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TCU Magazine "Capturing Budapest"

Articles:   Business | Addran |Science and engineering | Fine arts

Deans list

The University names five (three newcomers and two current TCU deans) of the seven who will lead its new colleges

Rhonda Keen-Payne
Add Ran College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Personal: Born January 10, 1954, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She and husband George Payne met at TCU. They and son Will, 12, enjoy travel, study, golf and tending tomato plants.

Education: PhD, Texas Woman's University, 1985
MNSc, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 1981
BSN, TCU, 1978

Professional: A TCU professor since 1982 and acting dean of Harris College of Nursing since 1999, Dr. Keen-Payne worked from 1978-82 as a clinical nurse specialist as a staff nurse for Harris Methodist Hospital. Her publications cover topics that include consumerism, clinical care and the 1918 influenza epidemic.

The pregnant woman told the labor nurse she wanted to deliver this child naturally.

Because her first delivery had been by Cesarean, her doctor wouldn't even discuss it.

Yet the mother had read about new research that indicated such a decision was possible, and practical.

That labor nurse, now dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, mentioned this to the doctor. He laughed and said, "Can you imagine? Good Housekeeping educating our patients."

Keen-Payne had a different reaction. Isn't it unfortunate that that's where they go for the latest research in this practice? "That's when I thought, 'I'm in the wrong place, "said Keen-Payne, wryly adding that her head nurse confirmed that for her.

"I care very much about producing graduates who are going to make a difference in the workplace," she said. "That same experience I had 20 years ago still occurs. If we educate nurses properly, they will teach patients to educate themselves and stay involved as team members in care."

History was Keen-Payne's first academic choice but she traveled through a variety of disciplines before settling on nursing, a socially-acceptable choice for many women of the time.

Not that Keen-Payne wishes she was doing something else now. The 46-year-old administrator quickly developed a true passion for nursing and has found ways to incorporate her other interests into her work.

Her research includes a study of the 1918 flu epidemic and editing the diary of a Civil War nurse. Her search for the nurse's life has moved into genealogical data, census records and war archives -- another passion.

Keen-Payne predicts nurses will continue to be the backbone of health care and hopes to educate her students to take an active role in the broader view of health care.

"A hospital is no longer the center of care and the average stay in an emergency room is quite brief," she said. "The spectrum of care includes our homes, the hospital, clinics, schools, perhaps places we've not yet identified."