Growing up in a family that faced many medical problems that required her care, Norma Jane Richards, RN, thought that nursing was the right career path for her. She was inspired by a local nurse, Ruth Carter, RN, who she would speak to frequently about her profession. Ms. Richards began her profession 45-year career as a staff nurse in the LSU female surgery unit of Charity Hospital in New Orleans. She later worked in the intensive care unit at Howard Memorial Hospital in Biloxi, Mississippi. Most recently, she was an instructor of medical-surgical nursing at the Jefferson Davis campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) in Gulfport, Mississippi, for 35 years.
Prior to pursuing a professional career, Ms. Richards attended the School of Nursing at Louisiana State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1971. She then matriculated at Texas Woman’s University, where she obtained a Master of Science with an emphasis in medical-surgical nursing in 1981, also earning the role of clinical nurse specialist. In addition, Ms. Richards was board certified as a medical-surgery nurse through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Sponsored by the American Heart Association, Ms. Richards established the first community training center within a state community college in Mississippi to teach CPR and advanced cardiac life support to health care providers. In order to keep up with trends in her profession, she was affiliated with a number of professional organizations including the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, the American Nurses Association and was past-president of District #5 of the Mississippi Nurses Association.
Awarded for her achievements with the MGCCC Instructor of the Year Award, Ms. Richards was nominated by the students for her work and caring attitude toward them. Likewise, she is a recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and has been listed in the fourth edition of Who’s Who in American Nursing.