What I’ve Learned from Joyce Huber

A Hesston College clinical group led by Joyce Huber. Photo courtesy of the Hesston College nursing department.
A Hesston College clinical group led by Joyce Huber. Photo courtesy of the Hesston College nursing department.

by Linda Miller – Nursing Student

Here are the words that quickly come to mind when I think of Joyce Huber:

  • Engaging
  • Compassionate
  • Interested
  • Prayerful woman of faith

Those characteristics are unmistakable, even as groggy-eyed nursing sophomores walking into the classroom for first hour. From Day 1, Joyce made it a priority to learn our names quickly and engage us personally, never treating us like a number. She lived out her faith and inspiration by giving us an inspirational quote or scripture at the beginning of the day’s PowerPoint slides.

She was also a master of clever memory aids. Now when I think of whiplash, I instantly visualize poor Mo, Joyce’s sock monkey, suffering a brain contusion. As she illustrated how the brain strikes the front and back of the inner skull as the head is whipped back and forth, she reminded us that Mo needed to be monitored for IICP, increased intracranial pressure. We committed that to memory. After all, it was written in bold, one of Joyce’s common teaching tactics: Make it bold or make it red, that’s knowledge that needs to be drilled into our head.

Or, to help remember an important lab test, a BNP (B-type natriuretic peptide) for heart failure, stand up and cheer:

“Give me a “B!”


Give me an “N!”


“Give me a P!”


Joyce seasoned lengthy lectures with humor or a twinkle in her eyes as a surprise slide, usually a photo of a young Joyce Huber, showed up outside the topic of study.

We were not spoon-fed, but Joyce never left us hanging without guidance. She forced us to increase our knowledge and clinical applications by taking a personal responsibility in the learning process. Joyce is an instructor that I will remember to model if I end up with a teaching career.

Joyce took a sincere interest in our lives outside of academics, too, and we knew she was praying for us during difficult personal or family situations. Long after most people quit asking how my family members were doing after an armed robbery or complex surgery, Joyce came back to inquire.

Following her last lecture on April 13, the nursing class of 2016 ended her teaching career by a round of applause that turned into a standing ovation. It was a small gesture, Joyce, to thank you for impacting over 1,400 graduates in your 41 years of teaching. God has imprinted our lives by your life and calling. We wish you God’s abundant blessings as you enjoy the next season of life.


by Joy Yoder – Nursing Faculty

From the age of four, I thought that I wanted to become a nurse.  Low and behold at the age of 18, I found myself accepted into the nursing program at Hesston College with that same dream of becoming a nurse much closer to reality.  I had no experience in nursing at all and felt inadequately prepared in the nursing classroom as I listened to stories that other students had about the medical world.  My closest hospital experience revolved around playing hospital with my cousins.

However, I became enthralled with this idea of holistic care presented early within my nursing studies.  This was a part of nursing that I felt that I did understand, and it quickly intrigued my thought processes.  I remember within those two years of nursing thinking about how the instructors embodied those holistic ideals, meeting the needs of the students in all areas of life and encouraging us to think about meeting the needs of our patients. One such instructor was Joyce Huber. She embraced nursing professionalism and modeled how a nurse should care for his/her patients.  

Sometimes that involved kindly reminding us that we needed to remove a pair of earrings or throw out that gum. After all, that did not create a professional Hesston College nursing image while in the hospital setting. Along with holding high expectations of her students, Joyce was quick to affirm. It wasn’t uncommon for her to author a note or say a brief word of encouragement – “cheers to you” – when the learning was acquired.  

A young Joyce Huber instructs her class. Photo courtesy of the Hesston College Nursing Department.
A young Joyce Huber instructs her class. Photo courtesy of the Hesston College Nursing Department.

What does holistic nursing care look like for Joyce?  Joyce spent her career devoted to Hesston College nursing in educating nurses for over 40 years!  During that time, she physically gave of herself in the early morning hours of 5 and 6 a.m. She helped prepare food to nourish our bodies as the nursing faculty was known on campus for their spread of amazing treats to share with the students.  She shared her nursing knowledge and challenged her students to academic excellence.  (It was common knowledge that if Joyce showed up with her note cards at clinicals, you better be prepared with your medications because she would quiz you.)  Spiritually, Joyce emphasized how spirituality and nursing are intertwined.  It was apparent that her faith propelled her in the academic setting, and that nursing care without this core foundation would be inept.  Her warm, gentle and caring approach in the classroom illustrated how a nurse should care for others.  

I have been given the opportunity for the past two years to work as a colleague with Joyce.  What an honor to come back to a place that nurtured my career and provided the framework for all I use today as nurse.  I only now can comprehend the extra hours that are spent outside of the classroom setting as students are counseled, listened to, advocated for, and cared for by instructors like Joyce.  

Joyce, I would like to thank you as a former student and current colleague for all you have given to the students, the entire Hesston College community and the nursing profession.  You have humbly modeled a beautiful picture of holistic nursing in your nursing career.  In the words of Florence Nightingale,  “I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.”

Joyce Huber. you are one of those heroes.  

Cheers to you, Joyce Huber. Cheers to you!

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