Faculty Spotlight: Jolene Lynn

Jolene Lynn, RN, PhD



A registered nurse for 36 years, she graduated from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). She has been a nurse educator for over 20 years, teaching for Johnson County Community College and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) nursing programs. Her practice experience includes emergency, day surgery and wound care.

Serving as the BSN Program Director at UMKC for over nine years, Lynn completed her MSN-Nurse Educator at UMKC and her Doctor of Philosophy-Nursing at the University of Missouri-Saint Louis.

Q: Describe your new position?

My position deals with administrative responsibilities like budgets and planning, but since we’re such a small group of faculty for the nursing program, we do a lot of things together. We meet on Mondays and address all kinds of issues — from student concerns to teaching techniques — and have a good team approach. With nearly 700 students in the nursing program, our relatively small staff is busy. 

I’m still teaching the introduction courses and am the lead for the Theory of Nursing course — my favorite. 

Q: How did you choose nursing?

I’m a first-generation college student, and my parents were adamant that my sisters and I continue our education. My dad was frustrated without a degree to get ahead and wanted better possibilities for us. I was a candy striper in junior high, and the nurses were so kind and inspiring. They treated me like I was part of the team even though I was just passing out water and magazines. It was because of that experience that I went into nursing.

I was the first nurse in my family. My husband was a respiratory therapist for 30 years and six years ago went to nursing school. My son is a nurse, and my niece is a nurse now too. I guess I’ve been recruiting for nursing school! It’s such a good career and so flexible. 

Q: Why did you move into academia?

I had worked in an emergency department and ran a wound care center, but we needed to adjust our schedules to accommodate child care, so I actually moved to teaching for the flexible schedule. 

I started out at Johnson County Community College and then got my master’s at UMKC, which was starting a BSN program, so I got in on the ground floor. It was perfect for raising our three sons. I don’t know how it happened, but they’re all grown!

Q: Best part of your job?

I love the collegiality of Graceland and the process of problem-solving at the lowest level. You can’t get that at a lot of places. Everyone’s been so welcoming to me as a new person. When new nurses came to UMKC, they would drone on and on about their last place, so I was hesitant to say much. The Graceland faculty encouraged, “Jolene, how did you do it at UMKC?” They’ve wanted me to share my previous experience and perspectives. 

I originally didn’t think I wanted to be in administration again, but the faculty was very supportive, and Dr. Jan Rice was so organized and helpful in the transition. In the past, I had to invent or create my position, so it is exciting to find that there are such good pieces already in place.

Q: Hobbies?

Reading fiction, bargain thrifting, Royals baseball, boy scouting — my husband and three boys are all Eagle Scouts —  and our 1920s house is a hobby all in and of itself. 

“The Graceland faculty encouraged, 'Jolene, how did you do it at UMKC?' They’ve wanted me to share my previous experience and perspectives.”

- Jolene Lynn, PhD, RN
Associate Dean - School of Nursing (Graduate)