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Diabetes Nurse Clinician at Deaconess Gateway Hospital Newburgh, Indiana

USI Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing with minor in Gerontology, December 2016

From: Newburgh, Indiana, Castle High School
Currently lives in: Newburgh, Indiana

What brought you to USI?
I had already begun working at Deaconess before I started college. I was able to see how poised, confident, and hands on the USI nursing students were and I knew that was where I wanted to attend school for nursing.

Please tell us how the College of Nursing and Health Professions prepared you for your career.
The instructors in the College of Nursing and Health Professions did an excellent job preparing me for my career in nursing. I knew the easy part was over and the hard work was about to begin. I began my career in the Neuro ICU at Deaconess Gateway. Many nurses do not feel ready to take on critical care right out of school, but thankfully, USI included critical care as part of the curriculum, and in that class, I completed hours of clinicals in the ICU and was able to lead a code blue team. Those experiences, plus the other countless hours I spent in clinical, were invaluable and left me feeling like I had been given a jumpstart on my career in critical care nursing. One of the things most emphasized by every instructor was to never be afraid to speak up or ask questions. I credit this for being a large part of the reason I won "Nurse of the Year for Excellence in Clinical Practice" and have continued to be successful in my career as a nurse. I left USI feeling empowered and confident in myself and my knowledge base, as well as my limitations. I sought out preceptors and mentors who modeled the nurse I wanted to be. These preceptors and mentors, like the USI faculty, challenged me to be better and to seek out as many opportunities for knowledge as possible. After passing the NCLEX, I began to set professional goals for myself. I wanted to become a charge nurse in the ICU. After I achieved this, I set a goal to become certified in continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT), and so on and so fourth. Setting professional goals led me to obtain two national certifications: one in stroke care (SCRN) and one in critical care (CCRN), and I am currently working towards my third in diabetes care (CDCES). Without USI, I do not think I would have began my career feeling empowered.

Were you in any clubs, organizations, athletics?
Sigma Theta Tau

What has been your favorite memory of your time at USI?
In my last semester of nursing school, one of the assignments in critical care was to do a non-traditional presentation on an assigned medication. My group was assigned the medication epinephrine. Part of our assignment was to teach the others in the class the indications for the drug, side effects, drug class and contraindications. My group chose to create a music video to the tune of "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot. We shot the video in the HP building and wrote our own lyrics. My group had a blast with the creative freedom the professors allotted us. The day everyone presented their assignments was by far one of the funniest, fun-filled days I had on campus.

What would you tell someone who is thinking of coming to USI?
USI is an excellent school with endless opportunities for growth. Every instructor I encountered, whether it being in the nursing program or in the nursing prerequisite classes, felt invested in me and my success. The instructors truly seemed to enjoy their jobs, and this made learning fun.

Anything you would like to add that we didn't ask about?
I currently reside in my hometown of Newburgh, Indiana, with my husband Tyler, our 2-year-old son, Leo, and our dog, Wally. Our second son, Eli, is due in December.