giles_pamelaDr. Pamela Giles
Dean and Associate Professor, Interim RNBSN Coordinator, School of Nursing

Phone: 434-791-4285
Office: Riverview 230

This woman, Dr. Pamela Giles, has done some STUFF. You would expect the head of a School of Nursing to be a nurse and to have some impressive experiences, but … wow.

When she was 23 years old, and single, she had worked as a nurse in the U.S. for 2½ years, so what did she do next? She went to work as a nurse in Kamakwie, a bush village of Sierra Leone, on the coast of West Africa.

About 200 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, her village was “accessible by one very interesting dirt road — unless it was rainy season, then it was a mud road. This was before the Internet and cell phones, so I only received mail every 6-8 weeks or so, and could only call my family when I was in Freetown [the capital, right on the coast], about three to four times a year.”

Giles worked there for 6 years: “We had a hospital and an outpatient dispensary. To do community health work for the district, I would throw stuff in the Range Rover and drive to villages to hold Under Five Clinics – clinics where we weighed babies, provided education to the mothers, handed out powdered milk and rice, and gave immunizations.”

The village hospital (Kamakwie Wesleyan Hospital) is highly regarded and known all around the area. You can click here ( to see a current photo of it, with the nursing compound in back at the top of the hill. The sky is hazy from dust brought in on winds from the Sahara.

It took her awhile to realize that she was meant to teach, but nursing — that was evident when she was tiny. One year as a little girl she was given a nurse’s uniform, so she wore it while putting Red Hots candy into her stuffed panda. She can’t remember the diagnosis, but Red Hots were the pills on hand, and the panda never complained.

As a professional with impressive credentials as a nurse and a school of nursing administrator, and having studied and worked all around the country [as well as in Africa!], Giles is deeply impressed with the dedication of the faculty members in Nursing at Averett: “The faculty members here have an absolute passion to teach how to do nursing. I have never seen such intensity, such a commitment to students and such an abiding love for nursing.”

She adds that to be successful in today’s world, a nurse needs to be able to think critically, to “go beyond what’s written in textbooks so you know how to make decisions when things don’t go right. You want to know how to get the information you might need in any situation. We teach them that.”


Doctor of Philosophy, Education with a focus in Learning Management, Walden University

Master of Science, Community Health Nursing, Indiana Wesleyan University

Bachelor of Science, Nursing, Indiana Wesleyan University

tbeachTeresa Beach
Assistant Dean Undergraduate Programs & Assistant Professor

Phone: 434-791-4770
Office: Riverview 240


Dameron-2927Nancy Dameron
Assistant Professor and Clinical Coordinator

Phone: 434-791-7219
Office: Riverview 236

Meet Professor Nancy Dameron, sometimes known to her students as “Ms. D” and usually thought of simply as “The Encourager.”

“Oh, yes,” she readily admits, “I do encourage all of our students all the time. We always can develop a Plan B if necessary, I tell them, but we’re shooting for Plan A first. And usually we get there.”

Her office door is always open; she has “Welcome to AUSON” (Averett University School of Nursing) on her office wall; and “welcome” is in all of her thoughts and actions: “All of my students have my cell number. They text, they call. There are no cutoff times for that. It’s what I’m here for, and I love it.”

She sums it up this way: “If you are a nurse, you are a teacher.”

That makes sense, and it means she’s been a teacher for most of her life. Her interest in medicine began almost at birth, actually. She was born with a heart defect called patent ductus arteriosus, an unclosed hole in the aorta that now is diagnosed commonly. But back in 1956 it was a different story.

“The doctor who invented the surgery to correct this problem operated on me when I was 5 years old,” she says. “I’m in the history books for it, and obviously [she adds with a smile], it worked!”

With her heart clearly in the right place, The Encourager says: “When I was in Nursing School, they told us, ‘Look at the person on your left. Now the one on your right. Only one of you three will succeed in this program.’

“I tell my students to look left, look right, and remember that if all three of you work as a team, you’ll all succeed!”

Although she does caution that students need to be in the program for the right reasons (“It needs to be in your heart. If you’re just in it for the money, you will not be happy.”), she is proud of the results of those who are at Averett.

“We make sure that our nurses are both competent and marketable, ready not just for the work but also for leadership positions. And that’s from the day they finish, they’re ready. They walk into their new positions prepared, comfortable and poised to lead.”

Encouraging words.


In process, Doctor of Education, Health Care Education, Nova Southeastern University

Master of Science, Nursing, Old Dominion University

Bachelor of Science, Nursing, Virginia Commonwealth University

Diploma of Nursing, Danville Regional Medical Center

Kelly Fuller
Assistant Professor

Phone: 434-791-7140
Office: Riverview 225


Oaks-2916Karen Oaks
Assistant Professor and Simulation Coordinator

Phone: 434-791-7220
Office: Riverview 238

Because her father was in the U.S. Air Force, Professor Karen Oaks was living in England when she was in the 6th grade and had to have her tonsils removed.

“I was really scared. I was in the hospital the night before the surgery, and strict visiting hours meant my parents weren’t with me that night. So I ran away.”

Ran away? “Well, I tried to,” she says. “But they caught me, injected me with a sedative and literally carried me back to my room. The nurses were … let’s just say ‘very stern.’ The whole experience was so horrible that I knew right then that I needed to be a nurse.”

She adds: “I wasn’t a bad kid, just scared. But the nurses didn’t take the time or make the effort to find out why I was being difficult. So I knew that I could do a better job of nursing than that. And I set out to prove it.”

To this day, she says, “difficult” patients are her favorite. “You simply need to take the time to get to know them — and the same goes for their families — to realize what they’re going through. Once you understand, they’re not difficult.”

That approach to problems reflects Oaks’s teaching style, as well. “Bring me your problems,” she tells her students, “because problems can be solved!”

She adds: “I know how important it is to have close classroom relationships. Students know that I will help them or I will find help for them. There’s always a solution. We are all here to help our students succeed, and we do whatever it takes.”

Oaks says that Averett comprises a very friendly, small and helpful community. “The classes are small, too, and students have one-on-one sessions with their professors all the time. Here on the Riverview campus, the layout means you’re always walking by profs’ offices, always interacting. No one here is standoffish or aloof. There’s just a good feeling here, as there is on the main campus.”

Oaks is unendingly positive — about the nurse education program, the university, even the area in general: “I think that Danville is beautiful,” she adds. “There are four distinct seasons here, and I enjoy every one of them! Also, we’re only three-and-a-half hours from Virginia Beach, four hours from Atlantic Beach and about two to three hours from gorgeous mountains. We have it all!”


Master of Science, Nursing, focus in Nurse Education, Old Dominion University

Bachelor of Science, Nursing, Old Dominion University

Board certified Family Nurse Practitioner

pikeDebbie Pike
Administrative Assistant

Phone: 434-791-7111
Office: Riverview 228


Les Waller
Assistant Professor

Phone: 434-791-7239
Office: Riverview 227