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College of Nursing

Alumni Spotlight

Joanne Crossan, '94 BSN '10 MSN
Nurse Practitioner, Palmetto Health Baptist

Joanne Crossan

Tell us a little bit about you.

I’ve been married to my husband Jim for almost 33 years. We have two wonderful children — Katherine is a graduate student at Clemson getting a masters degree in fine arts; Andrew is a junior at USC majoring in English with a concentration in writing.  I grew up in New York but have lived in SC for the past 27 years.  We have several pets — three cats, a dog and a turtle. I am a seven year breast cancer survivor. 

Why did you choose nursing, and why USC?

I became a nurse later in life. My first college degree was in journalism, and I worked in media and advertising for several years. In my late twenties, I started to feel that I wanted to do more with my life and nursing seemed like a good fit for me. As the oldest of four kids, I was always taking care of somebody when we were growing up. USC’s nursing program was well-respected and I was fortunate enough to get in.

Describe your greatest professional moment.

There have been many amazing moments in my professional life. I’m very proud of having worked as a nurse in the Surgical Trauma Unit at Palmetto Health Richland before becoming a nurse practitioner. It was very challenging, but I learned a great deal and was excited to come to work every day. There have been many small moments that all nurses have — holding a patient’s hand when they’re scared, assuring them that everything was going to be all right, crying with them when it wasn’t.

I remember running into a woman at my kids’ high school one day. She worked in the school office and said she recognized me. She told me that I had taken care of her uncle after an accident. She said that I had reassured them, taken good care of him and made a real difference to her family. As nurses, we don’t often receive the appreciation we deserve so this was a special moment.

Tell us about your experience as a nurse preceptor.

Precepting is my way of giving back to the many nurses and NPs who have guided me along the way. Having students and seeing their enthusiasm helps remind me how much I love nursing. One of the aspects of precepting that is most satisfying to me is seeing my former students succeed. I’ve had several students who struggled initially. It’s particularly gratifying to see their confidence increase as they master skills and go on to do great work.

When you aren’t at work, where can you be found?

When I’m not at work, I read, cook and bake (I make great chocolate chip cookies), crochet, watch the Food Network and shows like “The Crown,” and work in the yard.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to a new nursing graduate?

The best advice I can give new nurses is to hone their time management and critical thinking skills. It’s important to understand why you’re doing what you do for your patients.  You see people at their most vulnerable and they rely on you help them, to teach them, and to translate what their doctors tell them into terms they can understand.