Samford nursing teacher remembers family, colleague
When the nursing professors at Samford University got sick, they called Jane Holston.
âWe’re all nurse practitioners, but she was basically our nurse practitioner,â said Jill Cunningham, associate dean of graduate programs at the Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing. “When they (other teachers) got sick or hurt themselves, they would turn to her for advice.”
Holston, a longtime nursing professor at Samford, died on September 1 at the age of 56 after a battle with COVID-19. She had been a faculty member in the school’s nurse practitioner program for 11 years. Holston was first an alumnus of Samford University, having obtained her Masters in Nursing in 2004; she then joined the faculty in 2010.
“She was a wonderful woman,” said her husband, Rob Holston.
Jane has kept busy, constantly striving to improve and improve herself, and had several degrees at the time of her death, her husband said.
âShe’s been multitasking her whole life,â he said. “She had more than half of the letters of the alphabet behind her name.”
Jane was known to breed dogs, taking four of them herself. It was not uncommon for her to call Cunningham and tell him that she would be late for a meeting because she had to stop and help a stray dog.
âI always told her she took in stray children and stray dogs,â Cunningham said.
In addition to helping the dogs, Holston let the young men stay with his family after learning they had a difficult family life, said Rob Holston.
“She was always thinking of someone other than herself,” he said.
Rob had COVID-19 at the same time as his wife, and he couldn’t see her until she didn’t respond, he said.
âYou don’t think he’ll ever come near you,â he said. “You are not prepared for something like this.”
Jane made the most of her life and loved spending time with Rob and their son, Tyler, at Lake Logan Martin, where they owned a lakefront home. She loved watching the sunset right behind their lakefront home, Rob said. In the mornings, she would drink coffee while watching the dogs play, and when they stepped out to their pontoon she made sure the dogs were wearing bright yellow life jackets, he said.
She was also funny, Cunningham said. âShe would help shed light on a situation,â which was helpful when someone was under stress, which is not uncommon in nursing school, Cunningham said.
She and Jane became “working sisters” and had a great relationship. She said Jane would give you the shirt off her back, and Cunningham said she had never heard anyone complain about Jane.
Early in her career, Jane worked in the neonatal intensive care unit at Brookwood Baptist Hospital in Birmingham, according to a statement from Samford. During this time, she was also the Coordinator of the Family Support Program, which looked after families experiencing the loss of a baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death.
âJane showed God’s love for her students, fellow professors and staff. She cared deeply for those around her and was often the first to step in to help others in need, âsaid Melondie Carter, dean of the Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing, in a press release. “She will be sorely missed.”
âHis passion was to make (the school) stress free, to present it to the students so that they could learn better,â Cunningham said.
After working as a nurse for 26 years and the last 17 as a nurse practitioner, Jane began her career at Samford. Her main area of ââexpertise was being an emergency nurse practitioner, and she launched the school’s emergency nurse practitioner program in 2017 and helped grow its program, Cunningham said.
âHer commitment to academic excellence and lifelong learning has enabled hundreds of student nurse practitioners at Samford to acquire the skills necessary to care for patients with high needs,â said Mike Hardin, president and vice-president. president of Samford University, in a press release. âHis legacy will live on through them and the patients they serve. “
Jane was able to take complicated material and make it easier for students to understand, Cunningham said.
Although she has a doctorate in nursing, she had no intention of stopping there, her husband said. She had mentioned having obtained another degree before her death, he said.
âShe just strived to be the best at what she did,â Rob said. âI could hear her late at night on the keyboard when she was getting her doctorate. â¦ She loved what she was doing; she loved to help people and animals.
Rob said he and Tyler were doing as well as you might expect and trying to keep moving forward to honor Jane.
âShe wouldn’t want us to stop living,â he said.
To honor Jane and her legacy, Samford Faculty has launched a scholarship in her name, the Jane Holston Nurse Practitioner Scholarship, which will go to a student emergency nurse practitioner chosen each year as
as long as there is money in the fund, Cunningham said.