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Mohr lands coveted pediatric residency at Cook Children’s Medical Center

Ariana Mohr graduated from Bellin College in October 2019. Her journey to becoming a nurse, however, took her from Texas to Arkansas to Wisconsin and, most recently, back to Texas – where she landed a coveted position in a familiar place.

As a high school student, Mohr began volunteering her time at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. There, she met a child life specialist and determined that field was her passion. In preparation to become a child life specialist, Mohr attended the University of Arkansas and obtained a degree in family life sciences with a focus on child development.

“My career plans started to shift when I became a ‘baby buddy’ at Cook Children’s Medical Center,” said Mohr. “Baby buddies hold, rock and feed NICU babies. I quickly discovered I really enjoyed the hands-on aspect of that role and decided that I would pursue nursing instead of child life.”

After graduating from the University of Arkansas, Mohr applied for the Bellin College 15-month nursing program, was accepted and started classes at Bellin College in June 2018. Her dad, an engineer and native of Wisconsin, and her mom, a teacher, decided to leave Texas and retire in the Green Bay area in May 2017. So, oddly enough, the Mohrs were all in Green Bay. After many months of studying, Ariana graduated from Bellin College with her BSN in October 2019. Fun family fact: Both Ariana and her sister, Tatiana, were adopted from Russia into the Mohr family as toddlers.

 Attaining her new role in Texas was hard-fought. Cook Children’s Medical Center doesn’t hire new graduates. However, nurses can enter as a nurse resident. This is a yearlong program that includes simulations, classes, discussions, further pediatric certification and, finally, an offer for a permanent position.

To apply, she participated in an information session, completed an initial application and resume, gathered two letters of recommendation and completed five essay responses. Then, she waited for a call. Of the more than 800 applicants, only 250 were offered interviews and Ariana was one of them. Her interview was done via Skype, since she was still living in Wisconsin, and consisted of a one-hour panel interview.

“During the first part of the interview, the panel asked me questions about clinical experience, preferences and scenarios, and the second half was a case study,” said Mohr. “The panel gave me a scenario and asked me to talk through my thought process, asked how I would approach the situation, verbalize a head-to-toe assessment, obtain a health history from the patient’s mother and anticipate doctor’s orders. From there, they furthered the scenario and asked me to verbalize how I would handle the new events and anticipate new doctor’s orders.”

The panel told Ariana she would hear back within 10 days and one day, at 9 a.m., her phone rang. Cook Children’s Medical Center had one more interview question: Would you like to work for us? Of course, her answer was yes!

“I was well prepared for the case study because of my simulation, health assessment, pediatrics and public health courses,” said Mohr. “I had wonderful instructors like Sue Poppele, Lynn Murphy, Kathie DeMuth and Megan Liebzeit to thank for that.”

Mohr started her nurse residency on Feb. 3. In the future, she would like to become more involved in leadership, hospital policy, or become a charge nurse or nurse manager. She may also continue her education by obtaining a master’s degree. 

Ariana credits Bellin College with having the unique ability to help students prepare for their careers before they even graduate and teaching them how to apply the knowledge and skills attained at Bellin College to real-world scenarios.

Her advice to current nursing students: “Don’t close yourself off to one route or possibility,” said Mohr. “Your passion may change as you interact with more people and gain more experience, so be open-minded.”

Congrats, Ariana!

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sanchez wins photo 2019

Bellin College seeks nominations for Distinguished Alumni Award

GREEN BAY — Bellin College is seeking nominations for the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award. Nominees must have graduated from a Bellin College or Bellin Hospital program and will be considered based on their professional accomplishments, community service, contributions to the health care profession, and how they exemplify the mission and values of Bellin College. Nominations will be accepted online and via mail until 4 p.m. June 1, 2020.

Alumni will have the opportunity to review each nomination and vote for this year’s distinguished alumni award winner. Voting will begin June 9 and end June 30. The award will be presented at the 2020 Alumni Homecoming event on Sept. 17 at The Rock Garden. Online registration for Alumni Homecoming will begin May 18.

To nominate a Bellin College alumni, please complete the Bellin College Distinguished Alumni Nomination Form online at bellincollege.edu or print, complete and mail the printable nomination form to the Bellin College Development office, 3201 Eaton Road, Green Bay, WI 54311.

Past winners of the award include Karen Sanchez in 2019, Dr. Mark Bake in 2018, Donna Zelazoski in 2017, Sally Karioth in 2016, Lori Fayas in 2015, and Peggy Gauthier was the first recipient in 2014.

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kelsey tavs

Alumna using skills to care for COVID-19 patients

Kelsey Tavs, class of 2018

Where are you currently working and in what role? How long have you been in that position?

I am a Registered Nurse at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton. I graduated from Bellin College in May 2018. I took my NCLEX on a Friday in early June, and started my job on the following Monday — good thing I passed! That adds up to just about two years of taking on the exciting and challenging role of the RN. I work on a medical/surgical — general surgery floor. Our population consists of medical patients from the Emergency Department with anything from pneumonia, kidney failure, GI bleeds, orthopedic traumas, and altered mental status. Our surgical population includes a wide variety of post-operative patients having a thyroidectomy, prostatectomy, colectomy, and more. This diverse patient population definitely keeps the job interesting!

In mid-March, everything took a turn and my unit became a COVID-19-only floor. Everything you see hyped up on social media — the personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, visitor restrictions, fear of infecting your own family members, and nurses uniting together — has a different kind of meaning when you are the one in the room providing care for those in the fight against this virus.

How has COVID-19 changed your outlook on nursing and/or how you deliver care?

COVID-19 has even more so ignited my passion and pride for the nursing profession. The distinct characteristics of a nurse have been highlighted tremendously these past few weeks — intelligence, a caring and compassionate heart, adaptability, resilience, and even our entertaining sense of humor. When some are told to stay in their home, nurses are the ones running full force toward the action. I am so thankful for my team and the many other disciplines who show up every day, mask-on, despite the many challenges and fears this virus has created in our hospital and world.

One of the biggest differences in care delivery during this pandemic is doing so with no visitors present. There are no family members there to sit at the bedside of a confused and scared patient, ask clarifying questions when information is hard to understand, or advocate for their loved one. Family members are putting their entire trust and hope in the nursing staff to do these important tasks on their behalf. Last week, my patient was switched to hospice care and during a phone update with her son, he asked me, “Does she look comfortable?” This may seem like a simple, nonmeaningful question to some. But when you are unable to physically see your family member, the answer to this question means everything. The heightened responsibilities to be one of the sole individuals providing comfort, ensuring the plan of care is understood, and advocating for my patient is truly an honor that I do not take lightly. 

How has it changed how you think about the world around you?

The world has literally come to a halt due to COVID-19. What a unique time. In the midst of some grumbles of boredom and going a bit stir-crazy in the house, there is something really special going on here. Someone said to me recently, “We have never spent this much time as a family before.” My hope is that those who are able to stay home are taking advantage of this time to stay still as it is the complete opposite of our always-busy culture.

I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support shown toward me personally and toward nursing as a whole — the countless messages, prayers, sidewalk chalk art, hearts in windows, gift baskets, motivational signs, and more. Despite the ongoing anxiety and sadness surrounding COVID-19, this has reminded me that when things get tough, people will always unite.

What have you learned from the veteran nurses around you in the last few weeks?

One of the biggest takeaways from the leaders around me is that perspective and attitude is a choice — before COVID-19 and especially during. My intent is not to make it seem like nursing is easy right now. Nursing is more demanding than ever of both our physical and mental energy. Our patients are sicker than they have ever been. Processes are changing daily, if not hourly. The conservation and fear of running out of PPE is real. With that being said, my leaders have encouraged us to stay calm, stay positive, and embrace this abnormal period of time. One line that has stuck with me is, “You’re in the midst of history.” One day, we will all look back and share the craziness of being a frontline healthcare provider during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Has anything you learned in nursing school come in handy in the past few weeks? If so, what?

My education at Bellin College set me up for success by solidifying certain characteristics within me that have been essential in my nursing career thus far. The college values of Excellence, Integrity, Community, and Caring are all characteristics ingrained within the way I practice nursing and have definitely come in handy these past few weeks. My experiences with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), which prioritizes leading and embracing change, set me up to accept all of the change that has occurred recently and motivate me to be a resource for my team by keeping up-to-date with the most recent information. I was surrounded by individuals at Bellin College who pushed me to stay positive through the challenges of nursing school and remain calm during the stress which is also a skill coming in handy these days. And lastly, my time on the medical mission trip to Guatemala changed my entire perspective in a way I will never forget. Even now during times of uncertainty, we are blessed to live in a country with all the available resources, finances, and equipment. I will always be thankful for my experiences and the excellent, foundational education I received at Bellin College.

If you are a nurse currently or played any role in my journey of becoming a nurse, thank you! You are valued and appreciated. If you are a nurse-in-the-making, get excited, you are about to begin one of the most exciting, challenging, and rewarding careers there is. And for my MS2 team, we are in this together. I see you and appreciate you. We will come out of this stronger than ever.

Kelsey Tavs,
Bellin College Alumna

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Bellin College postpones spring graduation

Bellin College has been monitoring the current COVID-19 public health situation and has been assessing how this will impact our events moving forward. It is with much consideration for the safety of our college community and the friends and families of our graduates that we must postpone graduation scheduled for May 16 at the Weidner Center in Green Bay.

“To protect the safety of our graduates and their families, it was pertinent to make this decision,” said President and CEO Dr. Connie Boerst. “Our graduates are all going to be healthcare providers and we still will ensure their ability to graduate and enter the workforce during these ever-changing COVID-19 times.”

We look forward to celebrating our graduating class in the way they deserve.

College leaders will provide updates as new information becomes available. The information will be available online at https://www.bellincollege.edu/covid-19-update/

Parents and students with questions or concerns may contact Vice President of Strategic Engagement and Public Relations Matt Rentmeester at (920) 433-6657.

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