Division Chair of Nursing and Allied Health/Director of Nursing
BSN, Nursing, South Dakota State University
MSN, Nursing, Missouri State University
What made you decide to specialize in Nursing?
My mother has been a nurse for over 35 years. I did not intend to go to nursing school, but I feel like the profession chose me. I don’t know what exactly got me started, but once I started classes and clinicals I was hooked. I had never before experienced a sense of calm like I did when I was caring for other people. Teaching nursing students has been the culmination of years of nursing and training new nurses. It was just a logical progression for me to move to the classroom to share my years of nursing experience with others.
What was your favorite course in college and why?
My favorite class in college was Community Health Nursing. My class did a disaster readiness evaluation for the surrounding towns around Brookings, South Dakota, that included meeting with town officials and developing a disaster plan with the Red Cross across southeast South Dakota. It was fascinating, and all of it took place outside the classroom. It was my first exposure into how nursing spreads far beyond the walls of the hospital.
What do you find most rewarding about teaching?
Changing lives of students who have grown up in poverty. To see graduates years later break the cycle of poverty for their family has been my most rewarding experience.
What advice would you give current students or prospective students?
No one said this would be easy, but it will be worth it. Nursing is extremely rigorous work and so is training for nursing. You have to be 100 percent committed to your education from day one. This is not something that you can do halfway. In the end, the rewards for that commitment will show.
What would you say to a student interesting in pursuing a career in nursing?
Make sure you understand the day in and day out life of a nurse. Talk to nurses, job shadow nurses and explore the field. It is so much more than taking orders from doctors and giving shots.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love spending time with my family at the baseball field! Go Warriors!