MSN, RN, as its new nursing director in an effort to redesign the university’s Registered Nursing program and to update its curriculum. With Kellywood on board, NTU will begin accepting new students and plans to relaunch its RN program for the fall 2016 semester.

Since she was hired, Kellywood has worked diligently to update the Registered Nursing program’s strategic plan so that every facet and consideration adheres to the New Mexico Nursing Board licensure standards. Part of this effort requires strengthening the program’s admissions process and engaging a broader network of registered nurses with advanced degrees.

“With a strong faculty, I believe NTU’s program is going to take off and will be one of the best colleges,” says Kellywood, who is appealing for help to regional institutions such as the Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital and the Tséhootsooí Medical Center. “It’s very important that NTU’s program is set up for success.” Kellywood comes to NTU after working the past four years as an assistant professor at University of New Mexico’s Gallup branch campus. Prior to that, Kellywood worked at Cibola General Hospital in Grants, New Mexico, as an emergency room registered nurse and at the women’s correctional facility as a pharmacy nurse.

Kellywood received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of New Mexico’s College of Nursing in Albuquerque, where she is currently one year away from earning a Ph.D. in nursing with a focus on research and policy.

“One of the biggest things for me is that I always wanted to bring my education back home,” explains Kellywood, who lives in Gallup but is originally from Thoreau, just 20 minutes from NTU. “We’re hoping to build our own group of nurses. Students here have family in the area and are more likely to stay once they graduate.”

As nursing director, Kellywood will be tasked with updating NTU’s RN program and strengthening the university’s prenursing certificate. In summing up the significance of the revamped program, Kellywood states, “It’s important to be working with and among other Natives to help the community.”

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