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Drs. Victoria Foster and Dwayne Hooks to be inducted into Georgia Nursing Hall of Fame

(February 19, 2024) - Two of Clayton State University’s most achieved faculty members in the School of Nursing can now officially say that their careers are truly hall-of-fame-worthy.

Drs. Victoria Foster and Dwayne hooks are both excited and grateful to soon be the newest members of the Georgia Nursing Hall of Fame

Because that’s exactly where they’re headed.

Dr. Victoria Foster and Dr. Dwayne Hooks were both recently selected as two of the newest members of the Georgia Nursing Hall of Fame and will be honored in a celebratory induction ceremony at the Estate Atlanta on Thursday, February 22.

As they prepare to be honored by their colleagues and peers, both esteemed faculty are extremely honored to be among the 10 inductees that make up the Class of 2024.

“Our work as nurses and educators matter,” Foster said. “To be recognized by your peers makes it just that much more special. I’m very honored to be chosen and share with Dr. Hooks, as well.”

“I am immensely proud and full of gratitude for being selected,” Hooks said. “The 2024 cohort is joining an esteemed group of nursing leaders. I have had the opportunity to work with amazing teams of nurses and other healthcare professionals during my career.  The successes I have been able to achieve are not individual, but those of these teams of dedicated and brilliant servant caregivers and leaders.”  

As the two discussed their personal journeys to the Georgia Nursing Hall of Fame, both reflected on some of their earliest obstacles and memories of wanting to pursue careers in nursing and healthcare.

Foster said, “she wanted to be a nurse since the age of five” and remembered her mother buying her toy medical kits to perform check-ups on her dolls.

Hooks recalled serving as a nurse apprentice in the Student Nurse Apprentice Program at what was then the Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics.

“I knew from the time I started that I wanted to start my career in this unit caring for these most vulnerable patients,” Hooks said. “Working in NICU and seeing the impact that nursing had on infants and families, I knew that I wanted to expand my reach by serving in a leadership role in nursing and academic healthcare organizations.”

Both also overcame their share of challenges in their careers, as well, to get to where they are today.

Hooks said his often boiled down to a very common obstacle for many, being “managing a schedule, and not overworking and becoming burned out.”

For Foster, however, arguably her biggest challenge came before she even graduated, as she lost both of her parents just six months apart while in college.

“I had to become an adult very quickly and just try to maneuver school and life,” Foster said. “Failure wasn’t an option at that time. If I had mom and dad to go back home to, then I wouldn’t have felt the pressure. But just having that extra pressure on me was motivating. So I told myself, ‘I have to get out of here and get this done so I can take care of myself.’”

Both Foster and Hooks have proven they’re more than capable of taking care of themselves, as demonstrated by the countless number of patients and families that they have cared for for more than 60 combined years of nursing and teaching.

When asked if they could give advice to the people they once were on their first days as professionals, both said their biggest message would be to never stop persevering and learning, no matter what.

“Just keep going,” Foster said. “There are going to be disappointments and people who disappoint you sometimes, but just show grace and keep going. You’re placed here at this time for some reason. The people that are placed around me, I always feel, are placed there for a purpose, too. I look at this whole process as a celebration of collective efforts of my teachers, professors, mentors, and colleagues.”

“A major focus in my life has been dedicated to my career and the philosophy of being a lifelong learner,” Hooks said. “In reflecting back, I would say enjoy every moment and aspect of your professional and personal life.  I would also advise myself to do a better job of journaling life’s experiences so that I could go back and enjoy them as much as I did when I first encountered them.  Focus more on self-care and spending as much time as possible with family and those you hold dear.”  

As they prepare to enjoy a night of celebration that highlights two esteemed careers full of hard work, tenacity, and care of others, both Dr. Hooks and Dr. Foster have confirmed that their work is far from done.

Their next steps will be to return to Clayton State University, continuing to aid the next generation of nursing and healthcare professionals seeking assistance in becoming they best they can be all for the betterment of a grateful community.

But as their induction ceremony draws closer, the two veteran Lakers are simply grateful for the people in their lives who helped make their new hall-of-fame statuses a reality.

“I want to thank my family and friends for all the support that I have received over my career,” Hooks said. “Without them, doing what I do would not be possible. I also want to thank my many mentors, especially Dr. Lucy Marion, for their encouragement and all of the valuable lessons that I have learned, which have influenced who I am today.”

“I would like to extend my gratitude to my colleagues, whose collaboration and support have been invaluable,” Foster said. “It’s just been a wonderful journey. My family – my husband and two daughters – are very supportive. I’m just grateful to be here, to be nominated, and to be a member of the Clayton State community.” 

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