Finishing Strong: 2014 Graduate Joyce Tate

Joyce Tate’s M.S. in Nursing Administration isn’t just a tribute to her hard work and perseverance, but a testament to the fact that dreams can come true at any age.

“You’re never too old to follow a dream,” the 70-year-old graduate explains. “You can do whatever you want to do. You just have to go for it!”

Joyce first got her diploma in nursing in 1965 from the Chandler School of Nursing, and went straight into being an Operating Room (OR) Nurse. After gaining 15 years of hands-on experience, she took a job teaching surgical technology at the College of Coastal Georgia. There, she truly fell in the love with the higher education side of nursing, and later became the program and clinical director for surgical technology.

In 1992, Joyce decided she was ready to pursue her bachelor’s degree, but her plans were put on hold when her husband suddenly passed away. Several years later, she began her pursuit once more. Once again, she faced an unexpected challenge when her mother became ill.

“Caring for my mother became my top priority,” she says. “When she passed away in 1999, I started going back to school.”

In 2002, at the age of 58, Joyce graduated from Armstrong with a B.S. in Nursing. In 2009, she became the lab coordinator for Coastal Georgia’s RN programs. This new position required her to pursue a master’s degree. Although she was contemplating retirement, she decided to stay the course.

“I loved what I did so much, that I decided I wouldn’t retire because I was healthy and I loved teaching students,” she explains.

The nursing administration program at Armstrong has been an eye-opening experience for Joyce. While she certainly has more years of experience than her peers and many of her professors, she gained new knowledge and explored new perspectives in nursing through her program at Armstrong.

“The program gave me a different perspective than what I am used to,” she explains. “I have learned so much about the administrative part of nursing.”

Now a clinical assistant professor of nursing and lab coordinator for the nursing programs at Coastal Georgia, Joyce has been able to take what she learned at Armstrong and implement it in her own classroom.

“Armstrong has helped me keep up with the changing times,” Joyce says. “Nursing has come a long way since 1965.”