Dawana graduated from the Associate of Science in Nursing program at Brunswick Junior College in June of 1984. She continued her Bachelors of Science in Nursing at Armstrong State University in December 1991 and her Masters of Science in Nursing at Georgia Southern University in August of 1995. Dawana began her 37-year nursing career in home health, focusing on mental health patients and their families. The first 10 years of her professional career continued to focus on the particular needs of the mental health patient. Dawana’s unique ability to communicate and interact without bias or judgment made her a highly effective nurse, leader, and advocate.
In 1992, Dawana transitioned clinical practice to nursing education by joining the Coastal Georgia Community College faculty as an Instructor of Nursing. She rose through the ranks and achieved Assistant Professor of Nursing in 1998, Associate Professor of Nursing in 2004, and secured tenure in 2005. Dawana obtained her certification in Nursing Education (CNE) in 2015 and was committed to supporting nursing faculty achieve their certifications. She taught numerous courses across several programs in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences during her 29 years at Coastal Georgia. Dawana’s specialty was mental health nursing and therapeutic communication. Her ability to model and teach highly effective communication skills to peers and students gave rise to the “What would Gibbs say” communication mantra.
Dawana received numerous awards and honors during her 29 years as a nurse educator at the College of Coastal Georgia. Examples include the International Nurses Association “Top Nurse in Brunswick Georgia,” Advisor of the Year for College of Coastal Georgia, Albert Crews Service Award, and the Kay Hampton Service to Nursing Education Award. Dawana presented her work nationally, regionally, and locally including at the prestigious American Psychiatric Nurses Association annual conference. The Accreditation Commission for Nursing Education invited her to present at their annual conference. Dawana deserved accolades and recognition. However, Dawana’s most meaningful contribution to the College, the community, and the nursing profession was her direct influence on the 39 ASN and BSN graduating classes that produced over 1700 professional registered nurses with more yet to come.
Dawana’s graduates have gone on to provide directed patient care locally, nationally, and internationally. The graduates have become nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, administrators, Chief Nursing Officers, Doctorates of Nursing Practice, PhDs, entrepreneurs, nurse educators, and more. Dawana’s positive influence will be felt for many generations to come as her former students provide compassionate, empathetic, and authentic care while embracing every opportunity to be the very best nurse they can be.