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.