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Lora Beebe: Psychiatric Nursing Specialist, Thrill Seeker, Bookworm, Grandma

Beebe enjoying her last zip line adventure.


At UT:
At UT since 2005, Lora Beebe is a professor in the College of Nursing. Her research and expertise focus on psychiatric nursing. In 2006 she became the coordinator for the psychiatric mental health graduate concentration and is the advisor for all students in the psychiatric nursing program. “I never imagined I would become a professor, but I’ve grown to love it,” she said. She currently leads, as a part of a multidisciplinary faculty team, the Recovery-Based Interprofessional Distance Education (RIDE) program.

Why she chose this field: “When I was choosing my career, women still had basically two choices—teacher or nurse,” Beebe said. “I chose nursing because I knew I wanted to help people. I began my career by volunteering at a hospital as a candy striper.”

Beebe went on to receive her nursing diploma in 1983. Historically, nursing diplomas were the way students became nurses, but receiving associate’s and bachelor’s degrees has become much more common. Beebe completed a BSN at Marshall University in 1987, an MSN at the University of Kentucky in 1989, and a doctorate in nursing at UK in 2000.

Beebe and her grandchildren, Leia Camryn Morace, 7 months, and Jared Kael Morace, 3, prepare for trick-or-treating at Halloween.

Beebe has always loved working with psychiatric patients. “It’s very rewarding to see people make progress in their mental health,” Beebe said. “From a research perspective, I find psychiatric nursing fascinating and challenging because there are still so many unanswered questions about the human mind.”

Outside interests: Beebe has one daughter and two grandchildren, and enjoys the outdoors. “I enjoy hiking in the mountains, kayaking, zip lining, and yoga.”

Beebe also has a great passion for books and reading. “Books are kind of magical,” she said. “They allow you to live a thousand different lives. I love to get lost in a good story.”

Beebe enjoying a day of kayaking.

Favorite book: “I personally love Dickens’s writing style, and A Tale of Two Cities is such a romantic story of the redemptive power of love,” she said. “It’s a real tearjerker!”

If I didn’t do this, I’d: Be a librarian. “You know that scene in Beauty and the Beast when Beast gave Belle the library?” Beebe asked. “I’ve always wanted to be gifted a library. Keep your flowers or chocolates and surround me with books.”

One last thing: Beebe loves to try anything new and revels in proving people wrong when they say she can’t do something. “Many people may not know this about me, but I went skydiving,” Beebe said. “I can be a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and skydiving was an incredible experience.”

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