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From Student to Teacher: GWC Nursing Professor Eva Potts Feature Story
Teaching nursing at Golden West College completes a journey that professor Eva Potts began in high school.
“I wanted to do something where I was helpful to people, where I would be active and meeting people,” she says. “Nursing seemed like a good fit.”
After earning her nursing degree from Golden West in 1988, Potts went on to work at several area hospitals while earning a bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College in Maine and a master’s degree in nursing from California State University, Long Beach.
“I had a full career that came from going to Golden West College,” she says. “It really opened a lot of doors for me.”
A lifelong learner, Potts eventually advanced to the level of nurse practitioner and earned a certificate colposcopy which is used to prevent cervical cancer by detecting and treating precancerous lesions early.
But Potts craved something more and in 2006, almost 20 years after graduating from GWC, she returned—this time, as a professor.
“It was so exciting to me,” she says. “I didn’t think I would be returning. It felt like it was full circle.”
For Potts, the highlight of returning has been working with her students.
“The students are phenomenal,” she says. “They are so bright and hardworking and so motivated. I feel very fortunate to have worked with them and to be with them as part of their journey.”
Potts isn’t the only one who is appreciative. As one student wrote on RateMyProfessor.com: “Professor Potts is a blessing to the nursing program. She’s the meaning of compassion and to simply say that wouldn’t even bring 1% justice to the amount of care she has in her students or her patients.”
The School of Nursing at Golden West College offers a program that leads to an Associate Degree in Nursing and qualifies the graduate to take the National Council Licensure Examination to become a Registered Nurse. In 2021/22, the program boasted an NCLEX pass rate among graduates of over 90%.
According to Potts, GWC’s nursing program had to be innovative during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many hospitals were not offering the clinical rotations that are so important to a nursing student’s education. GWC’s program got creative by offering new experiences such as virtual clinics, simulations, and internships at local clinics.
“We have a really dedicated staff. Everybody pitched in and we did not stop the program,” says Potts, who is happy that hospitals are finally back to allowing clinical rotations again. “We put on our thinking caps and we were in overdrive. We came up with solutions so we could meet our objectives in the changed environment.”
When asked what she loves most about teaching, Potts thinks of her students and everything she learns from them.
“My students teach me a lot too,” she says. “I enjoy getting to interact with them and helping them to understand concepts. But I’ve received a lot back from them as well.”