Director of nursing earns Spanish degree

Nate Billings

After 10 years of dedication, Dr. Barbara Box, director and professor of the department of nursing, received her a bachelor of arts in Spanish last semester.

Box has had schedule conflicts between her teaching schedule and the Spanish classes she needed to take in order to receive her degree. She said she averaged one Spanish class per semester.

Dr. Pedro Talavera, professor of Spanish, acted as her adviser.

“This is remarkable,” Talavera said. “This is a testimony to the intellectual abilities of Dr. Box.”

Box said she had some late nights studying with workbooks and audio tapes.

“We had to keep in step or we wouldn’t have made it,” Box said.

Talavera was impressed with Box’s dedication.

“She has everything; the stamina, the discipline,” Talavera said. “She did most of the things (scheduling) herself. She is a very busy person, yet she was able to succeed.”

Box said her fellow faculty members were happy she accomplished what she had set out to do a decade ago.

Her adviser enjoyed seeing her graduate as well.

“This is a great story,” Talavera said, “a best that Missouri Southern has to offer.”

Box has seen use for her new degree in her work. When she first arrived at Southern, she noticed a steady increase in the Hispanic population.

“In nursing, I think Spanish should be a second language,” Box said.

She said nurses should be able to communicate with the Spanish-speaking patients just as the nurses communicate with their English-speaking patients.

One of her former Spanish instructors agrees.

“It (speaking Spanish) would be very practical,” said Dr. Joaquin Suro, assistant professor of Spanish. “They will always have some Spanish-speaking patients, and they may not always have a translator.”

Suro said the use of Spanish by Box and the nursing students she teaches shows Spanish-speaking patients that the nurses care enough to make them feel comfortable while trying to communicate.

Box has also seen a need for Spanish in her travels. She has traveled to the East and West coasts where she saw many more billboards written in Spanish than she saw here. She has also participated in the study abroad programs at Southern.

“It’s been marvelous,” Box said. “I’ve been taught by faculty in many countries.”

Box has been to Puerto Rico several times for conventions and seminars.Other professors have been inspired by Box’s desire to learn.

“I’m thinking of doing something in computers because of her inspiration,” Talavera said. “No matter how busy you are, you can make time to pursue other interests.”

Box encourages all of her nursing students to think about taking Spanish classes.