Dr. LaDonna Northington's nursing career has been driven by high standards and a love of the profession. This year, that dedication earned her the title of School of Nursing Alumna of the Year.
She was recognized first at the Nursing Alumni Board Meeting on March 8, and she will be recognized again on Friday, April 7 at the annual Nursing Alumni Day at the UMMC Conference Center located in the Jackson Medical Mall.
While Northington is unwaveringly devoted to nursing, the professor of nursing and assistant dean for undergraduate programs is the first to admit that her career was not planned out from day one. In fact, her teenage dream was to be an airline stewardess. Having written off those plans before high school graduation, she earned her nursing pre-requisites at Alcorn State University and enrolled in the University of Mississippi School of Nursing.
Northington began her UMMC career as a staff nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. “It's interesting how your career unfolds,” Northington said. “Today, students come in with a career plan. I didn't have a plan. I was going to be a PICU staff nurse until I died.”
After eight years as a staff nurse, Northington was convinced by a close friend, who worked at the Mississippi State Department of Health, to join her in going back to school to pursue a master's degree. Northington completed her Master of Science in Nursing degree as a Clinical Nurse Specialist with an emphasis in child and adolescent health.
“It was the right decision. I'm glad I stayed here. I worked at night while I was in school, and all my classes were arranged around my work schedule.” she said.