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Bellin College graduation set for Field of Scenes in Freedom

Bellin College plans to honor its 134 graduates at a nontraditional ceremony at Field of Scenes Drive-in at 1 p.m. May 16, 2020, after having to cancel and move the ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bellin College President Dr. Connie Boerst will preside over the ceremony.

Graduates and their families will be allowed one car per graduate and the ceremony will be broadcast over the radios to each vehicle. Families and students are encouraged to decorate his or her vehicle before the event and to proceed to the theater and follow guidance from parking attendants. No refreshments will be available on-site. After each graduate’s name is read, a brief period of time for honking will be allowed.

A limited number of college officials will address the crowd and class speakers will give his or her address at Field of Scenes. Class speakers are Maximilian Soda, Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Victoria Lemke, Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences; McKenzie Scheld, Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography; and Erin Carter, Master of Science in Nursing.

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Bellin College, Holy Family College enter articulation agreement

Bellin College and Holy Family College have entered into an articulation agreement following the closure of Holy Family College at the end of the summer term.

Current and newly admitted Holy Family College nursing students will be able to transfer credits and current financial aid to Bellin College. They will receive an equal or comparable educational experience regarding cost, timeframe and licensure.

“We at Bellin College want all students and families of Holy Family College to know that we will strive to make this transition as seamless as possible for everyone involved and make sure everyone is taken care of in this transition,” said Benjamin Rieth, assistant director of admissions and outreach.

Current Holy Family College students and family with questions should call Bellin College President and CEO, Dr. Connie Boerst, at (920) 433-6622 or Assistant Director of Admissions and Outreach, Benjamin Rieth, at (920) 639-3609 or benjamin.rieth@bellincollege.edu.

Are you affected?

apply here.

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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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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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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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Bellin College moves some courses online, clinical and lab continues as normal

Bellin College has been monitoring the current COVID-19 situation and has been assessing how this will impact our events moving forward. When students return from Spring Break on March 23, theory portions of courses will be moved to an online or other format determined by course facilitators through April 5. At this time, lab experiences on campus and clinical experiences will continue as scheduled.  

The college will be canceling all outside meetings/events until further notice with steps being taken to limit numbers in staff and faculty meetings, many being in a virtual format.

College administration has chosen to cancel the following upcoming campus events: Staff development day, outside recruitment/events, Hands on Healthcare events through April 5 (on and off-campus), New Student Reception and Campus Preview Day. This list could grow as the situation continues.

This is an evolving situation and could change rapidly. College leaders continue daily to monitor local and national resources and discuss the situation and will provide updates as new information becomes available. 

The college will be open as scheduled for business and operations.

Parents and students with questions or concerns may contact Dean of Students Nancy Burruss at (920) 433-6632.

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Student fast-tracks JTO nursing program to serve country

President and CEO Connie Boerst, left, and Sam Grow following his graduation ceremony at the college.

Shortly after arriving on the Bellin College campus in the summer of 2018, graduate Sam Grow learned he would be deployed with the Army Reserve for a year sooner than he had anticipated. That meant an already fast-track junior transfer bachelor of science in nursing degree became an even quicker-than-usual pace. Grow was deployed in late January on an undisclosed mission.

Bellin College leaders, including President and CEO Dr. Connie Boerst, worked with Grow to make sure he had all the necessary qualifications to complete his studies early and with the same standards expected of all students.

“We value our students and their education and we knew that if we had a deployment in the middle of his education and he had to come back, it wouldn’t be in his best interest,” Boerst said. “With a degree in hand, he’ll have more opportunity when he goes to be deployed. He’ll have a better skill set to serve our country.”

Grow is a First Lieutenant and medical operations officer in the Army Reserve medical service corps. While on deployment, he won’t be serving as a nurse but will be in a more administrative role. It was recently reported to Bellin College that he earned his Registered Nurse title after passing the NCLEX exams before leaving the country.

“When I found out I was deploying with the Army Reserve, Bellin College leaders almost immediately came up with a plan that would allow me to graduate a semester early and take my NCLEX before I left the country,” Grow said. “They worked with me to create a special schedule and made sure I was comfortable with how rapidly I was progressing through the program and offered extensive support throughout my entire journey.  I am eternally grateful for all the staff and faculty and Bellin College, and, thanks to them, I look forward to working in the nursing field upon my return from deployment.”

While on deployment, Grow said he would be doing medical mission planning and support for a surgical team.

Dr. Mary Rolloff was a newly minted Bellin College dean of nursing when faced with Grow’s predicament. She sat with Grow and decided to “fast-track an already fast-tracked program” after initially thinking it couldn’t be done.

“Sam (Grow) was so responsible in notifying us so early of this anticipated deployment that I started thinking, ‘Could we do something different, is there any way so that he could finish and leave with his degree in hand’,” Rolloff said. “He said he would do whatever he needed to do to make this happen and he has done that and more.”

For some of his tailored academic plan, Grow became a section of one and completed group projects and classwork solo, Rolloff said. Faculty, staff and leaders worked to assure all standards were met while working around Grow’s unique needs especially when one two-week training exercise last November, became two, two-week training exercises, she said.

“Not only did he succeed, but he excelled in the process,” Rolloff said. “The reality was it really did take a village for this to happen.”

It’s not the first time Bellin College has done such a task for a student. Staff members recall at least two recent examples when faculty and staff have assisted military students in order to get them through their education and back to his or her military obligations. 

 “After getting my first undergraduate degree from a large state university, I couldn’t believe that the staff would be so friendly and receptive,” Grow said. “I felt like every one of the staff and faculty truly cared about me and my goals, and wanted me to succeed. The faculty all have a wealth of knowledge and experience and were invaluable resources whenever I had questions about content or skills.”

Grow was honored at a special ceremony at the college in early January.

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BSNA students represent college at WSNA convention

Three female students pose at convention.

Lauren Harvey, from left, Valerie Ehr, and Caroline Wagner at the WSNA convention.

The 71st Annual Wisconsin Student Nurses’ Association (WSNA) Convention was held Feb. 7-9, 2020, in Wisconsin Dells. Bellin College had 12 BSNA members in attendance, including three of our students Caroline Wagner, Val Ehr, and Lauren Harvey, who also serve on the WSNA Board of Directors.

The conference began on Friday evening with dinner, a keynote speaker, and games/service opportunities. While still no Bellin winners with the WSNA Olympics, the group slayed Bingo and making rag chew toys for a local animal shelter.

Saturday opportunities included a vendor hall, opportunities to attend a variety of breakout sessions such as learning about various Nursing Specialties, NCLEX Success, and learning about recovery from opioid addiction. The students sold T-shirts during the convention. The day concluded with the “House of Delegates” meeting.  Bellin College had three delegates in attendance in addition to the three board members. Sunday began with additional break-out sessions followed by a closing brunch/ceremony during which awards, and election results were announced. The brunch was well-attended despite the deteriorating winter weather.  

Bellin Student Nurses Association (BSNA) members.

Caroline Wagner, who currently serves as the WSNA president, also was the conference organizer. Dr. Lori Kulju, BSNA co-adviser and MSN program director said she heard many comments about this year’s conference “being the best” in a long time.

“I have attended the conference for the past five years, and thanks to Caroline’s attention to detail and leadership, this conference was by far the best,” Kulju said. 

Both Val Ehr, who serves as the WSNA Nominations Director, and Lauren Harvey, who serves as the WSNA “STAT” editor,  were involved in planning the conference.

The remaining nine students were true ambassadors for the college throughout the entire weekend. Kulju was so proud to say they were Bellin students.  Bellin College also had three BSNA members run for the 2020-21 WSNA Board of Directors. Both Val Ehr and Lauren Harvey were re-elected to serve in their current positions for the 2020-21 year. 

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New Radiation Therapy Program

Bellin College to begin radiation therapy program

Beginning in fall 2020, Bellin College will begin offering a three-year Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy degree. The program, fully accredited through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), aims to give graduates of the program the skills and confidence necessary to be a leader in the field.

“The radiation therapy program perfectly aligns with our current medical imaging programs,” said Dr. Mark Bake, Dean of Allied Health Sciences at Bellin College. “The unique three-year bachelor curriculum focuses on the importance of patient care and the continuous technological advancements in the profession. We are excited to be bringing this high-demand program to the Northeast Wisconsin area.”

Students enrolled in the program will be prepared through a combination of state-of-the-art classroom education, clinical experience and laboratory practice. Graduates will be eligible to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam. The final year of the program includes a full-time clinical internship which will provide the real-life, hands-on experience needed to be successful as a radiation therapist.

“The launch of the Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy aligns with the mission and vision of Bellin College,” said President and CEO Connie Boerst. “We are experts at educating healthcare professionals and this unique offering is in high demand in healthcare today. Students will walk away with an outstanding education and will be leaders in the profession. We continue to expand partnerships at the local and state level and are excited to engage in this new endeavor.”

The program is unlike any offered in Northeastern Wisconsin. That uniqueness will give students another option when looking for a career. Employment of radiation therapists is expected to grow 9% from 2018-2028, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More information, or apply

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Bellin College students, faculty, Bellin providers head to Guatemala

Bellin College students recently returned from a medical mission with Mission El Faro to the Izabal region of Guatemala on the East Coast. There were 13 students and 1,400 pounds of medical supplies in tow for the trip. The team traveling consisted of the 13 students, Bellin College faculty, nurse practitioners, nurses who are prior graduates of the college, support individuals and physicians at Bellin Health.

Students returned to the Eliza Martinez Children’s Hospital, the only publicly run children’s hospital in Guatemala, built in 1952 which functions on very low funding from the government. The group brought needed medical and general supplies and large amounts of infant formula to the hospital. The students also taught paramedic and staff members their annual CPR certification and how to utilize the Kits for Girls which are menstrual hygiene kits for teen girls.

For the fifth year, the team set up portable clinics in the villages of Baltimore (80 patients), Rio Salado (76 patients), and the Puerto Barrios Dump (80 patients). This year they served a new community deeper in the jungle called Plan Grande (80 patients), which had the most significant healthcare needs. The group has seen some of the same patients each year. Medical charts are maintained on each patient, which is different than many medical missions where data and patient information is not maintained for comparison between visits.

“The most impactful memory I have from my time in Guatemala was when we set up a clinic in the Puerto Barrios City Dump,” said Martha Daley, 2020 BSN student who attended the mission in 2019. “I remember as we were driving into the dump, I had tears filling my eyes as I saw more and more garbage piling up on the side of the roads and people rummaging through the items for anything they could salvage. I could not, and sometimes still cannot, believe that there are people in this world that make a living off of working in a dump, and worse, live in a dump. At times, it is hard to believe there are people who do that, and living the life we live, we don’t think twice about where our garbage goes.”

The team has made a commitment to the villagers and work with them to provide access to clean water through water filtration systems and stoves which use less natural resources and are more environmentally friendly. 

Students and faculty raised just about $8,000 before the mission trip, which was used to purchase water filters for 35 families, new stoves for 19 families and much-needed prescription and over-the-counter medications and clinic supplies. The group brought 1,250 pounds of equipment to help support our clinics and our teaching activities at the children’s hospital.

“I was excited to bring this year’s Team back to the Izabal region,” said Lynn Murphy, Assistant Professor at Bellin College. “It is wonderful to see the same patients return to our clinics each year.  We have worked on developing relationships based on caring and trust with the villagers and I can see the improvements in their overall health over the past few years.  It is an experience that really has the ability to change a student’s understanding regarding healthcare disparities within different communities and the impact that poverty can have on their patient’s health.  It is my hope that will be able to apply and utilize these experiences of running these remote clinics in their future careers in health care, increasing their empathy, respect and caring of all patients.”

The experience of going on the Guatemala mission trip stays with students who elect to join the team on the mission.

“The most important reason why I wanted to partake on this mission trip to Guatemala was to gain a better experience of healthcare diversity in a different culture, and help those who cannot afford healthcare for many different reasons, including the high costs and the distance to travel to gain healthcare access,” said Daley.

For more pictures, see the online gallery. See the video on YouTube.

Read more student stories from the mission on the blog.

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