Fast Track from Graduate to Professional Nurse

Rachel Rose, who earned her B.S.N. in 2011 and M.S.N. in 2016, has gained additional appreciation for her IU East experience after entering the workforce.

"Now that I have spent several years in different nursing positions, helping train new nurses to their roles, and working with nurses who graduated from other schools in Indiana, I have a much better understanding of the wonderful education I received from IU East," Rose said. "I had wonderful instructors in MedSurg, psychology, pediatrics, critical care, and management. I was exposed to a wide range of patient population types, which helped me to know where I wanted to start my nursing career. I also had wonderful instructors, some of which I still have a relationship with to this day."

Personal connections help lead to jobs

Alumni say one of the benefits of IU East's nursing program is the faculty's dedication to serving as student mentors and staying connected after graduation.

Nursing students bonding and laughing while performing procedure on medical dummy.

"The connections I made within the School of Nursing, both with peers and faculty, can only be described as family," Huelskamp said. "We celebrated one another at our highs and supported each other through the lows. Shelly Burns was my mentor for my honors senior thesis, and now we greet each other with an eager hug every time to catch up."

"God truly knew what He was doing in leading me to IU East over four years ago," Huelskamp said. "Nursing school at IU East gave me more than a great education and the skills necessary to become an awesome nurse; it gave me a family for a lifetime. My peers and faculty supported me throughout every step of the journey. I am thankful for the affordable education, without compromising on quality or opportunities."

Rose said the connections she made with her mentor and her mentor's connections through the RN to B.S.N. program helped her obtain her first nursing job at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital as a bedside nurse on the medical telemetry unit.

Rose stayed in that role full time for a year before taking a job in critical care at Reid Health. While she was working there and enrolled in IU East's M.S.N. program, another connection formed with a peer at IU East led her to her first job in management at Fayette Regional Health System.

Currently, Rose is working as a travel nurse, so she takes short 13-week contracts to any hospital in the United States or beyond that needs her services.

I think that IU East gave me the confidence and tools I needed to know I can pursue any position in nursing that I desire. I am very grateful for both degrees that I've been able to obtain at IU East. I have two world-class degrees, but I never had to leave home to get them.

Rachel Rose

Evans said he's fortunate to have gained the experience and lifelong peer relationships that he formed while in school.

"I have a network of peers that reaches across state lines now that I can tap into at any time," Evans said.

Evans said he also was fortunate to have several influential faculty mentors during his undergraduate and graduate studies, such as Paula Baumann, Amanda Carmack and Diane Baker. He said Dean Karen Clark has also stayed in contact and asks him to occasionally help with the program, and he really enjoys giving back.

Day stays in contact with some of his professors from the 1990s as well.

"They are truly touching communities throughout the world with their programs for students," he said.

To help IU East stay current with the changing needs of the profession, its School of Nursing Advisory Council works to ensure the program remains visionary, collaborative and produces quality nurses. Day is a member of the council.

Clark welcomes alumni involvement and support of the school and its students as they go out in the community. She said scholarship donations are also extremely helpful.

Rose is extremely thankful for the scholarships she received from the Whitewater Valley Chapter of IU Alumni Association during her undergraduate nursing studies. That support from IU alumni made it possible for her to pursue a master's degree.

"I am most grateful for my ability to work full-time and obtain my M.S.N. degree without having to take on huge student loans like I have seen some of my peers do to complete M.S.N. degrees at other Indiana schools or online degrees," Rose said. "The IU East nursing program is a huge asset to the community."