As a once impoverished teen mom in rural North Carolina, Dr. Dorothy Miller watched with great pride as her eldest daughter graduated 13 years to the day she received her nursing degree from a nursing program she created at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina.

Dr. Miller, the St. Andrews University Department Chair of Health Services, credits her mom, Ruby Bandy, for prioritizing education. At 15 years old, Dr. Miller, then a student, gave birth to her first daughter on a Friday, and her mom insisted that the North Carolina high school freshman was back at school on Monday. 

“My mother had to stop going to school when she was in the third grade because she had to go work on the farms,” says Dr. Miller, 56. “She knew that education would be the vehicle that would take me to a better future.”

Dr. Miller says she wanted to become a nurse growing up, but her high school counselor told her she would never become a nurse because of her poor grades in math and science.

“As my high school counselor mentioned, the odds were definitely against me,” Dr. Miller says. “Fortunately, I was born with tenacity and the unmitigated audacity to refuse to give up.”

And she knew education was a ticket out of poverty for her and her baby.

Daily Nurse is proud to recognize Dr. Dorothy Miller as our Nurse of the Week, honoring her tenacity and perseverance to defy the odds and dedication to education to become a nurse educator.

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Dr. Miller went on to get her associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s, PhD, and another master’s. She also served in the U.S. Army from 1995 to 2001.

Now Dr. Miller, who is currently running for a seat on the North Carolina Board of Nursing, went on to work as a nurse for seven years before switching to an academic career in healthcare.

Dr. Miller launched the first nursing school at St. Andrews in 2021. Not only was her daughter Bandy in the first graduating class, but her name was also the first one called during the May ceremony.

It’s rewarding for Dr. Miller to see her child follow in her footsteps after being the driving force behind her successful career.

“I think if I hadn’t been given the opportunity to have that child, I wouldn’t have accomplished what I did,” Dr. Miller says. “By having her, it pushed me to something outside of me that I could have a better future for her.”

Nominate a Nurse of the Week! Every Wednesday, DailyNurse.com features a nurse making a difference in the lives of their patients, students, and colleagues. We encourage you to nominate a nurse who has impacted your life as the next Nurse of the Week, and we’ll feature them online and in our weekly newsletter.

Renee Hewitt
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