Skip to main content
San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Teaching Compassion: Spotlight on DAISY Award® Winner Terry Campbell

May 9, 2023

The DAISY Foundation™ is a non-profit organization that bestows The DAISY Award® to honor members of the nursing profession from student, faculty, to practicing nurses all over the world.  The foundation’s goal is to inspire all by recognizing exceptional gifts of compassion and dedication to those involved in the nursing field. Last month it was given to Terry Campbell, Vocational Nursing Instructor at the SJVC Rancho Mirage campus.

Terry was nominated by a group of students from the SJVC Vocational Nursing program who consistently and enthusiastically stated what an outstanding mentor she is. To them, she is someone who embodies everything that nursing is. They praised her for never letting any student settle for less, always being sure everyone thoroughly understands what they are learning and always there to tackle any problem large or small. She helps with both academic and personal challenges, whether getting better organized or changing one’s attitude to meet whatever the issue is head on. They said she never discriminates between students and treats everyone equally.

Above all, she teaches lifelong lessons to be a better person while learning to be the best nurse you can be. Because, that is what is at the heart of a good nurse; someone who genuinely cares for their patients and focuses on them as a human being while competently providing the best healthcare they can. Who is this amazing teacher of nursing?  This is her story.


Congratulations on winning the DAISY Award for Faculty!  How did you react when you heard you won?

I was surprised. I was not expecting the DAISY Award. I don’t see myself being rewarded for something I love to do. Teaching is my passion, not a job.

Do you think receiving it will change you in any way?

No, because, as I said, I’m genuinely passionate about what I do. I do it regardless.  Nursing is not something that we put on. It’s who we are.

The DAISY Award honors a teacher who inspires their students to be the kind of nurse that gives genuine care for the person as well as having competency in their job.  How do you teach compassion in the classroom?

Compassion is an essential quality of a good nurse. So my way to teach compassion is to use empathy with each student. When I teach, I ask myself how would I want to be taught as a student? I go one on one with the students. I absorb all the good from other instructors and incorporate their teaching style where I can. When I go home at the end of the day, I reflect on how I could do better.  How much attention did I give to that particular student? If I were he/she, what would I want my instructor to say or do?  How would I, the student, want to learn.


When you’re beginning with a new class of students, what do you find are the qualities that make someone a naturally good nursing student?

You don’t have to have experienced this, but it is true that if a student has had a relative who has been sick and has lived with them or come in close contact with them, they have already developed empathy and are naturally more compassionate and would make good nurses.  The other quality that makes becoming a nurse easier is if you have mastered the skills of time management and organization. This is a challenging program so I prioritize helping students learn time management and organization. Once a student is able to manage it, they settle down and are much more productive.


What have you found, in your experience, to be the most rewarding things about teaching?

When my students say I can’t.  Then we trouble shoot and dig deeper. When their neurons start to fire, their level of confidence increases and critical thinking improves, I see them light up and start taking on challenges, asking, answering and analyzing questions.


Is there a particular story that stands out about teaching a student that you remember?

I had a student that recently graduated who was very challenged at first. She had a hard time absorbing material and struggled with her time management and organization.  I encouraged her with some different techniques, like writing questions as she studied and going back to answer them, working with flash cards, and how to critically analyze a question and read all the options carefully before answering. She worked hard and mastered the material.

She was so excited by what she achieved, she volunteered in the next session to tell the new students her story to encourage them to learn how to do it! She shared with them what she came to understand, that she was in the wrong mindset. That it’s hard when you make it hard. If you implement certain strategies, it’s just not as hard.


How old were you when you decided to go into nursing? And why did you go into nursing?

I went into nursing because it was my mom’s dream, and she could not fulfill her dream because she had a family. I was 19 when I decided to go into nursing. Nursing was a very good career option in Jamaica, where I was born, because it was paid by the government; you got a stipend for one to three years.


How did you end up in the United States? And in particular in southern California?

I got my general RN in Jamaica, as well my bachelor’s degree and became a certified Critical Care Nurse and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse. In 2010, I moved to Abu Dhabi and worked as a charge nurse, then as a clinical manager, then a clinical resource nurse for the Burns Unit, and Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit. I had visited Palm Springs, California since 2013 and decided to leave Abu Dhabi in 2016. I don’t like cold weather! So, I moved to southern California and worked parttime at Desert Regional Medical Center in the ICU unit. I still work there parttime.


When did you decide to switch to teaching?

I had been teaching in Jamaica part time, and while I was in Abu Dhabi I completed a Masters in Nursing Education. When I got to Palm Springs, I started teaching in addition to working in the ICU. In 2017 I worked at California Nurses Education Institute and from there was offered a job at SJVC.

Request Information

Step 1 of 2

* Required Field