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Abigail Hamel, MSN ’19, knew what her future held from the time she was little.

“Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of one day being a teacher,” Hamel said. “Playing ‘school’ with my twin brother when I was younger was one of my favorite past times.”

Hamel’s interest in nursing was sparked by the fact that both parents were nurses. Her mother is a registered nurse at Stormont Vail Health. And her father, who passed away last October, served as a major source of support when Hamel decided to pursue nursing as a career. This interest in nursing was reinforced by her volunteer work at Stormont Vail Health, where she learned more about the profession during her work on nursing floors and single-day surgery.

“After volunteering at Stormont Vail Health for many years, I became interested in the nursing field and decided to follow in both of my parents’ footsteps and major in nursing,” she said.

Hamel attended Benedictine College and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2015. Even as she was completing her undergraduate degree, Hamel was already looking into graduate programs that would lead to a nursing education career.

“I have always been inspired by my teachers and was motivated by my nursing professors in my BSN program to continue my education,” Hamel said. “I was motivated to attend graduate school because I knew teaching was my passion and this would be the next step I needed.”

While looking into various programs, Hamel accepted a job in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Stormont Vail Health. It was there that she heard about Baker’s new Master of Science in Nursing program. She enrolled in the program’s very first semester, choosing the education track, and will graduate in May.

Because the program is offered 100 percent online, Hamel found that she was able to keep up with courses part time while still maintaining her full-time job. It wasn’t always easy, but Hamel had the support of her instructors and her family to keep her going.

“Although working full time and attending school has been tough at times, I am very glad I decided to obtain my MSN,” she said. “I look forward to all the future opportunities I’ll have.”

Hamel recently completed her practicum experience working alongside Assistant Professor Marlene Eicher, teaching lectures in the classroom, preparing content for the skills lab, shadowing in the simulation setting, and overseeing students in the clinical setting. She found it an invaluable experience.

“The classes have given me the knowledge and experiences to prepare me to be a successful nurse educator,” Hamel said. “I believe I have received a quality education.”

Today, Hamel works in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at the University of Kansas Health System. In addition, she began her teaching career last fall as an affiliate faculty clinical instructor for the University of Kansas School of Nursing.

“Baker has helped prepare me for success in my teaching career by giving me the knowledge and skills needed to be a successful educator,” she said. “I look forward to being an educator, mentor, and role model to future nursing students and providing them the knowledge and skills I have gained over the years to truly make a difference in the lives of the patients they care for.”

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