For Ernest Lennon, Galen College of Nursing changed his life.
When his parents, who were from Panama, both passed away from illnesses that he believes could have been prevented, he vowed to himself that it would never happen in his family again. The Washington native is the first American born in his family. He worked 16 hours a day, five to seven days a week at a treatment center, which left him with little or no time to see his wife, who he met while he was in the military in Fort Sam Houston.
“My wife told me the best thing I could do is to go to college,” he said. “And, as a result of what happened to my mom and dad, nursing was always something I thought about.”
Lennon was pleasantly surprised that he could complete Galen’s Vocational Nursing program in a year.
“And, if I continued for another 16 months, I could be an RN,” he said. “It blew me away because I thought I had just wasted 3½ years working at the treatment center, and I could’ve been in school this whole time.”
When Lennon started attending classes at the Galen’s San Antonio campus, he had no idea that he would be inspiring so many students. He had become well-versed in giving PowerPoint presentations, and those skills quickly turned into speaking engagements as a Student Representative at orientations.
Eventually, he was asked to speak at the Vocational Nursing (VN) graduation in 2011.
“I took the experiences that we had throughout the year and reminded my classmates of the heartaches, jokes, and laughs,” he said. “But I also told them all that we were prepared for a promising future.”
As a Student Representative, Lennon proactively sent updates via email and text messages to his fellow classmates. At the end of each quarter, he designed certificates for everyone in the class to encourage them to push toward their goals. For the VN graduation, he also created certificates for them.
Lennon’s standout efforts earned him The Marjorie Perrin Essence of Nursing Human Touch Award. The recipient is nominated by classmates who choose a peer they feel most embodies the human touch in their interactions with patients and fellow nurses.
But the VN graduation wasn’t the last speech Lennon delivered to students. Once Lennon completed the LVN to ADN program, he was asked to speak again to both the VN and ADN graduates. Not only did Lennon speak at the ceremonious event, but he also won another Human Touch award in 2013.
He went on to complete the Online RN to BSN program in 2018.
Today, Lennon has been working for the past seven years as a floor nurse at a mental health treatment center where they apply electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to patients who struggle with PTSD, psychosis, or severe depression. ECT helps to stabilize the brain, so patients can have a normal routine, Lennon said.
“As floor nurses, we make sure the patients are treated well and check for any pain or nausea after they wake up from being under anesthesia,” he said.
Lennon believes Galen was a “confidence booster,” which helped him to face challenges head-on.
“When you first start the courses, it’s kind of not as daunting. But when you get into pharmacology, and medical-surgical classes, you almost want to pull your hair out because it’s not that easy to grasp,” he said. “But the professors work with you and help you get over those hurdles, which helped me with my skills and confidence.”
Lennon added: “My classmates were top-notch, and I felt like I was just the average guy. I was surrounded by instructors and students who were accomplished, and I felt great to be among them. They gave me so much encouragement.”
ADN student Ericka Bowman is thrilled to trade in her corporate attire for Galen College of Nursing’s blue scrubs. Thirteen years ago, Bowman’s daughter was born at 25 weeks, and she spent four months in the NICU with her preemie.
“That was the turning point for me and why I wanted to become a nurse,” Bowman said.
So, when Bowman researched nursing schools, she learned about the Tampa Bay campus’ Ruth Corcoran Simulation Hospital, which offers an ER, ICI, Pediatric, and OB units.
“Having the ability to have access to state-of-the-art equipment enhances what we’re learning. I’m a very hands-on learner,” she said. “It allows us to take away some of that anxiety ahead of time before we get out there into the real world and care for our patients.”
The facility includes six high-fidelity mannequins, which includes one that demonstrates the birthing process and a pediatric model. High-fidelity mannequins allow students to assess vitals and administer medication, said Simulation Lab Technician Dhonnie Labang.
“Let’s say the student decides to give the patient oxygen or give specific meds. Once we see that student give specific meds or any kind of intervention, there’s an option in a mannequin’s computer for the vitals to react to that intervention accordingly,” he explained.
The mannequins also can interact with students. Even though the mannequin’s speaker system has set phrases, Labang said he and the other two simulation technicians can speak through microphones to simulate a patient in a real hospital environment.
“If it’s a guy who can’t breathe, we do our best to mimic someone who is breathless,” he said. “Sometimes our students will tell us, ‘It’s just a mannequin, it’s just a doll.’ But when they hear the voice coming from a human, like myself or the other sim techs, then they get into a rhythm as if they’re with a real patient.”
Students get hands-on training with intravenous procedures such as inserting a Foley catheter, an IV, or a breathing tube, Labang said.
“And the mannequins can show a flash of blood or urine if they do the procedure incorrectly,” he said. “Of course, there are no real bodily fluids, just food coloring and distilled water.”
For more complex scenarios, instructors orchestrate emergency scenarios, which include life-saving measures. Students are assigned different roles such as charge nurse, on-the-scene nurse, and triage nurse, he said.
“They have to manage that disaster with several patients, and the nurses must work together to start IVs, give meds, and so on,” Labang said. “It’s a mega-sim that requires a lot of delegation.”
After the scenarios, students provide their feedback during a debriefing. Some students get “stage fright” because they are performing the procedures in front of their peers and instructor on video, Labang said.
“Some students will say, ‘I want to do more sims’ because it helps them understand their strengths and weaknesses and practice their skills from what they learned in lab and theory,” he said. “And some students who have stage fright don’t like sims as much because they feel like they’re being judged. But we always tell them that this is a safe place to learn, and you can learn from those mistakes.”
ADN student Tera Corum doesn’t mind making mistakes during the scenarios. She calls the experience “exciting and nerve-wracking, but it’s one of my favorite parts” of my nursing education.
“Mistakes are OK because we are learning what to do,” she said. “I’ve talked to my sister, who has been a nurse for 37 years, and she didn’t have the benefit of the sim lab. She loves hearing my simulation stories, and she’s ever so jealous. The labs are a definite advantage.”
ADN student Adrianna Gonzalez believes the simulations are preparing her for a realistic nursing environment. It also has made her feel more at ease when caring for patients.
“Simulation has helped us to start performing proper bedside manner and enhancing our nursing skills in a way that’s ethical and professional,” she said. “It introduces a hospital atmosphere for us and makes us more comfortable.”
Like Gonzalez, Bowman also is happy with the experiences she has learned in her simulation classes. She said the scenarios provide the best environment for her to build the confidence she will need for her patients’ well-being.
“When we look at the big picture of us eventually working in the real world, what better place is there to practice these skills in a place where you are safe,” Bowman said.
They blink. They breathe. They have seizures. And they even give birth. These are not humans, but rather, they are the interactive mannequins in the Kathryn M. Mershon Advanced Simulation Center at Louisville’s Galen College of Nursing campus. The labs help future nurses practice their clinical judgment and communication skills they will eventually apply to real patients, said Simulation Coordinator Brooke Vaughn.
Galen students work with a variety of mannequins in the simulation center, she said.
“Our adult mannequins are high-fidelity mannequins, which means they’re the most realistic,” Vaughn said. “They have body sounds like lung sounds and heart sounds that you can listen to on both sides of their body. We also have a mannequin affectionately called “Sim Mom” that simulates the birthing process.”
The center also includes “mid-fidelity” pediatric mannequins. “You can still listen to breathing sounds and heart sounds, but unlike the high-fidelity mannequins, the chest doesn’t move,” she said.
As students spend time in simulation, Vaughn and Simulation Faculty Carrie Martin present students with scenarios they might have to face while caring for patients in a hospital.
“We’ve made everything as realistic as possible, but it’s still up to our students to buy-in that it’s real. We encourage them to talk to the mannequin or simulator as if it were a real patient,” Vaughn said. “For example, if they have to administer medication and it takes two minutes for it to work, they’re going to have to stay with that patient for two minutes while it’s not working.”
In addition to these lifelike mechanical patients, the scenarios also include clinical elements such as running IV fluids and monitors with working alarms.
“Sometimes, we visually do things like simulate bodily fluids such as urine or blood,” Vaughn said. “The more real that we can make the environment, the more it helps the student. Usually, after a couple of minutes, they fall right into their role and treat it as a real clinical environment.”
About eight to 10 students and one facilitator are allowed per simulation room. A scenario usually lasts from 15 to 20 minutes to avoid overwhelming the students. Afterward, Vaughn and Martin debrief students for about 40 minutes. “This is where all of the pieces come together and promote learning for the observers as well allowing students to learn from each other,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn added: “When we think about what we’re going to incorporate into a simulation, from a curriculum standpoint, we take several things into consideration. We look at clinical practice, theory content, testing data, and what’s going on in healthcare. We try to simulate an experience that students will see in the real world.”
Martin, who graduated from Galen in 2016, knows firsthand how students feel when they begin studying procedures in simulation. She completed the PN, LPN to ADN Bridge and Online RN to BSN programs. As an alumna, Martin said she recognizes that scenarios might be a little intimidating to students at first.
“I can understand their anxiety coming into the simulation, so I try to put them at ease,” she said. “I love watching the moment their light bulbs go on once they understand what they have learned in theory, lab, and clinical, preparing them for the real world.”
Martin, who also works as a nurse at Norton Healthcare, said the scenarios are similar cases that she sees at the hospital. However, the most invaluable lesson the students learn is teamwork.
“Students will find that it’s OK to ask questions and that they’re not alone,” she said. “Nursing is a community, and we all want the same thing, which is what is best for the community we serve.”
Welcome to Realville, USA. Galen College of Nursing San Antonio campus students were transported into the imaginary town with real-world lessons about poverty. College Director of Simulation and Clinical Learning Labs Dr. Renae Schondel, who organizes the four-hour poverty simulations, said the goal is to provide an eye-opening view into patients who lack sufficient resources.
Originally developed by Missouri Community Action Network, the poverty simulations used low-income volunteers to demonstrate the economic and healthcare challenges they face every day. Dr. Schondel learned about the simulations held in San Antonio from a colleague who suggested that she participate in the hands-on program in hopes that she would bring it to Galen. After she played a role in the simulation, she was eager to find a location that was as large as a basketball court to replicate the fictional town.
Since February, she has been organizing the simulation at a food bank. Last month, she switched to a local church where more than 80 students from VN, ADN, and BSN programs immersed themselves into the various poverty scenarios. Students had to learn how to navigate through all of Realville’s difficult situations.
“We had a bank, school, health clinic, quick cash store, homeless shelter, pawnshop, jail, supercenter similar to Walmart and a community action center that helps with rent vouchers and utility bills,” she said. “Some of these places were not always on the up and up. For example, the quick cash business might stiff you or the pawnshop could cheat you out of money, similar to what might happen in reality.”
And, of course, the town needed residents.
Each student was given a packet that contained a synopsis of the role they would play in a family. These descriptions ran the gamut from a single older person to multi-generations that included pregnant teenagers. If the part called for a student to play a person who received Social Security benefits, their “check” was included in the packet. The details had employment status and expenses for a month. Dr. Schondel also provided factual statistics about poverty in the San Antonio area for the participants.
“During the pre-brief, we asked students to look in their packets to find out the gender and age and act accordingly,” she said. “For example, if you’re an elderly person and you have various health conditions, you should act out those symptoms.”
Several faculty and staff members also got in on the act as a social worker or employer. “Well, our Realville employer worked from a no-rehire policy and was very no-nonsense,” she said, laughing.
Dr. Schondel, who has been in nursing for 30 years, plans to hold the simulations every quarter. She wants the poverty simulations to give nursing students an understanding of the sensitive issues their patients might face at an outpatient clinic, including the cost of prescriptions.
“Healthcare providers learn about certain medications from the companies’ representatives. They hear, ‘Well, this is going to take care of the symptoms,’ and then they think, ‘OK and then I’ll prescribe it’ while not realizing that it may cost $1,500 a month, even if it’s covered on the insurance. There’s no way that the patient can afford it,” she explained. “As a result, the patient doesn’t take the medication as prescribed and lands back in the hospital. It’s the nurses who find out from their patients, ‘I didn’t get it filled, because I can’t afford it.’”
Once the simulation was finished, Dr. Schondel gathered the students for a debriefing session where they provided feedback about the scenarios.
BSN student Krystal Edwards said the simulation was beneficial, especially for anyone who has never experienced what it is like to live in poverty. It also helped her learn how to treat patients from a nursing perspective.
“It was fascinating, especially for people who had never lived below the poverty line. As nurses, we can help guide patients to the correct avenues such as how to get food stamps and other important items, so they’re able to still get healthcare,” she said. “The simulation definitely helped me think differently about a plan of care. I look forward to participating in the simulation next quarter.”
Galen College of Nursing alumna Theresa Kirk grew up in Norton, Virginia, a small town with a population of 4,000. From the time Kirk was a little girl, she was influenced by her family’s careers in medicine. Her brother is a pharmacist, two cousins are nurses, another cousin is the CEO of a hospital in Michigan, and his sister is a clinical educator for an emergency department in Roanoke, Virginia.
It’s no wonder that Kirk became a licensed practical nurse. In 2006, she moved to Louisville, Kentucky, in search of opportunities to expand her education and career. Five years later, she graduated from Galen with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) then completed the Online RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program in 2015.
One of her highlights was being selected for the Kathy Mershon Leadership Award during graduation in 2011. The award is named for one of the College’s founders, and the recipient is recommended for the award by both students and faculty.
“We were listening to one of the professors read information about the person who was going to win the leadership award, and my classmates turned around and said, ‘It’s you, it’s you, it’s you.’ I said, ‘No, it’s not me! It’s not me!’ When she called my name, I didn’t even hear her,” Kirk recalled, laughing. “I was very humbled to know that my peers had chosen me for that award.”
Kirk said she also was honored to meet and be photographed that night with Mershon.
Today, Kirk is an assistant manager at Medical Center Jewish South in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. Jewish South is a freestanding ER system that serves Bullitt and Jefferson counties, as well as the surrounding area. Kirk’s role requires her to wear a lot of hats, she said.
“I still work the floor two nights a week, and I have one day that I’m in the office, handling reports,” she said. “I also manage staff scheduling and onboarding for the department.”
As an assistant manager, Kirk also has been getting involved with the Kentucky Nurses Association (KNA). She was recently appointed to KNA’s Policy and Procedure Committee. While attending a recent meeting, Kirk ran into a familiar face.
“I said to Kathy Mershon, ‘Hey, I won your award!’” she said. “It was really great to talk to her. Her mind is just full of information, and I would encourage any nurse who gets a chance to sit down and talk with her to just listen. She is a true leader.”
Kirk credits her clinical education at Galen for playing an integral part in her career at Jewish South.
“Galen’s program is set toward real-time patient care,” she said. “The simulation labs and interactive mannequins help students learn how to take care of patients from moment to moment.”
Education continues to play a vital role in Kirk’s career as she pursues her master’s degree. She encourages Galen students to remember why they chose nursing as a career and never stop learning.
“We need future nurses to help solve the problems healthcare is currently experiencing. We’re facing one of the greatest shortages of nurses that this country has ever seen, so we need people who can think critically and do the work. It’s one of the hardest things that you’ll probably ever do, but it’s one of the best things that you’ll ever do,” she said. “Nursing used to be a career where you just took care of patients, and that was it. Now, there are so many opportunities, including IT services, forensics, pediatrics, and travel nursing. Students should keep working on their basics, pursue BSN and MSN degrees if they choose, and the world is yours.”
Dr. Nancy Bellucci is a familiar face in a new role as the Program Director of the Online RN to BSN at Galen College of Nursing. She has been a member of Galen’s faculty since November 2016. Before becoming the Program Director, Dr. Bellucci served as course lead faculty and chair of the Online RN to BSN Program Evaluation Committee. Dr. Bellucci said she will mentor and help nurses “build upon their skills and identify their gifts.” She detailed how the program will enhance nurses’ careers.
Where did you start your career?
I started on the medical-surgical floor in a hospital in southern New Jersey. From there, I became an operating room nurse and then a manager in clinical education, which lead me here as a member of academia.
What attracted you to Galen?
I was referred by someone who retired as an academic administrator, and she suggested that I apply for an adjunct position. I had been working at a number of other online programs at the time. When a full-time position opened, I interviewed for the position and became a full-time member of the faculty of the Online RN to BSN program.
How will students benefit from the Online RN to BSN program?
It serves as an excellent pathway to becoming a professional nurse, by way of all the different courses we offer in the program. It also serves as a great platform for a student to begin thinking about a master’s level education. All of the courses we offer in the Online RN to BSN program serve as the foundational platform for students to think about themselves, not only as a registered nurse, but also how they can impact society by being involved in policy and procedure changes, identifying challenges, and providing solutions that will benefit patients and the workplace. The program is designed to help the students achieve their goals in an ever-changing healthcare setting.
What are some of the responsibilities for your role?
First and foremost, I am a mentor. I think it is important that nurses help each other build upon their skills, identify their gifts, and be able to explore different career paths by way of quality projects. I actively mentor and engage in the socialization of the faculty to the new role, whether they be adjunct or full-time. I also oversee operations such as staffing and quality improvement to help enhance the curriculum. I attend student advisory council sessions and listen to students who provide feedback about the courses. I participate in program evaluation, curriculum and retention committees, and serve in all other capacities that help the program.
Do you have any advice for students entering the Online RN to BSN program?
Students should take their time with the content. They also should look at the courses as an opportunity to expand themselves and their thinking. Students should make sure to use the resources available in the courses to be successful, and if they find that they are hitting a barrier, they need to verbalize their concern to the instructor. Their instructors can help improve navigation in the courses and help them understand the content. A lot of these concepts are foreign to the practicing nurse because they are thinking about what they need to do at the bedside or what they need to give to their patients. Practicing nurses need the confidence to help expand their thinking beyond the bedside.
Favorite candy bar: Snickers, even though I have not had one in a long time.
Favorite sport: I like golf. It is probably the most boring sport you can watch on television. My favorite player is Tiger Woods.
Favorite food: Spaghetti and meatballs
Foods you hate: I hate seafood because my grandfather caught tons of fish. He grew up during the Depression-era, so we always ate what was on the table, and there was a lot of fish on a lot of nights.
Favorite hobby: Playing with my dog. He’s a little guy, a Maltese-Yorkie mix, so he’s a Morkie named Jersey.
Favorite movie: A Dog’s Purpose. It’s the life of a dog re-imagined through many different lifetimes to get back to his original owner. You’ll cry the whole time if you’ve never seen it.
As the author of several textbooks and namesake of the resource center, Community Liaison and Education Consultant Nancy Maebius’ name stands out at the San Antonio campus of Galen College of Nursing.
Maebius, Ph.D., MSN, BSN, RN, has served as a consultant, educator and faculty member at Galen for 28 years and has written several textbooks and guides for Galen’s VN program.
Her tireless service to Galen and passion for vocational nursing (VN) led to the naming of San Antonio’s campus student resource center in Maebius’ honor in 2012. Among the speakers at the dedication ceremony was former Mayor Julian Castro, who is now a 2020 presidential candidate.
The visionary leader continues to leave a mark in an industry that is close to her heart: nursing.
Maebius, whose father was a physician, grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, the oldest of three children. Her parents encouraged them to pursue the career of their choice, so with an interest in science and psychology, she decided to pursue nursing education.
In 1963, Maebius graduated with a BSN from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked at the National Institutes of Health. Two years later, she married her husband, who studied law at George Washington University. The couple moved to Austin, Texas, in 1966 for graduate school where she attended the University of Texas in Austin’s inaugural Master of Science in Nursing program. She was also one of four founding faculty members in 1969 at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Nursing in San Antonio and served on the faculty for nine years.
In 1985, Maebius began working in staff development for Humana Women’s Hospital. Six years later, she was recruited by Humana to help create the school’s curriculum and teach in the Humana Health Institutes’ VN program. The Institute’s name was later changed to Galen College of Nursing.
When she first began teaching in the VN program, Maebius used RN textbooks as there weren’t any nursing textbooks for VN students. As a result, she co-authored one of the first medical-surgical textbooks and co-authored the second and third editions. She also co-authored the first two editions of one of the first Anatomy and Physiology textbooks for the program’s students.
For more than a decade, Maebius has taught Anatomy and Physiology and pharmacology in the VN program to over 1,100 students.
“I enjoyed working with a diverse group of students ranging in age from 20 to 61, many of whom were first-generation college students,” she said. “The role of LVNs has expanded over the past 30 years, and many of our VN program graduates have continued their education, earning ADN, BSN, and MSN degrees.”
Maebius, who completed her doctoral work in curriculum and instruction from UT Austin in 1990, said teaching at Galen was an excellent opportunity to apply her research in the VN program.
“Reflecting on my years at Galen,” she said, “I have watched the school grow from one class of 30 VN students per year to our current enrollment of over 1,700 VN, ADN, and BSN students, while retaining excellence in the quality of the curriculum, faculty, and staff, and administrative leadership.”
Maebius added, “There has been a continued shortage of nurses, and I appreciate Galen’s single-purpose focus of nursing education that supports the critical need for nurses. I look forward to seeing what the next years will bring for Galen.”
As a little boy, Johnathan Pritchard, MBA, MSN, RN loved superheroes. He always felt it was heroic to save someone’s life.
“I thought I wanted to be a police officer or a firefighter, and as I got older, I realized that nursing was a pretty incredible profession,” he said. “I felt if I really wanted to be a superhero, nurses are everyday superheroes.”
“My classmates and professors were incredible,” he said. “I enjoyed working with them, and it was a great experience.”
After he graduated from Galen in 2016, he landed a staff nurse position at The Kidz Club. The Kidz Club provides skilled nursing care to children who are medically complex and unable to attend a regular childcare facility.
“There are always moments when you’re practicing as a nurse, and medical situations don’t always go as planned. But the skills I was able to learn from Galen helped me during those situations,” he said. “I’ve always felt very prepared for what I might see and what I would have to do in order to ensure that my patients achieved an optimal level of health.”
Pritchard continues to advance in his career by leaps and bounds at The Kidz Club. While there, he eventually became a charge nurse and then promoted to Director of Nursing at one of the facilities in Louisville. Today, Pritchard is the Director of Nursing Operations, and he oversees the daily operations at seven facilities, which include six in Kentucky and one in Florida. He has been working with the company for six years.
“There’s a lot of case management that goes into what we do, and so we build a plan of treatment for these kids that’s signed off by their primary care doctor,” Pritchard said. “It’s much different than a hospital where a patient comes in, we treat them, and we send them on their way. Instead, these children are with us, so we really get to know them and their families. We really feel like we have an opportunity to help impact that child’s life as well as help these families.”
Pritchard is grateful that he has been able to apply his educational background to his career. He has been able to accomplish some of his superhero goals of making a difference in a little person’s life.
“Galen really built the foundation of nursing for me and allowed me to go on to do other things with my degree. Nursing is a wonderful profession, and I think that’s why some people get into it,” he said. “Nursing has its stressful moments, but Galen has prepared me for those types of situations that you’ll run into. It really has enhanced my career.”
Galen College of Nursing Online RN to BSN student Petra Lesmeister didn’t choose nursing, it chose her, she said. Lesmeister is the May 2019 “Student of Term,” and she couldn’t be more excited. The Missouri native, who is the oldest of nine children, said that she enjoys taking care of people. One of her first jobs was at a local nursing home, and it motivated her to pursue nursing as a career.
Three years ago, she and her family moved to Austin, Texas, and as she began to research nursing schools, she found out about Galen through one of her friends. Lesmeister was impressed with the College’s commitment to nursing education, but there was one catch: She would have to drive 2½ hours to attend her classes in San Antonio. Lesmeister made the choice to stop working at a job so that she could attend the program’s clinicals.
“It was something I could do, and I was willing to make some sacrifices,” she said. “Even though many of us were commuting, we would all still make time to get together and study. I really loved the sense of connection that we had with each other.”
In September 2018, Lesmeister completed the LVN to ADN program and is now giving her car a much-needed break from the road while studying online for her BSN. Recently, she learned that her father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. As a result, she and her family returned to Missouri to assist him with his medical care.
“This has been one of my harder semesters in the Online RN to BSN program because we’ve driven back and forth to Kansas City a couple of times,” she said. “When I got Student of the Term, I was shocked. Every spare moment that I had, I was trying to complete my schoolwork so that I could do well.”
Although she is taking her classes online, Lesmeister said her teachers are always available and provide unending support. She credits her instructor Cassie Foote, DNP, RN-BC for providing her with insightful advice and study tips.
“She was really good about describing exactly how she wanted you to do the project, so you knew exactly what was expected of you,” Lesmeister said. “It has been a good experience.”
There was no question in Foote’s mind to nominate her ‘standout student.’ Lesmeister would always go the extra mile and learn what was needed to fine-tune her online assignments, Foote said. She sees a bright future for Lesmeister.
“When she participates on the discussion board, she takes the time to read the posts and respond with something very thoughtful,” Foote said. “You can tell she’s really engaged with all the material. She’s just a real standout student in every way. I think she has great potential to be able to go on into higher education, get her master’s degree, and possibly her doctorate if she’s interested.”
In July, Lesmeister will be working at the University of Kansas in mental health and will graduate from Galen in October.
John Lundeen EdD, RN, CNE, is thrilled to join Galen College of Nursing as the Program Director of the online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. In his new role, Dr. Lundeen will provide engaged leadership in the development and implementation of the MSN Nurse Educator track, drawing from his extensive experience in nursing education. We caught up with Dr. Lundeen to learn more about his career, tips for students, and why he loves Payday candy bars.
Where did you start your career?
I began at the University of West Alabama, where I earned my associate degree in nursing. From there, my wife and I moved to Birmingham, Alabama. I started on a medical-surgical floor in a hospital in Birmingham. Over time, I worked in the medical intensive care unit and the cardiac cath lab. I also worked a short stint as a critical care transport flight nurse onboard a fixed-wing aircraft.
Later, I attended the Ida Moffett School of Nursing at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, where they have an RN-MSN bridge program. There, I earned my master’s in nursing education. After I earned my master’s, I began teaching at Samford and was there for 11 years. In that time, I attended The University of Alabama where I earned my EdD in instructional leadership in nursing education. While at Samford, I taught in the baccalaureate program and then transitioned to the master’s and finally the DNP program.
What attracted you to Galen?
I have worked previously with four executives from Galen on different boards at the national level. Their personalities and dedication to nursing education were inspiring. Hearing them talk about Galen, the new opportunities here, and the rate in which they were able to make things happen was very appealing to me.
When I found out about the MSN program, the opportunity for growth and the chance to create something great was what drew me, and I just thought, ‘You know, I have prepared myself for this.’ I knew that everything I have done up until this point including my education, serving as a commissioner on the CNE Commission, and my affiliation as governor-at-large on the board of the National League for Nursing has prepared me for this role. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve got to do this!’
How will students benefit from the online MSN, Nurse Educator Program?
Our program will provide students with an opportunity to get a higher education and advance their careers. Becoming a nurse educator will open opportunities for them to teach in clinical areas and simulation environments. They can work in hospitals as directors of education for nurses and the ancillary staff. It will also prepare them for careers in a range of pre-licensure nursing programs.
What are some of the responsibilities of your role?
I am going to be making sure that the curriculum is designed to a level for what we want in a master’s prepared nurse, and just making sure that the content is addressing the standards for our national organizations and our accrediting bodies. I am also responsible for hiring and supervising faculty who will teach and manage those courses. It is also my responsibility to encourage them in faculty development opportunities that help them reach goals they have set for themselves, as well as help them to achieve those goals.
Do you have any advice for students entering the MSN program?
Enter with a strong desire to learn more. Graduate students are expected to do more independent learning and seeking out more information than what is provided. Students should have a higher level of inquiry, search more, and be ready for more writing. The master’s level is more reading and writing intensive. I know there are many people who say they can’t write and wouldn’t be able to make it in graduate school, but there are so many people at Galen who are willing to help students be successful.
Our program is online, so as an MSN student, you’re going to have to set deadlines. It is fast-paced because it is an eight-week term, so you’ll need to be prepared for a rigorous education. However, your faculty will be there and will support you.
Favorite candy bar: Payday. It’s the best of both worlds, sweet and salty. It’s the most amazing candy bar.
Favorite football team: Ole Miss Rebels (Hotty Toddy!)
Favorite food: A juicy bacon cheeseburger cooked on an old, flat grill at a diner.
Foods You Hate: I hate a fried egg that’s got runny egg white.
Favorite Hobby: My favorite thing to do right now is to help out with my daughters’ bands. I have enjoyed being involved with the band booster programs.
Favorite Movie: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation