(KFVS) - Murray State University nursing faculty member Sandy Minor has retired at the age of 81 after a long and inspiring career.
Minor began her career journey when she earned her Bachelor's Degree in nursing at Vanderbilt University in 1957.
After graduating, she worked as a nurse before joining the Murray State University faculty.
In January 1982, she was brought on as a clinical instructor in nursing at MSU.
She worked through fall 2016, when she taught her last semester at the age of 81.
During her time at MSU, Minor saw the nursing department change hands from the College of Human Development and Learning to the College of Science, then to the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, before finally forming its own autonomous school: the School of Nursing (now the School of Nursing and Health Professions).
Throughout her entire career as a nurse and an educator, she witnessed an evolution in how women are viewed in the workplace.
Today, it's "much more accepted for women in any field to reach their goals," she said.
On top of it all, she has faced major technology changes, most notably computers and cell phones.
"Students today come in knowing technology and knowing change is inevitable," she said.
Despite all the changes Minor has seen in her career, one thing has remained constant: her love of students.
Her drive to continue working into her 80s was fueled by a dedication to helping them progress.
After all, she knows the impact of education reaches far beyond the here and now.
"When I teach, I touch the future," she said.
She added that Murray State's nursing program has had many gifted undergraduates over the years, but she especially loved helping the students who had to work extra hard to succeed.
"I've had several students that I thought, when I first met them and advised them, 'they're not going to make it.' They came in taking 099 courses."
However, these students often surprised her.
"The desire was there, and then all of a sudden I realized the work ethic was there," she said. "I worked with one that is a nurse practitioner now ... and every day I just grin, because what it took her to get through the nurse programs was her tremendous work ethic. And she is excellent. So I think my favorite moment in nursing is to see those who had to work for it and made it. That, to me, is what teaching's all about."
No matter a student's skill level, Minor would work to help get them where they needed to be.
Minor's advice for current and future nursing students is to decide early on what aspect of healthcare they enjoy.
"Take the time to figure out what it is you like to do and what it is you don't," said Minor, who tried obstetrics and pediatrics but quickly realized they weren't the right fit for her. She then found her niche in medical-surgical nursing.
Minor added that she believes gaining hospital experience is the best way for nursing students to start their careers.
When reflecting on her time at the university, Minor said she feels proud to have worked with such an "excellent program" and misses seeing her fellow faculty members regularly.
"We were there for each other during both the good and the hard times, and they were always willing to fill in for you when you needed them.
"I loved every single minute."