In January, Chamberlain College of Nursing announced the establishment of a campus in Tinley Park, Ill.
While Tinley Park is Chamberlain’s newest location, a seasoned leader has taken the helm, with nearly 40 years of experience in nursing higher education behind her. Campus President Bonnie Saucier, PhD, MSN, MEd, RN, shares her thoughts below:
When did you first know you wanted to pursue nursing?
When I was a child, maybe 10 years old, I had a medical emergency that took me to the hospital. I recognized that there were some nurses who were really good to their patients, and some who were not so nice. I decided at that very time that I wanted to be a nurse so I could prove that we could all be caring people, and care for people, at the same time.
When did you make the move from nursing practice to education?
I was an obstetrics nurse supervisor and we had students come on board for their clinical rotations. Some students would be left alone without any experience and no supervision. I realized that there were better ways to be an instructor and that’s what helped me decide to move from the hospital setting into the nursing education arena.
Teaching student nurses really helps to not only grow the nursing profession and its population, but also provides the next generation of nurses with the best possible training. It’s a tremendous amount of responsibility.
Has there been a moment in your career that reinforced why you became a nurse educator?
The “aha!” moments come from watching the growth process of nursing students from the time they start to the time they finish. Many of my students have been very high-level critical thinkers, and it’s intriguing to watch their development. I’ve also been very interested and involved in student governments for nursing schools. I have found that as students evolve into state and even national leadership roles, they just blossom.
What attracted you to this position at Chamberlain?
I wanted to return to my Midwestern roots and I liked the idea that Chamberlain College is a single-purpose institution, the single purpose being a concentration on nursing education. Many times when you’re on another type of college campus, the playing field can be a bit skewed depending on what program is considered to be the most important on that campus. Where at Chamberlain, nursing education is the most important, so everyone talks about how we can enhance, improve and be responsive to nursing students’ needs.
What makes a nurse extraordinary?
An extraordinary nurse is a really strong critical thinker, who can assess problems, recognize ways to implement care and then evaluate it accordingly. It’s not just a person who says this is the protocol to respond to a particular medical condition, because every patient is different from the person who is in the next room or the next bed. Being extraordinary also means being an independent practitioner, who can work in a wide variety of settings with a wide variety of patients and their families.
What are your interests outside of nursing?
I like to travel and I’ve been very fortunate to be involved in a lot of international travel, both professionally and personally. I’ve given lectures and served as a visiting professor in other countries.
My favorite place to travel is Finland. It’s a small country and a little off the beaten path. The culture, the healthcare, the social system and the people are all wonderful.