Program Spotlight: Nursing

Inver Hills Nursing Students: Hannah Mesmer, Nick Welisevich, Erica Rgnonti
Inver Hills Nursing Students: Hannah Mesmer, Nick Welisevich, Erica Rgnonti at Saint Therese

Nursing students visit healthcare facilities to study leadership in their field

During fall semester 2019, nursing students in their fifth semester at Inver Hills Community College participated in a clinical experience as part of their Nursing Leadership 1 coursework. The students are graduating from Inver Hills this December with their Associate of Science (A.S.) in Nursing; most will continue on to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) via the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE) program.

“The Nursing Leadership course is designed to allow students to apply leadership concepts to enhance quality and improve outcomes in a healthcare setting,” said Amy Matthys, MS/MA, RN, nursing faculty at the college. “Each clinical group is assigned a quality topic and a healthcare facility such as Saint Therese of Woodbury and Good Samaritan Society to study the topic in the field. Prior to arriving at the clinical site, the group researches the organizational structure, reviews the literature for best practices and analyzes available data.”

Amy added that the nursing students gather further information through observation and inquiry. “The group interviews nursing leaders, considers available informatics, and reviews current facility policies and procedures to formulate potential solutions that may impact their quality topic. The goal is to identify best practices and discuss how leaders—at all levels— can impact outcomes. At the end of the semester, each group summarizes and presents their findings to the facility nursing leaders at the clinical sites.”

Amy noted that the nursing students realized their role as advocates and nurse leaders (even as novice nurses) while providing fresh eyes and innovative ideas that delighted the Nursing program’s clinical partners.

Inver Hills Ranked #5

2019 Best RN Programs in Minnesota

RegisteredNursing.org ranks the Nursing program at Inver Hills #5 on the organization’s list of 2019 Best RN Programs in Minnesota.


Saint Therese perspective…

Saint Therese of Woodbury greatly values the partnership that we have with Inver Hills. Not only do we get the opportunity to recruit the skilled nurses that come out of your program, we get to grow from their ideas.

One program that we implemented was based on the student presentations on pain management. Because of this idea, our residents now receive comprehensive treatment of pain from point of admission that even the Minnesota Department of Health has complimented.

Another program that we are currently working on is Walking Passport, which was brought forward as an idea from student presentations. This program will help incentivize residents to ambulate throughout the campus and gives the facility an easy way to track the distance walked. The Walking Passport program is being worked on within the entire facility, from Independent Living through Memory Care and Skilled Care.

We are so grateful for the opportunity to work with Inver Hills to strengthen the future leaders of healthcare while simultaneously improving the lives of the seniors we serve.

Katelyn Nowack, LNHA
Executive Director
Saint Therese of Woodbury & The Redwoods

Nursing Student Spotlights

Matt Klugherz

Matt Klugherz
Matt Klugherz

A native of Farmington, Minnesota, Matthew Klugherz, 28, graduated from the Inver Hills Emergency Medical Systems (EMS) program with an Associate of Science (A.S.) in 2013. Matt has worked as a paramedic for six years at Hennepin Healthcare. His experience as an EMS professional has been invaluable during his time as a nursing student.

Matt was homeschooled by his mom, and he also took online courses at South Heights Christian Classes Homeschool Co-op. He graduated in 2010. He will graduate from Inver Hills with his A.S. in Nursing in December 2019.

He likes having the option of transferring to Metropolitan State University to earn his Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) via MANE. For now, Matt’s looking forward to working as a registered nurse in a hospital setting, either in an emergency room (ER) or intensive care unit (ICU).

Matt has been married three years. His wife, Krista, is a UW Stout alumna and an interior designer at Best Buy corporate. Matt’s mom, Jewel, was a stay-at-home teacher during his formative years; she now works for Target. Matt’s dad, Mike, is a computer programmer at HealthPartners.

Matt has two brothers, Caleb, 25, who serves in the U.S. Air Force, and Eli, who has plans to attend seminary school.

In his free time, Matt enjoys sports, camping, hiking, rock climbing and hunting—”really anything that can be done outdoors.” Matt resides with Krista in Rosemount, Minnesota.

Three words that describe you as a nursing student:
HARDWORKING. COMMUNICATOR. EMPATHETIC.

Matt Klugherz Q & A

Matt at Management of Care Day Fall 2019
Matt at Management of Care Day Fall 2019

Why did you choose nursing as your career path?
I chose nursing specifically because I wanted to care for people in their times of need, and make an impact in their life that would be long lasting. I believe that being a nurse is one of the hardest jobs because of the different types of people you encounter, but also the most rewarding because you play such a pivotal role in people’s lives in sometimes very difficult circumstances.

What do you like best about the Nursing program at Inver Hills?
The program is very challenging and engaging, which for someone like me is important because otherwise the coursework might have been more boring. I really like the instructors and the amount of time they take to invest their knowledge into what they teach us.

I was nervous at first when I decided to skip a traditional university nursing school, but I must say that my time at Inver Hills in the Nursing program I would not trade for anything now. The friends and relationships I have built as well as the professional connections I have developed just during my three semesters as part of the nursing cohort has proven extremely valuable.

How would you describe your experience at Good Samaritan Society?
My experience at Good Samaritan in Inver Grove Heights was valuable in that I was able to observe several different professional leaders interact with the collaborative team for the betterment of the patient care provided at the facility.

This opportunity also gave us a chance to see what happens behind the scenes at facilities, and the measures taken to ensure proper care is being provided at their facility.

What is your greatest strength as a future RN?
I believe that I have exceptional communication skills and am able to collaborate with other members of the healthcare team to develop a plan for the betterment of patient care.

What one word best describes your experience at Inver Hills?

ENGAGING

Erica Rgnonti

Erica Rgnonti
Erica Rgnonti

Originally from Cottage Grove, Minnesota, Erica Rgnonti, 35, graduated from Park Senior High School, Class of 2002. Erica is on track to graduate from Inver Hills with her Associate of Science (A.S.) in Nursing in December 2019.

Erica has plans to continue her education at Metropolitan State University via the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE). The MANE curriculum is designed as a dual-admission Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Nursing program with the option to graduate with an A.S. degree after completing 75 credits.

Before enrolling in the Nursing program, Erica worked as a customer service manager at Webb Company. She also flipped houses. She is focusing her plans on becoming a registered nurse (RN). She is unsure which branch of nursing interests her the most.

Erica originally chose nursing as her career path because the field has so much variety and flexibility. She also likes that the knowledge she’ll gain will benefit all parts of her life, including caring for her mother as she gets older.

Another key factor was that registered nurses make a good living. Erica and her family live a frugal lifestyle and she hopes to save money and invest in real estate to support her retirement.

Erica has been married eight years. Her husband, Dustin, works as an HP large-format printer specialist. Erica and Dustin have two children, a boy, Ryland, 6, and a girl, Mira, 3. The family has one dog, an all-black (except for one tiny white spot on his chest) Pomeranian named Onyx.

In her free time, Erica loves spending time with her family. She also enjoys home projects and baking sweet treats. Erica resides with her family in West St. Paul.

Three words that describe you as a nursing student:
DEDICATED. MOTIVATED. PASSIONATE.

Erica Rgnonti Q & A

Erica at Management of Care Day Fall 2019
Erica at Management of Care Day Fall 2019

Why did you choose nursing as your career path?
I chose nursing because I wanted a profession where there is a good outlook for job opportunities. I love people and I’m interested in healthcare.

What do you like best about the Nursing program at Inver Hills?
I love that the professors have real-life experience and are sincerely dedicated to your professional advancement.

How would you describe your experience at Saint Therese in Woodbury?
St. Therese is a beautiful facility with a very positive atmosphere. The faculty really valued teamwork and showed appreciation for others. Overall, St. Therese, looks like a place I could see myself working in the future.

What is your greatest strength as a future RN?
I am a very passionate person who strives to do my best. I think passion is necessary for any profession and it will be reflected in my care when I start working.

What one word best describes your experience at Inver Hills?

TRANSFORMING

More about the Nursing program…

The Associate of Science (A.S.) in Nursing prepares you for a career in professional nursing. Admission to the Nursing program is limited and competitive; a separate application is required. Many students enroll at Inver Hills and complete prerequisite courses before applying to the Nursing program. Advanced standing is offered to qualified licensed practical nurses (LPN’s) interested in the MANE nursing program.

In collaboration with community colleges and universities in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, Inver Hills helped develop the innovative Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE) curriculum. As a transformative approach to nursing education, MANE encourages a deep understanding of key nursing concepts while addressing the changing health care environment. LEARN MORE…

Registered Nurses

Provide and coordinate patient care, and educate and support patients and families.
WAGE

This is a very high-wage career the pays well above the statewide median of $20.07/hour

Minnesota

Median: $37.67/hour
High: $44.77/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $40.01/hour
High: $46.12/hour

OUTLOOK

This career is currently in very high demand.

This career is seeing very high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 11.1 percent, or well above the statewide average. There will be a need for about 42,029 new Registered Nurses to meet market demand between 2016–2026. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

Nursing Student Spotlights (cont.)

Hannah Mesmer

Hannah Mesmer
Hannah Mesmer

Hannah Mesmer, 22, grew up in Eagan, Minnesota. Hannah is a 2015 graduate of the School of Environmental Studies. She is on schedule to graduate from Inver Hills with her A.S. in Nursing in December 2019.

Hannah is making plans to transfer to either Metro State or Minnesota State Mankato to complete her B.S.N. through MANE. Her career goals are centered on working in pediatrics at a children’s hospital. She chose pediatrics because she has always enjoyed being around children.

“They are playful, honest, and look at the world in a beautiful way,” Hannah said. “Being able to help make their hospital visit more enjoyable and be an advocate for them is what I strive to achieve.”

Hannah’s mom, Monica, works at Nordstrom; her dad, Steve, is a strategic planning consultant for education technology start-ups and the chief operating officer for Write the World. Hannah has one sibling, a sister named Maddy, 20, who is majoring in Criminal Justice at Inver Hills.

In her free time, Hannah enjoys spending time outside—she especially likes hiking. She loves acrylic and watercolor painting, exploring a variety of different subjects. Her favorite movie genres are horror and sci-fi. She spends a majority of her free time with friends and family members, the latter including her two dogs, Pickles, a 7-year-old Yorkshire/schnauzer mix, and Layla, a 2-year-old adopted mutt. Hannah resides with her family in Eagan.

Three words that describe you as a nursing student:
POSISTIVE. PASSIONATE. INTERPERSONAL.

Hannah Mesmer Q & A

Hannah at Management of Care Day Fall 2019
Hannah at Management of Care Day Fall 2019

Why did you choose nursing as your career path?
From a young age, I have been interested in the medical field and the different approaches humans have developed to treat themselves. I knew I wanted to have a career in which I could make a difference in people’s daily lives and offer a positive helping hand when they need it most. For me, nursing is the perfect combination of these two things.

What do you like best about the Nursing program at Inver Hills?
To be able to describe what I like best about the Nursing program at Inver Hills is difficult because there are so many amazing attributes of this program. To start, the instructors have been invaluable resources since the beginning. They truly care about the students and want every single one of us to become true nurses of excellence. Additionally, the community at Inver Hills college is outstanding. Not only the community within the Nursing program, but throughout the entire college; I have felt nothing but acceptance and support.

How would you describe your experience at Saint Therese in Woodbury?
My experience at St. Therese was incredible. Everyone we met with was exceptionally helpful and receptive to our project and the questions we posed. They have previously implemented students’ suggestions for quality improvement and seemed excited for the insights we will provide during our SWOT presentation. It was an amazing opportunity to apply the knowledge we have gained in the classroom to an actual healthcare facility.

What is your greatest strength as a future RN?
I believe my greatest strength as a future RN is my positivity and ability to connect with others. In my experience, patients often just want to know their concerns and feelings are being heard and validated. Through the use of therapeutic communication, you are able to establish a genuine connection and provide holistic nursing care, which is essential to patient recovery.

What one word best describes your experience at Inver Hills?

INSIGHTFUL

Nick Welisevich

Nick Welisevich
Nick Welisevich

Nick Welisevich, 33, is a 2004 graduate of Saint Agnes, a private, Roman Catholic high school in his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. Nick is on track to earn his A.S. in Nursing and graduate from Inver Hills this December.

Nick’s transfer plans include attending Metro State, Minnesota State Mankato or the University of Minnesota to complete a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Nursing, the first two schools via MANE ((Minnesota Alliance in Nursing Education). Nick is looking forward to a career in pediatric oncology. His chose this branch of healthcare due to a remarkable experience he had as a patient at Saint Marys Hospital (see Q & A below). Before enrolling in the Nursing program at Inver, Nick worked as a home health aide and hospice CNA.

Nick’s pastimes and hobbies include building personal computers, snowmobiling at the family cabin in Cumberland and playing soccer. Nick and his wife, Erica, have been married three years. He has a half-brother, Aedon 16, a high school senior, and a half-sister, Isabel, 18, a college student in Ireland. Nick resides with Erica in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood in St. Paul.

Three words that describe you as a nursing student:
OPTIMISTIC. RESILIENT. ALITTLEOFFMYROCKER.

Nick Welisevich Q & A

Nick at Management of Care Day Fall 2019
Nick at Management of Care Day Fall 2019

Why did you choose nursing as your career path?
I got into healthcare as the result of picking up a part-time job at an assisted living facility and fell in love with the clientele there. I didn’t decide that I wanted to be a nurse, however, until I was at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester recovering from a second surgery for my recent cancer diagnosis.

My surgery entailed being opened from the base of my neck all the way down to my pelvic reason for the doctors to remove 76 infected lymph nodes in my lower back. Needless to say, I was a very difficult patient as I was in a tremendous amount of pain.

After the third day of my recovery, I met a young girl with a large portion of her skull removed who asked me “how I was feeling.” This was a child who was in a much worse state than I was, and she was asking me if I was okay.

It was in this moment that everything was put in perspective for me. I realized that not only did I want to care for people for the rest of my life, but especially children that are dealing with cancer.

What do you like best about the Nursing program at Inver Hills?
The instructors. They are on a totally different level than anyone I’ve ever met before.

How would you describe your experience at Saint Therese in Woodbury?
Very welcoming and forthcoming!

What is your greatest strength as a future RN?
I have been told that my bedside manner is a gift that cannot be taught.

What one phrase best describes your experience at Inver Hills?

Yabba dabba doo!

View more Nursing event photos by visiting the Inver Flickr album:

Management of Care Day Fall 2019

Learn more about the Nursing program at Inver Hills by contacting:

Diane Elifrits
Interim Director of Nursing
651-450-3470

(left to right) Katelyn Nowack, Amy Matthys, Chris Armstrong, Saint Therese clinical director, Nick Welisevich, Hannah Mesmer, Erica Rgnonti at Saint Therese
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