Huntington University is a Christian liberal arts college in Indiana

Finding her dream in ‘Patch Adams’

Grad discovers career path in medical flick
Emily Frankle on advantages of nursing degree program at Huntington University, a Christian college.

“I think with any nursing program, the more clinical experience, the better.”

In 1998, the film “Patch Adams” released as a box office favorite. Audiences laughed at Robin Williams’ humor and cried as the drama unfolded. Emily Rausch, however, who was 16 at the time, took away something quite different from the film. She found her future career path.

“I saw how the nurses made everyone happy, and I was like ‘Oh, I’ll be a nurse,’” Rausch said.

A native of Huntington, Ind., Rausch made the decision to come to Huntington University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Earlier this year, she walked with the first graduating class of the program.

The university announced the new nursing program in 2005 as a way to prepare students to serve in the area of medicine. Throughout the years, the program improved with new state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, including a “real life” Sim Man for the department. And in May 2011, the program received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

“This is a dream come true and truly an answer to prayer,” said Dr. Norris Friesen, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “We started this process almost eight years ago and to see the program become fully accredited is amazing. I am excited to see how God will use our nurses to impact our communities and beyond.

Rausch came to HU as a freshman to join, what she quickly discovered to be, a closely knit group of nursing students. They studied together, stressed out together and even offered suggestions to make the program better — together.

“We all got really close,” she said. “That’s what I will always remember.”

The program offered Rausch and her peers extensive on-campus and off-campus clinical experiences as well as in-depth training in human anatomy and physiology, chemistry and core courses in the liberal arts.

“I think with any nursing program, the more clinical experience, the better,” she said.

That experience landed Rausch a position as a nurse at Parkview North Hospital in Fort Wayne, Ind., only a few weeks after passing her boards for certification.

“Just getting hired,” she said with a smile, “someone believes that I’m going to be good at this.”

At Parkview, Rausch will oversee four to five patients (a mixture of adults and children) each shift where she completes assessments, gives medications, collaborates with doctors and performs various procedures.

“I love that I’m going to get all of that experience,” she said.

Rausch is also looking forward to working in a newly-built hospital. Parkview North is the newest addition to the Parkview Health network. The hospital opens fully in 2012. Until then, she is doing training and other work at the Parkview Randallia campus in Fort Wayne.

Rausch hopes to use this position as a stepping stone to her ultimate dream of becoming a critical care and psychiatric nurse or even going back to graduate school for counseling. She credits Huntington for making those dreams possible.

“You get out of it what you put into it,” she said. “You put work into it, and you will turn out to be an excellent nurse.”

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