This past Friday at Ted Mann Concert Hall, the University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing graduated over 100 students who earned a master’s of nursing, post-master’s certificate, doctorate of nursing practice or Ph.D. degree. Those types of advanced degrees focus on innovative and interprofessional methods of outcome-based healthcare; they prepare nurses to create new models of care delivery for communities locally, across the nation and around the world. We caught up with two very different grads to glean insight into their collegiate experiences and future plans.
After 20 years in law enforcement and three tours as a major in the U.S. Army Reserves, Dr. Steven Mund didn’t have a lot to prove. But he decided to dive into academia, building on his biomedical degree from St. Cloud State with a certificate in nurse anesthesia from the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center and a master’s of science from the U of M. Mund graduated with a DNP (doctor of nursing practice) degree last Friday. He was recently named director of anesthesia services for Sanford Health in Fargo, ND.
What drew you to the U of M School of Nursing?
It offered an opportunity to interact with people from all over the country. It’s that national – almost global – kind of interaction that lets us expand well beyond the borders of Minnesota because of the way the program’s designed.
Why is a DNP degree important?
It’s the idea that we need to make sure the nursing profession has a huge influence on healthcare changes. Part of that is we need to think beyond caring for patients at the bedside. We need to expand that scope from the executive offices and be in leadership positions to implement global organizational training. We can then look for ways to provide healthcare in a more efficient way, a more patient-centered and more cost-effective way.
What advice do you have for current nursing students?
I encourage all aspiring nurses to go beyond their initial bachelor’s degree. Obviously if you’re going to go into advanced practice nursing – whether that’s a nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife or clinical nurse specialist - that’s all being driven towards a doctoral degree. It’s just the idea that learning is continual; although we learn every day at our job, we need to interact with people outside of our organization to learn even more.
Tell me about your new job at Sanford Health.
They’re looking at building a brand new hospital in Fargo, ND. To be part of that, that’s a rare opportunity. I’m hoping that with my professional experience and the tremendous amount of education I’ve received with my doctoral degree, to use that to try to make sure that we design the best possible hospital to serve patients the best.
Casey Wangen fast-tracked his nursing education since graduating from Crookston High School in 2006. After earning an undergrad degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead, he wasted no time enrolling as a master’s of nursing student at the U of M. Wangen graduated last Friday and plans on returning to earn a DNP degree.
How’d you choose the U of M’s Nursing School?
The nostalgia of the U of M. Honestly, that holds quite a bit if weight and I was attracted to that. To get out of my shell, out of my bubble; I’m a small town, country kid. I thought this was a great opportunity to come to the city and hopefully get into one of the best programs in the nation.
What stood out about your experience in the Master’s program?
The faculty and staff. They get to know ya; for 16 months you get to talk to these people every day. They’re there to help with you with anything, whether that’s internships, jobs or events in your own life – seriously, they are there. Especially coming to a big university, I wouldn’t have thought that. But it’s sort of like a family relationship; you’re not a number.
What advice do you have for other students?
The amount of relationships I’ve established through the Nursing College Board and NSNA (National Student Nurse’s Association) have allowed me to make my time here transition-free. Get involved, enjoy what you’re doing and take advantage of your instructors and classmates.
Plans for the future?
I’m looking at jobs around my hometown area. That’s where I’m from; I can’t be too far from the farm. But I know I wanna come back to the U of M – I’m 100 percent sure, without a doubt – to earn my DNP. I had such a good experience here that I’m going to come back for sure. That’s my ultimate goal.
-- Jay Boller