Pioneers in Healthcare
| by Carol Best email@example.com
A year ago, when this issue was planned, the world had not heard the term COVID-19. The idea was to introduce readers to some of the many healthcare professionals who completed their pre-professional education at MNU and went on to serve the world in a variety of settings. Some of the first graduates became medical doctors, dentists and missionary doctors.
In 1979, the first students enrolled in a brand-new nursing program. MNU has since developed curriculum and faculty advising to prepare graduates for careers as chiropractors, occupational therapists and physical therapists. Graduates of biology and chemistry have become optometrists, pharmacists, psychiatrists, veterinarians and more. The latest program addition is for nurse practitioner which began in January. It prepares graduates for a professional practice with adolescents, adults and the elderly.
Pioneers have been drawn to MNU for a variety of reasons: its reputation for excellence in nursing, its high acceptance rate to medical school and other graduate programs and the opportunity to work closely with highly skilled faculty. They also chose MNU to learn more about serving others while serving Christ.
In the midst of COVID-19, alumni of these programs take a special place in our hearts and minds as they serve on the front lines of this pandemic. The profiles in this issue represent hundreds of other Pioneers who serve as well. We are proud to have been part of their preparation to lead in this manner. Please remember them in your prayers of gratitude.
Dana Suderman (BSN ’11, BA ’09), RN, PCCN, unit coordinator The University of Kansas Hospital.
Dana leads the night shift on the Neuroscience ENT Progressive Care Unit. After completing a degree in organizational leadership in 2009, she found herself being led to nursing.
How did you choose your profession?
“I didn’t start college knowing exactly what I wanted to do. I remembered my parents and other people saying I’d make a good nurse. I don’t know how to explain it other than it really was God’s hand directing me and laying out the path for me.”
Stepping out in faith, Dana enrolled in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, an intense, year-long program for career changers.
“Every class, lab, test and clinical became a prayer, a fleece, that I literally laid out to God every step of the way. I took every passing class as one of my signs that I needed to keep going. Now I feel so truly blessed and honored to be in this profession! As cliché as it may sound, I feel I didn’t choose nursing. Nursing chose me.”
Bryan Beaver (’03) MD, FAAEM, assistant professor, medical director Wake Forest University School of Medicine; Iredell Memorial Hospital.
Bryan earned his medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He completed an emergency medicine residency and EMS/Disaster medicine fellowship at Wake Forest University.
Why did you choose your profession?
“It is truly a calling,” Bryan says. “After graduating from MNU with a degree in religion and philosophy, I started right away at Nazarene Theological Seminary. Through a long, and at times faith-rattling process, it became clear God was calling me in a different direction than the pulpit or classroom. Entering the field of medicine, and particularly emergency medicine, has allowed me to continue to minister, just in a different way than we often talk of ‘ministry’ in the church.”
Bryan serves as assistant professor of emergency medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine where he is core faculty for the EMS and Disaster Medicine Fellowship program. He is also medical director for Iredell County Emergency Medical Services, assistant medical director for Wake Forest Baptist Health AirCare Critical Care Transport, and medical director for the Wake Forest staffed emergency department at Iredell Memorial Hospital.
Passion to Serve
“I am driven by Christ’s words to the disciples in Matthew 25 which calls us to have a faith that is not merely intellectual assent, but tangible and born out in the way we love and serve others. With that in mind, my practice of medicine is very much shaped by the words of Teresa of Avila,
“I never imagined spending my entire shift every day in a mask, goggles, and gown, unable to take them off. Going to work has taken on a new level of risk for all of us on the frontlines of this pandemic. Though we are well aware of those risks, I could not be more proud of my colleagues who continue to show up, day in and day out, to care for our patients with many volunteering to go and care for those in the worst affected parts of the country.”
In July, Bryan, his wife Amy and children Brady, Anabelle and Brennan moved back to Kansas City where Bryan joined the University of Kansas School of Medicine faculty as an assistant professor of emergency medicine and will develop and direct an EMS and Disaster Medicine Fellowship program for the university.
Lt. Megan Roberts (BSN ’11), ICU nurse, Navy reservist/active duty USNS Comfort hospital ship, New York City
After her freshman year at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts, Megan looked for a way to combine her love of science and a career working with people. Nursing fit and she transferred to MNU for its highly regarded nursing program.
How did you choose military nursing?
“After working at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka, I did four travel nursing assignments all in ICU, working in Florida, Massachusetts and Kansas. Travel nursing is great because you work for 13 weeks and then rotate elsewhere. It was great experience. You must be flexible and jump in wherever they need your help. You have no more than three days of orientation and then have to adapt.”
Megan also worked PRN (as needed) at University of Kansas Health System and has kept that status, working a full-time schedule there for several years. In the meantime, military opportunities looked promising and after interviewing with two branches of service in 2014, she became a Navy reservist. As it turns out, all the flexibility and adaptability learned as a travel nurse serve her well in her current assignment.
Passion to Serve
At MNU, Megan traveled to Guatemala over winter break on a School of Nursing mission trip. It is in Megan’s nature to be compassionate and experiences like the mission trip helped solidify her choice of a nursing career. Now it seems those previous experiences have prepared her for serving in this crisis.
“As we arrived in New York there were so many people waving along the pier, holding signs, welcoming us,” Megan says. “We were escorted by the NYPD, US Marines and tugboats. Apparently, this is quite unusual. That’s when it sunk in for me. We are here to help, and we want to help.”
Megan and her coworkers worked 12-hour shifts for seven nights in a row. She talked with Accent on her first day off.
“We wear the Navy working uniform. We don’t wear scrubs. The boots are not comfortable for 12 hours a day. I’m grateful not to put those on tonight. The uniform can be intimidating for some patients while some find it comforting. We have to gauge where the patient is with that. Imagine being a patient and coming on a Navy ship and you can’t have visitors.”
Megan and the other healthcare providers work hard to provide as much comfort as they can to patients while maintaining protective protocol. Thank you, Megan, for answering the call to military service and healthcare.
Mark J. Haffey (’93), MSN, CRNA, APRN, certified registered nurse anesthetist Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center.
Upon completing a degree in biology at MNU, Mark earned a BSN at University of Kansas in
1997, an MSN at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2001, and the Certificate of Nurse Anesthesia at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in 2001.
How did you choose your profession?
In high school God called Mark to help others. Volunteering at Olathe Medical Center, a job at a dialysis center and working as an ICU nurse, reaffirmed his call. The challenge was what attracted him to anesthesiology.
“CRNAs are responsible for the patient from assessment prior to the procedure through waking them up and assuring they are stable in recovery. I provide anesthesia for all types of procedures including cardiac, ENT, neurology, OB/GYN, orthopedic, pediatric, robotic, thoracic, transplant, and vascular.”
The Passion to Serve
“God has called me to help others, to be a servant. To show compassion and care and to treat each patient as if they were my family member.
When patients come for surgery, anesthesia is many times the scariest part of the surgical experience. To take all control from the patient, they and their family must trust that I am going to adequately anesthetize them and wake them up from anesthesia. It is here that I have the unique opportunity to connect with and comfort my patients. To be that reassurance to them is extremely valuable.”
Mark’s hospital is in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which is considered a hotspot for the virus requiring them to open several improvised ICU units. He currently works with emergency room physicians to manage the patients’ respiratory needs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced CRNAs to redefine our role in healthcare delivery. While emergent surgical cases still require our expertise, we are now being asked to manage ventilators and ICU teams.”
Thriving on the challenge of the situation and with compassion for his patients and families, Mark finds his faith keeps him going.