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Q&A with an RN to BSN Grad

Q&A with Mary Basten, HSRC Simulation Coordinator at Bellin College
RN to BSN graduate, class of December 2017

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

I had initially wanted to be a high school Spanish teacher. I was really good at learning the Spanish language, and my father was a teacher so I thought it would be a really good fit. I went to UWGB for a year before changing majors. I felt I would have more opportunity to touch more lives as a nurse than I would as a teacher, so I made the switch! I had no idea what a nurse actually did, I had never been sick as a child and had only seen nurses in the clinic setting. I thought it would be easy, and I was proved wrong!

Where did you receive your ADN?

I received my associate’s degree at NWTC in Green Bay.

Where have you worked, and what experiences did you have when you started out in your career?

As a CNA I worked at The Recovery Inn which is a part of Orthopedic and Sports Institute of the Fox Valley. During school, I worked as a Nurse Tech at a nursing home in Kaukauna for a short while. I decided the drive was not for me anymore, so I applied to Bellin Health and was offered the opportunity to work for on the 4th floor of Bellin Hospital. The medical unit was my home during my transition from CNA to RN. I worked on medical for a few years and decided I wanted to try critical care, and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Bellin became my final home. I had the opportunity to work with many sick people and have learned so much from my experiences, it is unexplainable how grateful I am to be a nurse.

What was your job at Bellin and what made you decide to enroll in the RN to BSN Completion program at Bellin College?

I was working as a staff nurse in the ICU at Bellin when I decided to enroll in the RN to BSN program through Bellin College. I decided it was time as I was very motivated to continue school and achieve my goal of becoming a nurse educator. Bellin Health was offering unbelievable assistance through Bellin College so I applied and was accepted into the second cohort. I am forever grateful for this opportunity.

What was your experience in the RN to BSN completion program at Bellin College?

The program worked well with my swing shift schedule. The classes held in person were offered at times which allowed me to continue working full time in the ICU as well as have time for my friends and family. One highlight from the program included traveling to Haiti. I was humbled at the living situation Haitians are faced with as well as enjoying some classes with undergrad students. During my community practicum, I spent the bulk of my time in Haiti where we provided clinic to hundreds of vulnerable people. I slept in a tent on the ground in 100 degrees and cried before I left the country. It’s impossible to explain to anyone the feelings I had while I was there, it was truly remarkable. I also spent some time during my community practicum at other sites including Unity Hospice Residence. I had cared for dying patients during my work as a staff nurse and it was very interesting to see how they could be cared for at the Residence instead of the hospital setting.

How was your experience transitioning from the hospital setting to the college, and what do you like best about working in the HSRC?

My transition from the hospital setting was difficult as I wasn’t sure if I was ready to give it up. It was difficult at first, but I am still currently working PRN in the ICU, and am able to fill my need to care for patients intermittently. The people I work with at the college are some of the greatest people in the world. They all have the student’s goals in mind as they make the gears of the building turn. The thing I like best about my work in the HSRC has to be working with the students. I love seeing the students and their moments of understanding as they learn something new.

What are your future career goals and aspirations?

My ultimate goal is to achieve my master’s degree as a Nurse Educator. 

Any advice for other RNs looking to advance their careers?

My advice is to jump in and do it, no matter what it is. The greatest thing about nursing is that there are so many different areas we can jump into. If you decide you do not like it, there will always be another door to open and another opportunity to try something new.

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Bellin College Pediatric Health Centers provides access to healthcare for children at Encompass

Access to quality healthcare services is something many U.S. citizens take for granted. Regular care is essential for promoting and maintaining health, preventing and managing disease, and reducing unnecessary disability and premature death. Oral health care is as equally important in preventing disease. For some Brown County residents, access to regular care is difficult due to costs or inadequate insurance coverage. Community resources that offer services to those in need make a stronger community and improve the quality of life for all Brown County residents.

Read more about Bellin College Pediatric Health Centers provides access to healthcare for children at Encompass
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Three generations of Bellin College grads

Many Bellin College students find themselves following in the footsteps of a grandparent, parent, sibling or another relative when deciding on a career path. Abbygal VandenHouten, a third generation Bellin College graduate, chose a degree program at Bellin College knowing the great experience both her mother and grandmother had in their nursing programs. In high school, VandenHouten enjoyed biology but knew she did not want to be a nurse, but still wanted a career in healthcare. She came across medical imaging and decided to become a radiologic technologist.

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Bellin College Students Named to Spring 2018 Dean’s List

Bellin College would like to congratulate our Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences, and Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography students who have been named to the spring 2018 dean’s list. The dean’s list is composed of students who earned a grade point average of 3.5 or better in Bellin College courses, are in good disciplinary standing, and carry at least 6 credits.

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Tim at Bellin College

Future nurse making a difference in the lives of others

Fifteen-month nursing student Tim Lautenslager has overcome adversity that will allow him to be the caring, empathetic nurse most patients want. Lautenslager worked for three years in Detroit, Mich. as a nuclear medicine technologist after graduating from Ferris State University with a bachelor’s degree. While researching the variety of specialties and the areas of nursing available, he decided to move back home to Green Bay, Wis. to earn his Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Originally from Green Bay, Lautenslager knew about the 15-month program at Bellin College and thought the fast-track program was the best fit for him.

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Dr. Kulju with Dean of Nursing Dr. Stephanie Stewart

Dr. Kulju receives esteemed faculty award from Bellin College

Each year a nursing faculty member is recognized for his or her outstanding service at Bellin College through the generosity of retired neurosurgeon, Dr. Hiro Nishioka. In 1995, Dr. Nishioka established the Nishioka Family Faculty Excellence Award in recognition of a faculty member who excels in the areas of instructional expertise, contributions to the advancement of the profession and nursing education, professional role modeling and a commitment to professional growth.

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Kelsey Tavs honored as Lucyanna Hitch Award Recipient in 2018

Tavs honored as the 2018 Lucyanna Hitch Award for Excellence recipient

At the spring commencement ceremony, a graduating student is recognized for his or her exemplary commitment to the Bellin College values of excellence, integrity, community and caring with the Lucyanna Hitch Award for Excellence. The name Lucyanna Hitch aligns with excellence. She was a leader in the development of the baccalaureate nursing program, served on the board of trustees, and co-chaired one of the most successful endowment campaigns. Hitch’s legacy lives on through her many contributions to Bellin College.

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Bellin College alumna advocates for sexual assault and abuse victims as a SANE nurse at St. Vincent Hospital

Dana Stueber, BSN class of 2001, became interested in a nursing career later in life. She was in her late 30s when she graduated from the 15-month nursing program at Bellin College. A mother of three, Stueber had to make frequent visits to the doctor’s office and ER, and came up with her own home remedies.

“I wanted a four-year degree and needed to stay in Green Bay. Choosing Bellin College was the best decision I ever made. I recall saying at graduation that even if I am not able to work a single day as a nurse, the experience was worth it,” said Stueber.

Read more about Bellin College alumna advocates for sexual assault and abuse victims as a SANE nurse at St. Vincent Hospital
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Bellin College spring commencement ceremony May 2018

 GREEN BAY, WI – Bellin College held its annual spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 12, 2018, at 9 a.m. at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on UW-Green Bay’s campus. One-hundred-two Bellin College graduates received their degrees from the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences (BSRS) programs. Bellin College president and CEO Dr. Connie Boerst presided over the ceremony. The Leona Waraksa commencement address was given by Bellin Health System president and CEO George Kerwin. 

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Allison WFRV

Nursing Shortage Hits Home in Northeast Wisconsin

GREEN BAY, Wis. – This week is National Nursing Week. 

The week was created to celebrate the occupation, but that celebration is being over-shadowed by a shortage of nurses. 

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development says the state will need to fill more than 5,300 nursing positions in the next six years. 

Allison Lomax didn’t always want to be a nurse.

“I wanted to be a doctor,” Lomax says.

But here she is, awaiting graduation Saturday.

She already has a nursing position waiting for her, but the road to get there wasn’t easy.

“I did apply for the nursing program at Madison, it’s about a 40 percent acceptance rate,” says Lomax. “I got wait-listed and I didn’t want to wait, I wanted to go into the field, so I started looking at other options.”

Lomax was a part of the 50-80 percent of students who aren’t accepted into a UW system nursing program.

That’s why Bellin College became an option for Lomax.

“The unique thing about us here at the college is that they are a direct admit, there is no waiting,” says Bellin College president Connie Boerst. “They are entered into the nursing program immediately, so it’s a real plus. We get them in right away and we get them out and back into the workforce much quicker.”

Hospitals are aware of the shortage.

Half of the nurses in the United States are 50 or older and plan to retire in the next 10 to 15 years.

Baby boomers are getting older and will need medical attention which means they need more nurses.

But there are ways they can entice more people to join the field.

“As individuals join our organization we look and offer tuition reimbursement,” says chief nursing officer for Bellin Hospital Laura Hieb. “We have many folks who may start off in a nursing assistant type of role and they aspire to be a nurse and so within the organization we would support that through tuition reimbursement.”

Though the statistics may be disparaging, there is hope.

“I know a lot of people are learning more about nursing now than when I was in high school,” says Lomax. “A lot of people are going into nursing programs now which I think is awesome and I think we just need more promotion for the field of nursing.”

Bellin College is holding its graduation Saturday. 

102 students will be receiving their diploma.

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