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College of Nursing

Faculty and Staff

Karen Worthy, PhD, MPH, RN, CNE

Title: Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies & Associate Professor
College of Nursing
Email: kworthy@mailbox.sc.edu
Phone: 803-576-7954
Fax: 803-777-0550
Office: College of Nursing 
University of South Carolina
1601 Greene Street
Columbia, SC 29208-4001 
United States
profile

Background

Dr. Worthy has a 23-year history in professional nursing working in various clinical specialties, including surgical services, intensive care units, medical-surgical units, and community health.  Dr. Worthy has educated future nurses for 14 years and has been with the University of South Carolina College of Nursing since 2012. Dr. Worthy is a Certified Nurse Educator and an Amy Cockcroft Fellow. Selected awards include the Southern Regional Educational Board [SREB] Pacesetter, UofSC Clinical Practice Teaching Award, UofSC College of Nursing Community Engagement Award, South Carolina Palmetto Gold, Sigma Theta Tau International [STTI] Alpha Xi Esther E. Starkey Award for Excellence in Nursing Education, and QSEN National Forum People’s Poster Choice Award.  

Dr. Worthy is a five-time graduate of the University of South Carolina including a PhD in Higher Education Administration with a focus on leadership and policy (2015), Master of Science in Nursing (2006), Master in Public Health Administration (2006), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2000), and Associate of Science in Nursing (1997).  Dr. Worthy also received a Certificate of Graduate Study in Higher Education Leadership (2011) from the University of South Carolina. 

Teaching

Dr. Worthy has extensive teaching and mentoring experiences in associate, undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.  She has mentored undergraduate, DNP, and PhD students and served as committee members on numerous dissertations, thesis, and projects. Currently, she primarily teaches in undergraduate programs using traditional, online, hybrid, and other innovative delivery platforms to enhance student learning outcomes. She is passionate about empowering students to become competent, caring, high-quality healthcare providers and transformational leaders in our profession.

Research

Concept Areas:
Nursing Education Paradigms and Conceptual Learning
Leadership Development and Effectiveness
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity
Rural and Distance Education 

Dr. Worthy’s contributions to research and scholarship includes selected topics such as conceptual based teaching and learning, transformational leadership theories, exploring the perceptions of diverse students, and effective leadership for BSN recruitment in rural communities. Dr. Worthy’s primary research is examining leadership styles to determine whether they correlate with job satisfaction using quantitative methodologies.

Professional Service

Dr. Worthy is an active member of several professional organizations, including the National Black Nurses Association (Midlands of South Carolina Black Nurses Chapter), Sigma Theta Tau International, National League for Nursing (Alpha Xi Chapter), South Carolina Advisory Committee on Nursing, South Carolina Deans and Directors, and American Association of Colleges of Nursing Baccalaureate and Doctoral Conference Planning Committee.  Dr. Worthy is an Amy V. Cockcroft Fellow and is active in her community and serves on numerous community health committees and executive boards of directors. 

Professional Practice

Dr. Worthy’s contributions to nursing education extend globally and she has facilitated cross-cultural exchanges aimed at addressing global health issues at the local level. She is the faculty coordinator for an interdisciplinary collaboration with OneWorld Health and has participated on Medical Mission trips to Nicaragua since 2016. She accompanied undergraduate and nurse practitioner students to rural Nicaraguan communities providing healthcare delivery to the residents in their homes and clinics in a culturally competent manner.  Their healthcare team serves over 1,100 underprivileged patients in each five-day medical mission excursion.  Dr. Worthy currently serves on the UofSC Global Health Initiative Steering Committee, an interdisciplinary initiative aimed at strengthening partnerships and global health care delivery. 

Publications 

Worthy, K., Dawson, R., & Tavakoli, A.S. (2020). Relationships among nursing deans’ leadership styles and faculty job satisfaction levels. Journal of Nursing Education, 59(2), 68-75.

Chappell, K. K. & Worthy, K. (2019). Chapter 1: The why and how of teaching & learning conceptually:  A step by step approach.  In Manning, L.S., & Zager, L. R (Eds.), Concepts made insanely easy for clinical nursing! A new approach to the next generation NCLEX! (2nd ed.). I CAN: Duluth, Georgia.

Worthy, K. (2015).  Relationships among leadership styles and job satisfaction levels: A national study of college of nursing faculty and deans in research intensive institutions (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertation & Theses Global. (Order No. 3704420).

Research Presentations

Chappell, K. K., Davis, V. H., & Worthy, K. (2020). An experiential concept approach to teach and develop students’ clinical judgement! 3rd Annual Southeast Nursing Faculty Development Conference. Myrtle Beach, SC.

Worthy, K., Davis, V. H., & Chappell, K. K. (2019). Evaluating effects of a concept-based hybrid curriculum on students’ clinical application and NCLEX success [Poster Presentation]. American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN] 2019 Baccalaureate Education Conference. Orlando, FL.

Davis, V. H., Worthy, K., Graham, C., Chappell, K. K., Ribar, A., Jenerette, C., & Andrews, J. O. (2019). Experiential learning to enhance diversity, inclusion, and equity: A college‐wide initiative. Southern Regional Education Board [SREB] 2019 Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing [CCEN] Annual Conference. Atlanta, GA.

Worthy, K. (2019). Humans as patients in simulation: A multi-patient simulation for senior capstone students.  2019 South Carolina Nursing Education Simulation Alliance 2nd Annual Conference: Collaborating Forward. Columbia, SC.

Worthy, K. (2018). Examining relationships between leadership styles and nursing faculty job satisfaction levels. Fifteenth Annual Research Symposium: Transforming Clinical Practice and Education. Greenville, SC.

Matutina, R., & Worthy, K. (2018). Exploring the perceptions of male nursing students enrolled in a traditional baccalaureate degree nursing program. Fifteenth Annual Research Symposium: Transforming Clinical Practice and Education. Greenville, SC.

Worthy, K. (2017). The relationship between leadership styles and nursing faculty job satisfaction levels. Center for Nursing Leadership: 2017 Annual Leadership Summit. Columbia, SC.

Tavakoli, A. S., & Worthy, K. (2017). Using SAS® to examine relationships among leadership styles of college of nursing deans and faculty job satisfaction levels in research intensive institutions [Poster Presentation]. Traveling Poster for the 2017 Regional and Global Forum.

Worthy, K. (2017). Relationships among leadership styles and job satisfaction levels: A national study of college of nursing faculty and deans in research intensive institutions. Lowcountry Nursing Research Conference: Bridging the Gap Between Research and the Bedside. Charleston, SC.  

Worthy, K. (2016). The faith of a mustard seed: Against all odds. Girls All About Purpose Conference. Chester, SC.

Worthy, K., & Matutina, R. (2016). Exploring the perceptions of male nursing students enrolled in a traditional baccalaureate degree nursing program. 2016 Baccalaureate Education Conference. American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN].  Anaheim, California.

Matutina, R., & Worthy, K. (2016). Exploring the perceptions of male nursing students enrolled in a traditional baccalaureate degree nursing program. Center for Nursing Leadership University of South Carolina College of Nursing 2016 Annual Leadership Summit. Columbia, SC.

Tavakoli, A. S., & Worthy, K. (2016). Using SAS® to examine relationships among leadership styles of college of nursing deans and faculty job satisfaction levels in research intensive institutions. 2016 SouthEast SAS Users Group [SESUG] Conference. Bethesda, MD.

Matutina, R., & Worthy, K. (2016). Exploring the perceptions of male nursing students enrolled in a traditional baccalaureate degree nursing program. 14th Annual South Carolina Hospital Association Conference. Columbia, SC.

Worthy, K., & Zager, L. (2016). Patient safety requires concept mastery [Poster Presentation]. 2016 QSEN National Forum. San Antonio, TX.

Matutina, R. Conner, B.T., Jennings, P., Worthy, K., & Hickey, P. (2016). Exploring the perceptions of male nursing students enrolled in a traditional baccalaureate degree nursing program. Lowcountry Nursing Research Conference. Charleston, SC.

Matutina, R. Conner, B., Jennings, P., Worthy, K., & Hickey, P. (2016). Exploring the perceptions of male nursing students enrolled in a traditional baccalaureate degree nursing program [Poster Presentation]. 14th Annual South Carolina Nursing Excellence Conference. Columbia, SC.

Zager, L., Manning, L., & Worthy, K. (2015). Conceptual teaching: You don’t have to start your curriculum over! American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN] 2015 Baccalaureate Education Conference. Orlando, Florida.

Tavakoli, A., & Worthy, K. (2015). Using SAS® to examine relationships among leadership styles and job satisfaction levels:  A national study of college of nursing faculty and deans in research intensive institutions. SAS Global Forum 2016. Las Vegas, NV.

Williams, A., & Worthy, K.  (2014). Effective leadership for BSN recruitment in rural communities. Sigma Theta Tau International [STTI] Leadership Connection 2014. Indianapolis, IN.


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