Center director claims best job on campusSeptember 30, 2019

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Cindy Canon

“I had been a nurse for about 15 years and thought I needed a change,” remembered Cindy Canon. “I thought that I might enjoy teaching, so I was researching the option of going back to school to get a teaching degree. My dad said, ‘Why don’t you be a nursing instructor.’ I thought, ‘Of course;’ and that’s how I started working at Midland College.”

Canon first started teaching nursing classes at Midland College (MC) in 2005 as an adjunct (part-time) instructor. Then in 2007, after receiving her Master of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Texas at El Paso, she was hired as a full-time nursing professor. In 2010, she assumed the position of manager of the new F. Marie Hall SimLife Center at Midland College and is now director of the SimLife Center. As such, she oversees equipment, scheduling, budget and public relations for the interdisciplinary health sciences simulation lab at MC. She also teaches Clinical Simulation to nursing students.

“I love what I do,” said Canon. “I have the best of both worlds—nursing and education.” 

In 2010, West Texas benefactor Marie Hall gifted MC with funds to establish a healthcare simulation center similar to the one at Texas Tech in Lubbock, which Miss Hall also supported. The F. Marie Hall SimLife Center at Midland College is equipped with state-of-the-art healthcare simulation manikins and products. The lifelike capabilities of the products allow learners to experience “real-life” medical situations in a safe environment. State-of-the-art audio and video equipment allows participants to review their performance, learn and grow. The Midland College SimLife Center is used by MC students, Texas Tech medical residents and Midland Health practitioners in a variety of medical fields and health care professions.

Cindy Canon was involved with the state-of-the art SimLife Center from its inception, including working with Miss Hall and architects on the design of the facility.

“My background is in hospital ICU and Recovery Room nursing,” explained Canon. “Our goal in designing the SimLife Center was for it to resemble the look and feel of a hospital. When a person first walks in the doors, we want them to think they are in a hospital. 

“The very first time students have to go through a simulated exercise, they are nauseated, terrified and a little excited. By the end of the day, the nausea and terror are gone and replaced with a lot of excitement. It’s fulfilling to watch students grow to become competent, caring healthcare professionals.”

Canon began her nursing career in 1992 when she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Oklahoma. 

“It’s really funny how I decided upon a nursing career,” said Canon. “I was always a good student in high school and didn’t have to study much to make good grades. When I graduated from high school in 1983, I enrolled at the local community college in Oklahoma as a pre-nursing major. I also thought that I needed a new car. I had to work two jobs to make the car payments, and then also was trying to take a full load of courses. I found out really quickly that one has to study in order to pass college courses, and I just didn’t have time. At the end of my first semester, my grades consisted of four “D's” and one “F.” I lost my scholarship, but I still had the car. So, I dropped out of college for a few years and worked as a receptionist in a chiropractor’s office.”

Canon also attended travel agent school, but soon realized that it would be hard to earn a living as a travel agent, so she then obtained a job working for United Airlines in Tulsa, OK for two years.

“I lifted bags on and off the airplane and conveyor belts, drove the trucks that push the planes, and then because Tulsa was a small airport with light traffic, I also worked behind the ticket counter,” said Canon.

In the late 1980s, Canon decided that she needed to go back to college in order to obtain a more fulfilling career.

“I was still thinking that I wanted to be a nurse, but I also thought that maybe accounting might be a good profession,” stated Canon. “I applied to UTSA [University of Texas San Antonio] for accounting, but also applied to OU [University of Oklahoma] for nursing. People who know me will tell you that I am definitely not the accountant-type, so it is probably a good thing that UTSA wouldn’t accept me because my grades from my community college days were so poor. For some reason, OU accepted me into nursing school, although I was waitlisted.”

Since graduating from OU, Canon has either worked as a nurse or nurse educator, except for one year when she stayed home with her two small daughters.

Her daughters Haley and Megan are now grown.  Haley is 25, and has a degree in Sociology from Texas A&M. She is also following in her mother’s footsteps and is a recent graduate of Concordia University School of Nursing in Austin. Megan is 22, majoring in Finance at Texas State University and will graduate in May.

In addition to her two daughters, Cindy has 8 stepchildren and 7 ½ grandchildren. She acquired the addition to her family on November 24, 2018 when she married Tim Canon.

“Tim and I met on a blind date,” explained Cindy.  “We had both gone to St. Ann’s Church for many years but never knew each other. Then some very nice friends at church—Judy Canon, who is now my sister-in-law, and Karen Mason—‘conspired’ to get us together. When Tim proposed marriage to me, I texted Judy and Karen a photo of the ring on my finger with the message ‘See what your meddling has done!’

“I’m actually thrilled to be married again and have a big family with grandchildren. All the grandchildren are girls—even the ½ one!”

In her spare time, Canon enjoys cooking, reading and having lunch with girlfriends.

“My favorite thing to do is to sit on a chair by a pool with a piña colada, preferably on a cruise or somewhere tropical, but my neighborhood pool also works!” laughed Cindy.

One can easily see that Cindy Canon makes the most out of life. She enjoys the time spent with family, friends and coworkers.

“I really am convinced that I have the best job at Midland College,” said Canon. “I am so lucky to be able to work with competent, capable and supportive people who are also amazing friends.”

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