Tag : nursing

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Pursuing an Undergraduate Degree while Battling Cancer

By: Kendra Housel

Vicki, her husband, and one of their grandchildren
Photo obtained from Facebook

Vicki Schuhmacher holds a undergraduate degree in management as a 2007 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University’s adult studies program. She had an easy time choosing to study with IWU, because a program had just opened up in Portland, near where she was already employed at the John Jay Center for Learning. With the convenient location and the easy time she had working with the school to receive adequate financial aid, Schuhmacher chose IWU.

Before her time working with the John Jay Center for Learning, Schuhmacher worked as a certified medical assistant, serving in hospitals. After transitioning to her job with the Center for Learning, Schuhmacher began a battle with cancer, which caused her to reevaluate where she was in life. With the help of much prayer, Schuhmacher decided to pursue her undergraduate degree.

Schuhmacher says that her time at Indiana Wesleyan was very positive. As she battled cancer and pursued her degree at the same time, the professors worked closely with her and made her feel very cared for. She also felt that the classes were well organized, and she loved how accessible her professors and class materials were to her at all times. In one of her bible classes, she felt especially encouraged by the professor. He had been a missionary, and through his teaching, she gained a deeper understanding of the Bible.

Currently, Schuhmacher works for Ivy Tech Community College. She began as an adjunct professor, and for the past six years has served full time on the Marion campus as a medical assisting professor. The leadership classes that she took as a part of her management degree are classes she credit heavily in terms of where she is now. The small class sizes challenged her to step out of her comfort zone and become a leader. Much of her personal teaching style also comes from the teaching styles of the professors she had at IWU. She feels that she is a better, stronger person because of the time she spent in those classes; she learned a lot about how you can struggle and succeed, and how it is possible to disagree with others and still have fruitful discussion.

Through much prayer and discernment, Schuhmacher confidently believes that she is doing exactly what she has been called to do. When she is not serving college students, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, playing basketball, baseball or dolls. This year, she will celebrate 44 years of marriage with her husband, as well as 13 years in remission from cancer!

Schuhmacher says that she never thought she would be where she is today, but God has His way of working that is far greater than ours. When asked what advice she had for current IWU students, she could not stress enough the charge to never give up. She says that “it took [her] thirty-seven years to finally get her degree” and do all she hoped to after high school. If you keep and open mind and heart, stay committed to Christ and to going before Him in prayer, He will guide you and His will will be done.

 

 

Written by Kendra Housel, writer for the Alumni Center. Kendra is a sophomore Education and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. She is also a member of the University Chorale. She is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing and caring for others.

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Terry Neal: Spotlight on Nursing Alumni

By: Emily Lehner

Terry Neal

Terry Neal

Terry Neal has been an Indiana Wesleyan University employee for 15 years. Neal began her journey with IWU after working as a Medical Assistant for 10 years. After coming to the realization that she was performing similar tasks to a Registered Nurse, she decided to return to school.

Originally from Indianapolis, but living in Gas City at the time, IWU was accessible and close to home. “The Financial Aid office was phenomenal. They helped me with the application process, with financial aid, and they were just wonderful,” said Neal.

Neal completed her traditional Bachelor’s degree when she was 40 years old, and she immediately began her master’s degree, completing it within three years. She began by teaching and directing the Family Nurse Practitioner program at IWU, and now she holds the position of Associate Director of Doctoral Nursing. Neal works half-time in administration, where she works alongside faculty and tends to student needs and half-time as teaching faculty, where she teaches student courses.

When asked what it was like to be an IWU student, Neal said, “It was pretty awesome. I was a single mom of two kids when I decided to come to IWU. I had all the frustrations and difficulties that single moms have in trying to take care of the kids and work and then going to school at the same time.”

The faculty took an interest in Neal’s life and helped her to excel academically. “I was very pleased with the faith-based atmosphere of the university,” she stated. As a result of Neal’s love for the university, her children followed in her footsteps, both obtaining degrees from IWU.

Throughout her years of schooling, Neal believes she grew in her faith because she learned to rely on God. “I learned that no problem is insurmountable. Perseverance and determination are key, and as long as I do my part He is going to go above and beyond on His,” she stated.

Neal was active in her church at the time, and she said, “I have a great church family, and they were very supportive of me. I knew that if I had problems I could go to them, along with my faculty.”

Because of Neal’s caring professors, she has now cultivated a warm environment in the classes she teaches. She teaches online courses, but stated that she loves to be able to see the community her students create within their online classes. “I think that my experiences as a student have made me into the faculty I am today,” she said.

Neal continues to pursue the personal lives of her students, teaching them much more than just Nursing. Her true desire is to cultivate a relationship that bridges the gap between Nursing and God for her students.

 

Written by Emily Lehner, writer for the Alumni Center and a sophomore Writing major at IWU. She is active on the cross country and track teams. She is passionate about using her writing skills to share the good news of Christ with others and writes often on her personal blog at www.emilylehner.wordpress.com.

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Julie McCallum: From Undergraduate Student to Adjunct Faculty

By: Dezaray Barr

Julie and her husband Chad, photo contributed from Facebook

Julie and her husband Chad, photo contributed from Facebook

Julie McCallum was an undergraduate, resident student in the Nursing Program (before the school of nursing) at Indiana Wesleyan University from 1992-1996.

“I kind of chose nursing on the spot… it very was spontaneous, because I thought I was going to be a bio major,” McCallum said. “I nearly registered for bio classes and walked to the nursing office, and since then never changed my major.”

After graduating from the Nursing Program in 1996, Julie married Chad McCallum, who is also an IWU grad and spoke in chapel last week.

Once the couple was married, they spent 17 years in central and western Michigan. While in Michigan, McCallum spent most of her career in state and local public health departments, which is what she is passionate about. She discovered that passion while taking the community health course at IWU during her undergraduate career.

Her first job was in a public health department in Hillsdale County, Michigan as the clinic coordinator. She also received her Master’s Degree in public health with an epidemiology focus from the University of Michigan.

Her family then moved to the Grand Rapids area, where she worked for the Kent County Health Department as a nurse. She then spent eight years at the Michigan State Health Department doing tuberculosis control as the regional tuberculosis consultant for the State of Michigan.

After spending those 17 years in Michigan, the couple and their children have spent the last three and a half years living in Indiana.

McCallum is currently an adjunct faculty for the IWU School of Nursing, where she works part time teaching Population Health and Perspectives in Poverty and Health in the non-residential program for the R.N. B.S.N. Completion Program.

“Both classes have a connection to public health nursing and that really was my passion,” said McCallum. “It’s a different focus, but the classes are interesting. I love teaching because I love learning. The students are professionals, and they bring a lot experience to the table.”

She also works part-time as the Lead Nurse Planner at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.

Julie and her family, photo contributed from Facebook

Julie and her family, photo contributed from Facebook

McCallum enjoys being an adjunct faculty at IWU, because she has the ability to share her faith with students and can include that part of herself in the classroom. She also appreciates being able to have a first response with her students of prayer.

“I would tell current students to keep an open mind throughout all of nursing school, because they may find their niche,” said McCallum. “I didn’t take my community health class until my very last semester… there are so many avenues of nursing. Obviously, they need to learn it all, but keep an option mind because there are many ways you can go as a graduate.”

 

 

Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a sophomore Strategic Communication and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. At IWU Dezaray is involved in PRSSA leadership and runs both the JWHC Blog and her own blog. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

 

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Kaylee Sills: Battling Dysautonomia

By: Dezaray Barr

Kaylee Sills

Kaylee Sills

Kaylee Sills was told she would never graduate college because of her health problems; however, after multiple years without being diagnosed, Sills was diagnosed with dysautonomia at Mayo Clinic.

After her diagnosis, the summer before her senior year of Nursing School at IWU, Kaylee Sills got involved with the Dysautonomia Advocacy Foundation. She volunteered to be of any help to the association, and she was invited to be involved in dysautonomia research. The Foundation put her in touch with The Dysautonomia Project, a book that was in the process of being written and published. Since this time, the book has been published and Sills is a coauthor of the book.

“My name was very naked among all these M.D. and Ph.D.’s, but I wrote two chapters of the book,” said Sills. “That summer kicked off me volunteering with these groups.”

Sills also began to run the social media side of the Dysautonomia Advocacy Foundation as well. During this time, she took the hard to understand information about Dysautonomia and put it into easy to understand infographics for new patients.

Once word got out about Sills’ diagnosis and her volunteer work, Sills was contacted by twelve IWU alumni or IWU students of the time who were also struggling with some form of dysautonomia.

In April of 2016, Sills organized a National Public Health Week seminar with the IWU Master’s in Health Division titled Understanding Dysautonomia. At the IWU event, Sills spoke, as well as IWU faculty Dr. Phillip Renfroe and Dr. Nathan Herring. Over 80 people attended, from as far as Cincinnati, to Sills disbelief. Afterwards, Sills received multiple requests to have this seminar presented all over the nation.

Sills graduated in April 2016 with a B.S. in Nursing. Last June, Sills passed her board exam and in August, she accepted a job at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.

Sills knows that her work as a nurse represents herself well and professionally, but she also believes it represents IWU well.

Sills (far left) presents Grubb his research grant in September of 2016.

Sills (far left) presents Grubb his research grant in September of 2016.

“I got a really good education at IWU,” said Sills. “I have patient after patient ask what school I attended because they’re impressed with my work. The patients tell me, ‘You seem like you’ve been a nurse for a really long time.’”

Although Sills has graduated, all of the money she had raised on Facebook during her last year of school has recently been awarded to Blair Grubb, a world-known researcher, who is considered an expert on Dysautonomia. Sills had the opportunity to present him with a $25,000 research grant.

 

Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a sophomore Strategic Communication and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. At IWU Dezaray is involved in PRSSA leadership and runs both the JWHC Blog and her own blog. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

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From a Small Town in Indiana to a MEDEVAC Unit in Iraq

By: Heather Cox

TIffany Randal upon graduation from IWU.

Tiffany Randall upon graduation from IWU.

Tiffany Randall graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and she has been on an amazing journey ever since.

Originally from Crawfordsville, Indiana, Randall first heard of IWU through a friend from high school. Once she visited IWU, she fell in love with the passion she saw in the faculty, and admired the focus and God-driven attitudes the students held. Randall immediately felt like she belonged and felt God calling her to the university.

Randall also felt like nursing was a call from God.

“I chose nursing as my major for one main reason; I loved helping people. Throughout my childhood my father was in and out of the hospital undergoing surgeries. I saw how the nurses interacted with my father and helped him on the road to recovery,” Randall said. “They were there when he was at his worst and accepted him just the way he was. They encouraged, supported, and cared for him through it all. I wanted to be that person.”

During her time at IWU, not only was her time dedicated to pursuing an education in nursing, but she was also a part of Reserved Officer Training Corps (ROTC) her sophomore year, and accepted a 3 year scholarship. Eventually, she also commissioned into the Army Nurse Corps on a four year service contract.

“ROTC took up a lot of time. We did physical training most mornings, attended Military Science classes twice a week, and attended a lab exercise once or twice a week,” Randall said.

Randall considers it a huge blessing to have studied at IWU, and she loved nearly every part of it.

“The faculty held themselves to a higher standard and lived out their Christian faith in the classroom. They demonstrated their values and treated everyone fair,” Randall said.

Randall said she also loved and looked forward to attending Chapel three times a week. She said taking a break in the middle of the day to worship as a student body was refreshing.

The Nursing Program at IWU was an additional wonderful experience for Randall.

“IWU School of Nursing was one of a kind,” Randall said. “The professors, lab instructors and clinical instructors wanted nothing but the best for me. They challenged me, pushed me beyond what I believed I was capable of and inspired me to do the same for fellow students and later, my co-workers.”

Randall said her Nursing professors were also very understanding of her busy Military schedule and took time to make sure she was successful, to which Randall said she will always be grateful. In fact, these professors inspired Randall to obtain a Master of Science in Nursing, with an Emphasis in Nursing Education, in December 2015.

“All of my professors had an impact on my life. Why? Because I felt they truly cared and believed in me,” Randall said. “The fact that they demonstrated Christian values and beliefs in the classroom really warmed my heart and inspired me to be an educator like them someday.”

Randall’s favorite classes were her nursing classes because of her passion for medicine and for learning how to care for patients based on their illness or disease.

“I also really enjoyed World Changers,” Randall said. “To this day I still talk about that class because of the influence it had on my current beliefs. World Changers challenged me to question why I believed what I believed and dig deeper into the meaning of my existence. I loved that. I grew substantially as a person and even more so as a believer in God.”

Following graduation, Randall pursued some of her biggest dreams.

Tiffany Randall

Tiffany Randall

She first commissioned into active duty in the U.S. Army in Fort Sam in San Antonio, Texas for a Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC), which was a four month long course.

Following this course, she reported to her first duty station at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was there she worked on a Medical/Telemetry (Cardiac) Unit for 2 years before transferring.

“I left Tripler in the summer of 2014 and was stationed at San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC),” Randall said. “At SAMMC, I attended a course called Critical Care/Emergency Trauma Nursing, which was an intense advanced nursing course. Upon completion of the course I was identified as an ER nurse in the Army.”

In January 2015, Randall was assigned to SAMMC’s Emergency/Trauma Department, which had been a goal of hers since the beginning.

“San Antonio Military Medical Center is the only Trauma Level I Center in the Department of Defense and is the center for military medicine research. Trauma is a passion of mine and I have always wanted to work in a Trauma Level I Center,” Randall said. “When I was a little girl, I would watch the Life Line air medical helicopters fly over my house. From then on I had always wanted to be a flight nurse. God opened the door for that to be possible through the military.”

Randall was then selected to to a two week military course called Joint Enroute Critical Care in April 2016, where she learned to care for patients in the back of Blackhawk helicopters. Following this course, she returned to the ER at SAMMC until she received her deployment orders.

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Randall cares for patients in the back of Blackhawk helicopters.

Randall was deployed to Iraq in August 2016, where she is currently serving as an Enroute Critical Care Nurse with a MEDEVAC Unit.

“As an Enroute Critical Care Nurse, I assist the flight medics in caring for critical care patients in a Blackhawk helicopter,” Randall said. “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am very blessed and grateful to serve the men and women who sacrifice everything for our nation. This is the reason I joined the military.”

As for her future plans and dreams, Randall plans to stay in the military until retirement. She hopes to eventually obtain her Doctor of Nursing Practice as a Clinical Nurse Specialist and/or Nurse Practitioner.

“I love helping others reach their full potential and see young nurses grow into great leaders and become resources and role models for the next generation to come,” Randall said.

For current IWU students, Randall encourages them to chase their dreams with everything they have.

“Never settle for mediocre and never give up on your biggest dreams. One of my favorite verses from my time at IWU is Matthew 6:33 (NLT) ‘Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.’ By putting God first in my life I have been able to see my wildest dreams come true and fulfill the unique purpose God created me for,” Randall said.

 

Written by Heather Cox, writer for the Alumni Office. Heather is a junior Journalism major at IWU. She is also the Editor of GrantCOnnected.net, a community news site run by IWU students. She is unsure of where life will take her after college, but she knows she never wants to stop writing!

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Barbara Ihrke: School of Nursing Spotlight

By: Dezaray Barr

Barbara Ihrke, photo obtained from https://www.indwes.edu/academics/faculty/barbara-ihrke

Barbara Ihrke, photo obtained from https://www.indwes.edu/academics/faculty/barbara-ihrke

Dr. Barbara Ihrke graduated in 1993 from Indiana Wesleyan University with a M.S. in Community Health Nursing, after obtaining her B.S. in 1977 from Crown College in Minnesota. After obtaining her B.S., she worked as a missionary nurse in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1980-1991. While there, she taught in a school of nursing and participated in primary health care projects.

While at Indiana Wesleyan University as a master’s student, Ihrke’s favorite classes were Community Health Nursing taught by Dr. Carol Clark and Epidemiology taught by Dr. Susan Stranahan.

“There was a great group of missionary nurses here,” Ihrke said. “That really was a great community of nurses studying the same material with a real heart for the world.”

Although Ihrke grew up in Minnesota, she spent eleven years oversees in Africa before coming to Indiana Wesleyan University to obtain her Master’s.

After obtaining her M.S., Ihrke received her Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2002.

Ihrke has taught full time at IWU since 1994, and she is currently the Vice President of Academic Affairs of the School of Nursing. According to her faculty bio, her areas of expertise include transcultural nursing, tropical health, gerontology, and nursing informatics.

Last Saturday, January 14, 2017, Ihrke traveled with a group of IWU sophomores who will be studying abroad this semester in Haiti where she will be teaching Transcultural Nursing. She said her favorite thing about this trip is being able to teach the IWU students, but also the students at the nursing school in La Gonave, Haiti.

“I’ve seen over the years how God has really worked at the university,” Ihrke said. “I really like working here.”

 

Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a sophomore Strategic Communication and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. At IWU Dezaray is involved in PRSSA leadership and runs both the JWHC Blog and her own blog. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.