TOP PHOTO: This month's page is dedicated to Roberta Webster, Associate Dean of Allied Health and Nursing, and to the nurses she educated over the years.
Imperial Valley College faculty, staff and students lost a valued friend, colleague and long-time healthcare advocate when Roberta Webster, Associate Dean of Nursing and Allied Health, died Jan. 18 due to complications related to COVID-19.
A native of Imperial Valley, Roberta Callahan Webster brought a basic knowledge of the community and its population. She was fluent in Spanish. She began her career in health care by working in an oral surgeon's private office at only 15 years old and then she decided to become a nurse.
She pursued her nursing education fi rst at Imperial Valley College and obtained a dual Associate Degree in Life Science and Behavioral Science. She then entered Imperial Valley College's Associate Degree of Nursing program. As a new nurse, she began her career in the Intensive Care Unit of a local hospital and after only one year, she went on to obtain her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at the University of San Diego.
At graduation, Roberta received the Hahn School of Nursing Award for Leadership in Nursing.
Upon completion of her BSN, Roberta returned home to Imperial Valley and began teaching at Imperial Valley College as a full-time faculty member in the nursing division.
After one year of teaching fundamentals of nursing, Roberta was offered a full-time scholarship to obtain her Master's of Science Degree in Nursing (MSN) at the University of San Diego. After completing her degree in just three semesters, two summers, and a bleeding ulcer, Roberta graduated with her master's degree in nursing with a focus on curriculum and instruction.
While pursuing her degree she taught for Grossmont College in their nursing program, was an OB patient educator at Kaiser Permanente Hospital, and was a charge nurse at the University of San Diego Student Health Center.
Roberta returned to Imperial Valley in 1986 and became a lead instructor for the Psychiatric Technician program at IVC.
In 1990, Roberta returned to Imperial Valley College's nursing program to teach maternal/child nursing and gerontological nursing. Roberta also assisted in the revision and rewriting of the nursing curriculum under the direction of the director of nursing at that time.
After 12 and one-half years, Roberta left Imperial Valley College to work at a local hospital to manage and coordinate a grant-funded comprehensive in-patient and out-patient education program. It was through Roberta's consistent grant writing, that the education program was able to continue to receive the funding through the Imperial County Children's and Families First Commission.
In 2011, Roberta began teaching part-time again at Imperial Valley College. In 2012, she took the position of a full-time faculty member in the nursing division. It was then Roberta taught all VN courses, she taught maternal/child nursing, psychiatric nursing and has taught pediatric nursing for the RN program. She was the content expert for psychiatric nursing, in addition to having held the position of Assistant Director of Nursing.
Roberta also worked on the RN self-study and the VN self-study for continued accreditation for the governing boards of nursing. At the baccalaureate level, Roberta taught nursing for Cal State Dominguez Hills and National University, which were both offered at the IVC campus. In 2018, Roberta began as the position of Interim Associate Dean of Nursing and Allied Health.
Roberta leaves behind a supportive husband, and two daughters. The oldest, Cynthia Webster, is an athletic trainer and CTE sports medicine high school instructor in San Diego. The youngest , Chelsea Webster, received her degree in animal science focusing on large animal nutrition at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Roberta and her husband had three dogs to help them through the "empty nest" period.
Roberta enjoyed the yearly family vacation to Bryce Canyon Utah and to Stanley, Idaho.
Tina Aguirre, Roberta's predecessor at IVC, has known Roberta for quite some time. "Roberta was a very sweet person. It did not take her long to make strangers into friends," said Tina, "I was amazed at her professionalism, high standards, and her genuine concern for patients and students. I will miss her."
Under Roberta Webster's leadership as Associate Dean of Nursing and Allied Health, the 2019-2020 IVC nursing students experienced 100 percent pass rates of the California Licensing Exam, (NCLEX), well above the state and national average. Throughout Roberta Webster's career, she was known as a fi erce advocate for her students.