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First graduates for Doane's Nursing Program thankful for experience

To Anna Lorenz ’13, who just graduated in May from Doane’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies, her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is more than just a degree. 

“Before I started my bachelor’s degree, I was just kind of in a rut at work,” said Anna, who was a Registered Nurse (RN). “I didn’t think I was making a difference. I felt like I wasn’t being challenged.”

As one of 14 students from the first graduating class of the RN to BSN Program, Anna now believes she brings her best work.

“I feel more like a leader at work,” Anna said. “I put more effort into my job and contribute more to my co-workers.”

Anna, who is a floor nurse at Seward Memorial Hospital, feels this way because she said Doane’s RN to BSN program was unlike any other. The program is nursing based -- and much more -- as Anna felt it incorporated important life skills as well.

“They tell you what you are going to be doing and how to take care of patients,” she said, “but the classes also taught you how to not go crazy at work, how to deal with your boss, how to deal with inner emotions, how to not bring things home with you, how to micromanage.”

Director of Nursing Deb Savage said the core of the program was the ultimate discovery of “self.” Strong leaders consistently lead by example and demonstrate accountability.

“Our program has a heavy focus on personal and professional growth and development,” Savage said. “We believe it is imperative that nurses know who they are before they can provide excellent care to patients and their patients’ families.”

In addition to classes incorporating life skills, they were also taught by experts. One of the health care classes was taught by Bruce Rieker, an attorney and vice president of the Nebraska Hospital Association.

“With the Affordable Healthcare Act he is so knowledgeable,” Anna said. “I was able to learn things about the act that many healthcare workers are not aware of thanks to his expertise.”

Completion of the RN to BSN program at Doane involves courses in nursing and the liberal arts that will continue the development of skills for critical thinking, problem solving, conflict resolution and team building; developing a knowledge base for leadership in the profession.

Currently, only 40 percent of nurses hold degrees at the baccalaureate level and above.

However, in March 2005, the American Organization of Nurse Executives released a statement calling for all registered nurses to be educated in baccalaureate programs in an effort to adequately prepare clinicians for their challenging and complex roles.

Quality patient care hinges on having a well-educated nursing workforce. Research has shown that lower mortality rates, fewer medication errors and positive outcomes are linked to nurses prepared at the baccalaureate and graduate degree levels.

Catherine Ferguson ’13, another recent graduate of Doane’s RN to BSN program, said Doane made getting her bachelor’s degree easy.

“They worked with us with tuition assistance through our employer,” she said. “They were always approachable. They understood that we worked during the day time.”

Catherine, hospice clinical coordinator for HealthConnect at Home, chose to take one night class a week so she could still work during the day. Classes are offered at a variety of times, though, to work with students’ needs.

“It was so easy,” she said. “In traditional programs you have to go three days a week and your life is just cut to pieces.”

Savage said the nursing program staff and faculty work with nurses’ hectic schedules so that they can attain a quality education.

“The student is the most important person to walk through our doors,” she said. “We work with them and for them.”

Both Anna and Catherine would recommend Doane’s RN to BSN program because of the tools it provided them.

“It gives us those extra pieces to be more successful and move forward and expand our opportunities,” Catherine said. “I’m a much different person (after taking the program).”

For more information:

For the Grand Island campus, contact Jennifer Worthington at 308.398.0800 or toll-free at 877.443.6263 or jennifer.worthington@doane.edu

For the Lincoln campus, call 402.466.4774 or toll-free at 888.803.6263 and ask to speak to an adviser. You may also e-mail doanelincoln@doane.edu