Outstanding Islander Graduate Josephine Arnold ’18, ’22 Continues Health Care Family Legacy

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – For her outstanding academic achievements and passion for giving back to her community, Josephine Arnold ’18, ’22 was selected as the Outstanding Islander Graduate for the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS). Arnold is one of more than 1,280 Islanders who will earn their degree on May 21 during the Spring 2022 Commencement Ceremony – the largest in the university’s 75-year history. The honor of Outstanding Islander Graduate is sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs. 

“I am honored by this recognition,” said Arnold, who will earn a Master of Science in Nursing – Family Practice. “I am aware of the giants of whose shoulders I stand on within this program and within the university. I am thankful for their support, guidance, and example that has helped me thrive throughout my collegiate career.”

Health care is a family affair for Arnold who stems from generations of medical professionals including her mother and grandmother, both registered nurses; father, a dentist and maxillofacial radiologist; and grandfather, a U.S. Navy Medic in World War II who went on to become a dentist.

“I am grateful for the legacy passed down to me; their stories of heroic care and compassionate presence have always been inspiring to me,” Arnold said. “I hope that I will one day be able to echo their competence, care, and wisdom as a nurse.”

The legacy continues with Arnold and her two sisters, Olivia and Sophie, who are all walking the same stage on May 21 – all three of them earning the same graduate nursing degree from the Island University.

“My sisters and I are three very different people and have all pursued different areas of nursing practice. We’ve always had a special bond and completing this program together has only strengthened our relationship,” Arnold said. “I feel this recognition belongs as much to them as it does to me. I owe them so much.”

Throughout her journey at TAMU-CC, which included earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Summa Cum Laude), Arnold maintained a 4.0 grade point average. As a fully online student from San Antonio, Arnold says the unique and immersive structure of the eLine nursing program allowed her to thrive while balancing her duties as a student, mother, and nurse.

“Nursing school, regardless of the chosen track, is an intense experience,” Arnold said. “The online format allowed me to fulfill my goals and be fully present to my children as a mother, while also gaining the knowledge, skills, and competence to serve my community as a nurse.”

Arnold expressed gratitude for many of her nursing faculty, including Drs. Dixie Andelman, Heather DeGrande, and Mary Jane Hamilton, along with adjunct faculty member Priti Doshi. Arnold noted that Hamilton, CONHS Founding Dean and Professor Emeritus, not only served as a source of encouragement in the classroom but also during a family hardship.

“During my research course in spring 2019, my grandfather fell ill after suffering a heart attack, and the entire experience, on top of the course load, filled me with anxiety and fatigue,” Arnold said. “Dr. Hamilton made it clear that she was there for me. She helped answer my questions and refined my research. She asked me about my classes and my grandfather – her invaluable encouragement and support was a gift.”

Following that research course, Hamilton encouraged Arnold and her teammate Rosa Navarro to submit their work to a conference. The work was accepted, and Arnold and Navarro presented their project, “Limiting Hypertension in Diabetic Hispanics” at the Sigma Theta Tau Global Nursing Excellence Sigma So Cal Odyssey Research Conference in California.

“Josie truly led the way within her peer group,” Hamilton said. “She was outstanding in her relationships with faculty, patients, and her family. She exemplifies the best that is in the up-and-coming generation of nurse leaders, and I was honored to be a part of her education and her life. I have no doubt she will emerge as one of the nurse leaders in South Texas.”

Arnold also credits her husband Jed, and their two children Ellie and Samuel, who Arnold proudly homeschools, for helping her get to the finish line.

“This success is our moment together,” Arnold said.

Along with her current role as a nurse researcher at the Institute for Natural Resources, Arnold also practices as a registered nurse for the nonprofit clinic Any Woman Can. Following graduation, Arnold hopes to use her skills to strengthen communities and families who have often been overlooked, particularly medically underserved women in the San Antonio area.

“Our community has high levels of maternal mortality and disparate access to care,” Arnold said. “I believe through my education and training I will be well-prepared to give care and hope to those who desperately need it.”

Arnold said she is honored with the opportunity to affect her patients with evidence-based, culturally competent, and compassionate care.

“My parents always remind me of the quote, ‘The one to whom much has been given, much will be expected,’ and this is the thought that echoes in my mind as I approach graduation,” Arnold said. “I am aware of the magnitude of the gifts that I have been given by my family, faculty, my preceptors, and my fellow classmates. May I and my fellow classmates use our gifts to serve our patients, their families, and our communities with excellence.