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Katherine Spencer, Lecturer

Katherine Spencer, Lecturer

"Nursing is a field of compassion, caring and being nonjudgmental of others. Spending time with patients either inpatient, outpatient or in the home is the greatest gift we can give them."

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Degrees Held:

  • MSN-Ed – Walden University, 2010
  • BBA – Cleary University, 2000
  • Associates in Nursing – Washtenaw Community College, 1994

Career Highlights:

Nursing experience has included: Geriatrics, Rehab, Medical/Surgical, Transplants, Hospice, Homecare, OB/L&D, Pediatrics and Management/Leadership. I have held many positions in travel nursing across the USA.

Which classes do you teach online?

NURS 431 Care of Aging Populations, 437 Theory & Practice of Conscious Dying and 411 Holistic Health Assessment.

What do you want students to take away from your classes? What do you want them to learn?

Nurses need to be able to look at the whole picture (holistic care) and address the mind, body and soul in order for the patient to heal. Nursing is a field of compassion, caring and being nonjudgmental of others. Spending time with patients either inpatient, outpatient or in the home is the greatest gift we can give them.

What is the value of a BSN?

A BSN value means exploring and learning using clinical research in all avenues of nursing. We learn skills in an associate degree in all areas, but learning evidence-based practice research enables us to make future changes in the clinical field.

Why did you start teaching?

I started teaching in nursing by being approached to help when an instructor backed out at the last minute. As I started teaching, I realized I enjoyed this avenue and wanted to continue to mentor and educate nursing students.

What advice would you give to nurses considering the online RN to BSN track?

An online program has many benefits: enjoyable discussions to learn from others, closeness with people all over the world, study in your PJs any time of the day or night during your peak hours, save gas, and can complete the degree while traveling.

Why are you interested in nursing? What drew you to this field?

I have always wanted to become a nurse, but lacked confidence due to a bad high school science experience and being verbally abused while in my earlier years. When my husband became ill due to diabetes, I decided I would pursue my dream to be a nurse and be able to support my children if an emergency came up with my husband and help educate others about the importance of health maintenance and diabetes. I also had a desire to care for people in need.

What qualities make someone particularly successful in nursing?

Qualities I look for are kindness, calmness, confidence, compassion and a drive to consistently do better by continually learning your entire career. They need to have PASSION for what they do.

Nursing is 80% patient education, which is an area that changes all the time.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that nurses face today?

Working with other nurses who are just into nursing for a paycheck and really do not spend time with their patients. Nursing can't be just a job – it needs to be a career and PASSION.

Also, too high a patient-to-nurse ratio and too much documentation at the computer, which takes away from the time spent with a patient.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo.

Tell us something your students may not know about you:

My passion in nursing is mental health. My dream is to help the veterans/soldiers have a half-way house to go to when they leave the VA mental health unit giving them hope that changes them with caring, medication compliance, life skills, support systems and landing a job while improving their mental health to a level where they can be independent and supportive of others to heal.

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