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Gina Schaar, DNP, RN

Dr. Gina Schaar has been a member of the USI nursing faculty for 31 years. She earned her BSN and MSN at the University of Evansville, and was a member of the first Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) cohort at USI, graduating in 2011. "I had some phenomenal faculty who sparked my interest in education," she says. "At UE, Dr. Nadine Coudret and Dr. Melissa Vandeveer played a major role in routing me into a career in nursing education. They both were part of the core team that started USI's Nursing Program."

Schaar first started teaching as an adjunct at USI in the pediatric course, which she loved. So when she was offered the full-time faculty role to coordinate the obstetrical course, she new that this was the role she was meant to be in.

Q&A with Gina

    Why did you choose nursing as your profession? That is a very hard question for me. From early elementary school, I had this innate desire to be a nurse and had a wonderful make-shift hospital I set up! I never considered any profession despite having no nurse mentors in my life other than the nurses who cared for me at a young age when I had several knee surgeries. As a patient on the pediatric floor, it just confirmed my goal to be a nurse who cares for children and infants.

    Where have you/did you work as a nurse? I worked at St. Mary’s on the pediatric floor as a new graduate and then transferred into the NICU (which will always have my heart!). I then went to work for Tri-State Obstetrics and Gynecology as an office nurse where I had an additional responsibility of doing the new OB intake histories and education.  I went back to St. Vincent/St. Mary’s and worked for 15 years as a prn nurse in pediatrics, pediatric ICU and NICU.

    What classes are you teaching here at USI? I teach predominantly in the undergraduate nursing program. I am course and clinical coordinator for N456 Nursing of Women and Families course. I also teach in N498 Clinical Synthesis in Nursing, N364 Care of Children and Families, N604 Population Based Health Care and Policy and am a DNP faculty mentor.

    In your own words, why is it important to set aside a week to honor the nursing profession? Nurses Week is essential for honoring nurses, raising awareness about their valuable role in providing excellent patient care and promoting professional growth within the profession, which ultimately enhances patient care and strengthens the healthcare system.

    What advice do you have for the next generation of nurses–for students who may be considering this profession? Entering the nursing profession offers the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in people's lives, contribute to healthcare advancements, and experience a fulfilling and rewarding career. Nursing offers many diverse opportunities in which you can impact the lives of others. Nursing is a wonderful profession!

    What is a fun fact about you that most people do not know? I worked for a florist for nine years–through completion of college. I have arranged flowers for many weddings.