Two women hold award

COLUMBUS, Miss.—Mississippi University for Women recently recognized graduate nursing professor, Dr. Alena Groves, as the inaugural recipient of the McLain Family Award for Extraordinary Faculty at Spring Commencement.

The McLain Family Award for Extraordinary Faculty is an annual award recognizing a nursing faculty member in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

“To be recognized for my service to the students, The W, my profession and to the community is a great privilege, an honor and a humbling experience. Few people, especially nurses and educators, ever get the opportunity to be recognized for their contributions and service to others. I am extremely grateful for this award and all that it represents. I would like to thank the McLain Family for offering such an award and opportunity,” said Groves.

The recipient must have served a minimum of two consecutive years as a nursing faculty member in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and must exhibit an extraordinary passion and commitment in teaching, in scholarly achievement and in service– preferably both on campus and in the community as a representative benefiting the University.

“Dr. Groves exemplifies the qualities that the McLain Family set as the criteria for this award. I am thankful for the McLains’ generosity and their recognition of our outstanding nursing faculty,” said President Nora Miller.

Groves credits her mother, a factory worker, and father, a police officer, for instilling passion and a hard work ethic. She said they worked hard and long hours, but they always were available for their children and their community. They were and still are a light in the community.

“We are thankful that the McLain Family is willing to recognize the hard work and dedication of deserving nursing faculty. Dr. Groves serves as course coordinator and helps bring clinical topic experts to the classroom; thereby, further solidifying the content for her students. She encourages the students to be and to do their best. Dr. Groves also serves as a role model for the students and currently practices in two clinical sites. One of those sites is the campus health center where she provides a great service to our W community,” said Dr. Tammie McCoy, dean of the College of Nursing & Health Sciences.

Groves serves as the coordinator for graduate nursing research, advanced procedures, doctoral nursing informatics and policy courses. She is a certified orthopaedic nurse practitioner and was recently the lead author for the updated National Association of Orthopaedic Nursing (NAON) Osteoporosis and Bone Health Position Statement. Groves has delivered presentations on the local, state, regional and national level to the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners National Conference.

“As a classroom instructor, Dr. Groves has emerged as a master. She has demonstrated a consistent pattern of substantial achievement in teaching effectiveness and competent advising as demonstrated strongly and consistently in her evaluations and performance,” said Sueanne Davidson, professor of nursing.

Groves regularly encourages students to be active in policy and politics. She has hosted local representatives as guest speakers, incorporated mock legislative sessions and committee meetings into teaching strategies and required students to prepare talking points that support nursing legislation.  

She said, “As a family and orthopedic practitioner, I have mentored and trained multiple new nurse practitioners as well. It is a passion that never truly burns out. It is a privilege to be among the first to welcome them to the world of nursing practice…Their success drives me and encourages me to want to be better. To be a better provider, a better educator, a better mentor, a better leader and a better person.”

Groves is a member of the American Nurse Association, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses and Sigma Theta Tau International Zeta Rho Chapter. She is the Vice President of the Mississippi Nurses Association.

“Dr. Groves is a professor who creates a culture of safety, cultivates relationships, inspires in the classroom and sustains excellence,” said Leigh Gault, former student of Groves. “She cares about you, your studies and your story.”

The McLain Family Award for Extraordinary Faculty is an endowment established by the Ralph McLain Family. Two-time nursing graduate Stephanie McLain Gale presented the award to Groves at the Spring Convocation Ceremony. Gale is the daughter of Ralph and Judy McLain.