Nursing adviser celebrates award

IUS Horizon

Brenda Hackett , lecturer in nursing and academic adviser for the School of Nursing, mother of two and grandmother to seven, could be described by her favorite quote, “Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you.”

Hackett received the IU Southeast Outstanding Adviser of the Year award for 2009.

Hackett att ended and received her Bachelor of Science in nursing at the University of Kentucky and later received her Master of Science in nursing from Bellarmine University in 1993.

Hackett ’s passion for nursing developed while she was a young girl in Chatt anooga, Tenn., where she was often ill with allergies.

“When I was a young girl, I couldn’t breathe and I remember praying to God to take my pain away,” Hackett said. “Ever since then, I’ve wanted to help people and do this by becoming a nurse or a teacher.”

Besides Hackett ’s illness as a child, there were more tragedies that aff ected her and her family. Being an African American family in the 50’s and 60’s, Hackett’s family took abuse from complete strangers.

“My mother and father insulated us, but we knew that there were certain places that we could not go because we were black,” she said. “That was just the way things were back then and we knew that. My family received several threats. I received one specifi cally over the telephone once. My house was bombed, but thankfully, no one was there at the time. The bomb took out the entire back of our house.”

There were times when it was more particularly dangerous for Hackett and her family.

“We couldn’t go in the car without dad checking it first with a fl ashlight and his gun. After he claimed it safe, we were able to get in,” Hackett said.

But despite the occasional scare, Hackett said she felt safe in her community among her neighbors, friends and family.

Hackett ’s father was deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement while Hackett was growing up. He knew Martin Luther King Jr.

He is currently writing his memoirs, and has recently had a building in Chatt anooga, Tenn., named after him, in honor of his Civil Rights service to the community.

“My father was a very quiet man, but he was very vocal about equal rights,” Hackett said.

Because helping people is so signifi cant to Hackett , her advice for future nursing students is to go into nursing for the right reasons, which are to help people and to be prepared for the massive commitment nursing requires.

“Nursing is life-long learning,” Hackett said. “Nursing is an art and science and consists of very hard work. Some people want to get into nursing because it is an economically more stable position, but the best nurses want to do their best to move people from illness to wellness.”

She said students thinking about going into nursing need to realize, academically, nursing is a challenge, but it can be done.

Hackett has been teaching nursing students at IU Southeast for more than 10 years, but was employed at numerous hospitals.

She has worked in neonatal intensive care, rehab nursing, community health nursing and medical surgery nursing.

“The position that I hold at IUS brings all of my experiences to use in my current role,” Hackett said.

Staff Writer