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Feature: Dr. Paula McWilliam

by Walker John ‘20

This semester, Dr. Paula McWilliam began her next endeavor as the new director for nursing at Franklin Pierce, extending her already long professional resume. She also works as an affiliate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of New Hampshire.

Starting out, McWilliam was a nurse practitioner at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital where she cared for sick and fragile children. During her time here, she learned skills that would carry her through her career in nursing.

“Caring for these children taught me that nursing is more than just the children,” McWilliam said in her phone interview. “I had to learn to extend this care to the families and loved ones. It can sometimes become so focused on the patients that we forget to help those around them.”

Prior to Franklin Pierce University, Dr. Paula McWilliam took part in the invention of a new type of pediatric laryngoscope, a tube that assists infants in breathing. Partnered with both Stanford and the University of New Hampshire Science Center, McWilliam cites this feat as one of her biggest accomplishments yet.

Furthermore, throughout her career, McWilliam has seen the rise in technology drastically change the field of nursing. Although she notes that it has helped lessen the amount of errors in terms of medicine and patient care, she also feels technology has created a barrier.

“The use of technology can take away from time with the patients,” McWilliam said. “It tends to make things less personal, and it makes it harder to connect with the families.”

As the new Director of Nursing, McWilliam looks forward to helping the next generation of nurses reach their potential. She encourages them to be flexible, and go after the career they want.

“There are so many areas in nursing. My advice is to go to the biggest hospital you can for training,” McWilliam said. “Learn everything you can and become immersed.”

McWilliam also has her Masters of Science and Nursing from SUNY at Stony Brook, and her Doctoral Degree in Higher Education from Nova Southeastern University.

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