The national search for Palm Beach State College’s nursing director has ended internally with the appointment of Dr. Deborah Copeland, a longtime professor with experience working in clinical roles as a practitioner and administrator.
Copeland, who has been serving as interim nursing director since January, will move into the role permanently on Oct. 1. She replaces Buddy Herrington, who retired last year.
“I am excited about Dr. Copeland formally accepting the nursing director position. She is an extremely knowledgeable individual who is a champion for supporting both students and faculty,” said Al Baldwin, dean of health sciences. “Her passion for excellence in the classroom and in the clinical setting makes her an asset in helping to further maintain our position as being the leader in preparing the next generation of nurses.”
As nursing director, Copeland oversees the Licensed Practical Nursing, Patient Care Assistant and the Associate in Science degree in Nursing programs. Together, the programs have nearly 600 students. Copeland said although she enjoys teaching, she looks forward to serving in the administrative role to continue to enhance the programs.
“I felt at this stage, I could make more of a difference on the larger scale as the program director,” she said, noting that she has helped lead the department through curriculum changes and a re-accreditation process. “I think we have a terrific program. As a faculty person one can do much to influence each student, and this role will provide the opportunity to assist and remove obstacles to keep us moving forward.”
Prior to joining the PBSC faculty in 2000, Copeland worked in clinical roles and in quality management at St. Mary’s and Good Samaritan hospitals. She has worked tirelessly at PBSC to support the nursing program based at both the Belle Glade and Lake Worth campuses. She served as department chair of the Belle Glade campus site after it was established in 2009. She also served as the interim director of the PBSC RN to BSN program in 2015.
Copeland has been a trendsetter with other faculty in enhancing the use of technology in the classroom and the adoption of simulation. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, Florida Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing. She has been the advisor for the College’s Nursing Student Association for 11 years.
Copeland holds an A.S. degree in nursing, bachelor’s in general studies and a B.S.N. from Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music. She also holds a M.S.N and a Ph.D. in nursing from Barry University.