Dilyss Gallyot returned to College of DuPage to teach as a way of returning the favor to the place that got her started on her path.
She graduated from COD with an Associate in Science degree before earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Northern Illinois University. Gallyot then worked full-time as a nurse for 16 years before she began teaching.
“When I came here as a student, I had no idea what I wanted to do,” she said. “The faculty gave me such a great learning environment and allowed me to expand and grow in multiple ways. This place gave me the foundation that I needed. It gave me a gift. Returning here to teach allowed me to give back.”
She expressed the importance of applying what she has learned throughout her career to how she teaches her students.
“When I’m in the classroom, I have a large collection of narratives to draw upon,” she said. “I can tell them, ‘This is an example of what nursing does to make a difference for people and communities.’ Yes, they will be tired. There will be good days and some not-so-good days, but every day is a chance to walk through the door and make a difference.”
One of the classes that Gallyot teaches is “Role of a Nurse,” where she expresses the importance of professionalism, communication, collaboration and ethics.
“There are so many things I explore to get students to understand that nurses do more than just administer medication,” she said. “There are interpersonal skills you must develop to work with patients and families.”
Gallyot also puts a great amount of effort into helping her students succeed beyond the classroom. She works with graduates to coach them as they prepare for state board exams and stays in touch to offer career advice, such as what certain jobs entail and how to handle challenging situations at work.
She said one of the most fulfilling parts of educating is her enjoyment from watching students progress from being unsure of how to enter a patient’s room to confidently working with multiple patients.
“It’s so exciting to be a part of their journey,” she said. “I am delighted when they come to me with stories of how they applied what they learned in class to a clinical situation.”
In 2017, Gallyot was named one of COD’s Distinguished Alumni. Two years later, she was honored as the College-Wide Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member.
Gallyot views her role at the College as an opportunity, rather than a responsibility.
“This is not a job that I ‘have’ to do. It’s a job that I ‘get’ to do,” she said. “My students come to me with a desire to help people. What I do is nurture and grow that desire. It’s so exciting to be a part of that journey.”
Looking ahead, Gallyot is enthusiastic about preparing future generations of nurses for careers in the industry.
“As I go through and further develop as a teacher and build relationships with students, I see that this community is filled with people who want to do good,” she said. “If I can give them a spark to want to continue improving, then I’m doing well. That’s what we’re all here for.”