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Toni Wendling, MSN ’19, loved her work as a nurse administrator at Stormont Vail Health, but knew she needed a master’s degree to continue advancing in her profession. She also wanted to pursue a path where she could grow and learn more.

“I value my role as a nurse and believed that a deeper knowledge of nursing practice could only benefit my growth in the field,” Wendling said. “Additionally, master’s preparation in nursing could also give me the tools to improve patient care as the landscape is changing.”

Working at Stormont Vail Health, Wendling was familiar with Baker and determined that the Master of Science in Nursing with a focus in nursing education was the perfect fit.

“Baker has a stellar reputation in nursing education,” Wendling said.

Wendling has enjoyed her Baker experience and likened her course work to the adage You don’t know what you don’t know.

“This program has been rigorous and is definitely suited for the nurse that has a desire to grow in the nursing field,” she said. “The classes and topics have certainly pushed me to learn more about myself as a nurse and as a person. I have been amazed at how enlightening the literature is in many areas of practice.”

While managing course work and full-time work is challenging, the online component of the program helped Wendling manage it all.

“It is certainly a commitment,” she said. “The online learning does allow some flexibility that wouldn’t be possible with on-ground programs.”

Wendling has been thrilled with the results of her efforts.

“I am more committed than ever to evidence-based practice, nursing autonomy, and the value of nursing research,” she said.

Wendling will graduate in May and so will two of her four children.

“I will graduate from my program the same weekend that my daughter graduates from high school and my youngest son finishes his bachelor’s degree,” she said.

It will be the culmination of hard work and commitment for the family. For Wendling, the support of a loved one makes it all possible. She cites her husband of 35 years, Larry, as her biggest advocate.

“He has been beyond amazing over the past three and a half years,” Wendling said. “He has supported the many hours of study and late nights. I couldn’t have done it without him.”

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