A professor falls in love with pediatric nursing

Dr. Margaret Bultas, Assistant Professor at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, attended St. Louis Magazine’s Excellence in Nursing Awards reception last night, where she was recognized as a finalist in the pediatrics category.

Dr. Bultas joined us full time in 2006, after serving as adjunct clinical faculty for three years. She has extensive background in pediatric nursing, although she actually started the profession in ICU and home care nursing. She received her BSN from University of Missouri-Columbia and her MSN and PhD from University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Let’s see what she has to say about nursing, pediatrics and teaching.

How did you get into nursing?
I wanted to be a nurse like my mom since I was in kindergarten.  For some reason, I did not choose nursing initially when I went to college. But within a couple weeks of enrolling in college, I changed my major from engineering to nursing as I just couldn’t see myself enjoying the numbers and structures like the other engineering students.

I was least interested in pediatrics. After graduation, I worked as an adult ICU nurse, home care nurse, and home care supervisor. On a whim, one day, I decided to apply for a job at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. To this day, I am still not sure why I decided to do that. I started working there and fell in love with pediatrics and working with parents.

What do you like about nursing?
What I like most about nursing is that there is always something new to learn and something new to excel and be good in. It is constantly changing and that appeals to me.  It has also been a wonderful career that has allowed me to balance a career and my family.

What is the best thing about working in pediatrics?
I simply love working with families as a whole. Parents are such strong advocates; pediatrics allows me to work with them as part of a team in order to come up with the best outcome for their child or children. It is a huge honor to have a parent allow you to work with their child. Kids are also so genuine and I value the opportunity work with them.

And what is the most challenging?
The dynamics of a child’s developmental level coupled with the family’s dynamics makes every situation unique,  but that is what I love about it.

Tell us about your philosophy as an educator.
My philosophy is one of respect and fairness. I try to approach my class as if we are all there to move through the material together and everyone is there to learn…myself included. Students often teach me a lot of things. I believe students are responsible for their learning, but I am there to present it and lead them through it in an organized and logical manner.

I really enjoy sharing my passion for children and families…that is what I most enjoy about teaching nursing. Making great nurses. Also, even though many of my students will not go into pediatrics…there are many things that they will learn in pediatrics that can be incorporated in their nursing practice wherever they end up.

On a personal note
My favorite thing to do would be anything that I can do with my husband and my daughters. My family is the greatest gift that I have ever received. I also love to laugh…I just think often things are just way too serious!

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