NEWS

Mount Nursing Dean details her teaching experience in the Middle East

March 15, 2019
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -

Susan LaRocco, Dean of the School of Nursing at Mount Saint Mary College, discussed her teaching experience in Jordan during a talk on Tuesday, March 12.

Susan LaRocco, Dean of the School of Nursing at Mount Saint Mary College, discussed her teaching experience in Jordan during a talk on Tuesday, March 12. 

Susan LaRocco, Dean of the School of Nursing at Mount Saint Mary College, recently discussed her Fulbright Scholar experience in the country of Jordan.
 
The presentation was part of the “Travel To” series, which is sponsored by the college’s Career Center and coordinated by Megan Rossi ’13, Study Abroad Coordinator. The series gives Mount staff and faculty the opportunity to present their travel experiences and share the world with the Mount community.
 
LaRocco’s research interest is the recruitment and retention of men in the nursing field. Her time as a Fulbright Scholar was spent teaching at the University of Jordan in Amman, and researching where male Jordanian nurses stand in their profession and culture.
 
“I was looking for an experience that would totally take us [LaRocco and her husband] out of our comfort zone,” she explained. “It took us to a country we’d never been before. And we’d never been to the Middle East.”
 
However, LaRocco and her husband quickly acquainted themselves with Jordanian culture, their new apartment in a city of more than four million people, and the University of Jordan, where LaRocco taught nursing.
 
One of her initial challenges was learning how to navigate the streets, she explained.
 
“At first, I spent a lot of time not having a clue where I was,” said LaRocco. “Almost everything was a sandstone color and there were no landmarks to me. Our landmarks in America tend to be color-based: When you’re driving down the street, you remember you passed the blue house with the yellow door. But here, everything was the same color. Once I figured that out, I started observing the ways buildings were different. For example, if a building had three or four stories, or there was a memorable sign outside.”
 
LaRocco explained that the majority of people in Jordan are practicing Muslims, and as such, the markets in the area don’t stock things like pork. But there was always plenty of fresh fruit available, from pineapples to pomegranates. The city also had a McDonald’s, a Burger King, and a KFC that was located right down the street from LaRocco’s apartment.
 
At the University of Jordan, LaRocco taught classes comprised mostly of women. LaRocco noted that Jordanians generally don’t view the nursing profession as prestigious, when compared to many other kinds of employment. As a result, most of her students were learning the trade so they could teach it. It was quite the contrast from her experiences in America, where nursing grads were often eager to work in specific areas like maternity, the emergency room, and pediatrics.
 
LaRocco received her bachelor’s degree from Boston College and a master’s degree in Nursing Administration from Boston University. Her PhD is from University of Massachusetts Boston where she received the Brenda S. Cherry Doctoral Dissertation Award. In addition, she holds an MBA from New York University. She is a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) and has certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL).
 
Through the Mount’s prestigious Nursing program, students enjoy state-of-the-art simulation labs and clinical relationships with more than 40 area hospitals. The Mount’s passionate faculty are dedicated to the success of both their undergraduate and graduate students.