Graduate ready to start career as cardiac intensive care nurse
Topeka, Kan. — Before her senior year at Blue Valley High School in Randolph, Kan., Ashley Lund tore an ACL, missed an entire of year of sports and learned that her mother, LuAnn, was diagnosed with breast cancer. At that moment, Ashley thought a career in nursing might be for her.
"I got to spend a lot of time at home with my mom and play the role of a nurse, doing such things as shaving her head when she lost her hair," Ashley said. "It definitely sparked an interest in working in the health field."
Ashley on Friday evening will be joined by her mother — cancer free for five years — her father, Delbert, and approximately 20 family members and friends at Baker University's traditional School of Nursing pinning ceremony at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in Topeka. On Sunday, she will walk across the Collins Center stage on the Baldwin City campus to receive her diploma.
"My family has been so supportive during my two years of nursing school and I am really thankful for that," Lund said.
Lund concluded her capstone project this week, working seven 12-hour shifts in ICU at St. Luke's South Hospital in Overland Park, Kan., and will soon take the NCLEX boards.
"The capstone program gives us the best experience as a real nurse and helps us transition into our new job," Lund. "Baker prepared us well."
Lund has a job waiting for her. She accepted a position working as cardiac intensive care nurse at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
"I started job hunting in September and I had four job offers on one day in November," Lund said. "The hard work definitely paid off."
Lund eventually would like to work in oncology nursing at a cancer center.
"As a new graduate I didn't think it was the best idea to be in a specialized field like oncology," she said. "I wanted to gain experience with different medical problems to acquire better assessment skills. I wanted to become more comfortable and confident in my role as a nurse. Working in ICU provides the biggest challenges and demands and requires accuracy and attention to detail, which will be skills that will benefit me as a future oncology nurse."
Lund completed her nursing prerequisites at Kansas State in Manhattan, near her family home in Leonardville. She was involved in Navigators campus ministry at K-State and participated in Nurses Christian Fellowship activities at Baker.
"It really helped me develop my relationship with the Lord and gave me strength when I moved to Topeka, where I didn't know anybody," she recalled.
Before starting nursing school, Lund gained global experience by participating on a mission trip in Namibia, located north of South Africa.
"Our group was involved in providing education on how to prevent HIV and AIDS," she said. "We worked with orphanages and in campus ministry."
A week ago, Lund was among 16 Baker nursing students inducted into the Eta Kappa Chapter-at-Large of Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society for nursing. Students must have a 3.0 grade-point average and rank in the top 35 percent of their class to qualify.
"I was honored and proud to become a member," she said. "The professors made learning fun and challenged us in the classroom. The coursework provided me with a well-rounded education."