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Nursing Interview Paper.

Nursing Interview Paper.



When I first started out to write this paper I was overflowing with excitement.  I was pumped that I was going to be able to interview a nurse in an area of specialty that I was interested.  I quickly scheduled an interview with a nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and I looked forward to conversing with her about her job and outside life.  Needless to say, that excitement quickly turned into disappointed as the nurse in the NICU had to cancel because of a busy schedule.  Very soon after, disappointment turned into frustration because the next interview I set up with a nurse in the nursery had last minute obstacles to overcome and could not show.  Determined not to give up but wanting to, I called many other areas of the hospital, hoping to succeed in scheduling an interview, but the end of my phone was only met with voice recorders and busy signals. Nursing Interview Paper.


            Thankfully, I did not give up hope and with the assistance of my professor, Dr. Kerry Kosmoski Goepfert PhD, RN, Associative Dean of the Undergraduate Program at Marquette, graciously agreed to meet with me.  Though teaching nursing did not peak my interest the most, I knew that I needed to remain optimistic and open to the interview.  By the time of the interview, I was surprised that I was actually really excited for it.  I found myself looking forward to learning about a completely different side of nursing.  The interview took place in Dr. Goepfert’s office in a rather comfortable setting with her sitting at her desk and me sitting in a chair across from her.  Though teaching was not a career that I was interested at the time, I wanted to learn more about it.  Therefore, the purpose of my interview was to learn about different roles in nursing, not just in a clinical or hospital setting.  Nursing Interview Paper.

Question Analysis

The very first question that I asked Dr. Goepfert during my interview with her was what her job entailed.  Though I know a little bit of background on most medical specialties such as the NICU and the nursery, all I know about being a Dean is that it involves working with students and teaching.  I wanted to get a basic understanding of her role as the Associate Dean of the Undergraduate Program at Marquette.  I then followed up asking her why she chose to specifically teach at Marquette University.  There are many prestigious academic nursing schools across the country, Wisconsin, and even in Milwaukee itself; I wanted to know what drew her to Marquette and why she loved it.

In addition to receiving her answer to my previous question, Dr. Goepfert answered many of my future questions along the way such as: what is her highest degree, and I also had her clarify the path and time in-between her schoolingfor her degrees.  I had planned to ask these questions to find out how long it took her to reach her degrees and be hired by Marquette University.  While telling me about her path to Marquette, Dr. Goepfert mentioned that she started her own consulting firm.  After finishing my initial question I asked her if she still owned the firm or if she dissolved it once she started teaching.  I was curious if she was balancing another job and company while she teaches here at Marquette.  Also while answering why she chose to teach at Marquette she mentioned receiving a degree in cardiovascular nursing; wanting to know more, I asked her to clarify why she chose the cardiovascular system as one of her degrees and not another system of the body.  Dr. Goepfert could have chosen any system in the human body to major in and she chose the heart, I wanted to know why?Nursing Interview Paper.

Further into the interview I asked Dr. Goepfert what is the biggest joy she gets out of teaching.  She teaches for a reason and teaching is not always the easiest profession; if she did not experience joy from teaching, she would not be a teacher. I sought after the main reason of why she teaches.  Furthermore, I asked Dr. Goepfert what was the hardest part of teaching for her.  Like I said early, teaching is not always the easiest profession, just like learning is not always easy. I asked for clarification on what she does when her students do not pass a course.  Somewhat intimidated about what happens to students should they not pass a nursing course, I wanted a further explanation.I also asked her if there was an experience that struck her and changed her career.  Everyone has life changing experiences, and I wondered if she had one for her job.  Finally, I asked what her free time was like.  I knew that she had a family, and I was curious if she was able to make her own hours and how much flexibility she had. Nursing Interview Paper.

Answer Synthesis

Dr. Kerry Goepfert is the Dean of the Undergraduate Program at Marquette University.  She chuckled as she explained to me that she works in a multifaceted job, and she oversees the administration and academics of the nursing program.  She evaluates the curriculum as a whole and makes sure that each class meets the guidelines for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Baccalaureate Essentials, which every college nursing program must meet (1).  There are nine standards that Dr. Goepfert uses to define the base for the nursing program at Marquette.  According to Dr. Goepfert (2010) the last standard is the most important: dealing with being a nurse, providing ethical care, and understanding care delivery.  It is her job to make sure that by the time seniors graduate they meet the ninth standard (1).   As I recounted that we are already studying ethics in Nursing 1001, she told me that everyone in the nursing program starts right away learning the nine standards and that each nursing course builds upon each other.

After telling me about her career, she willing revealed after being asked why she chose to teach here at Marquette University that she knew since she was a student in nursing school she wanted to teach.  However, she further explained that she wanted to teach using theory and mixing it with clinical experience (1).  She confessed that she had some high quality professors while in school who knew the field in addition to theory, making it easier for her to learn and relate what she was learning to what she would be practicing in the future (1).  She also confessed at the same time that she had some professors who had been out of practice so long they no longer knew the field (1).  Dr. Goepfert (2010) unabashedly announced that in her own beliefs she could not teach without practicing clinically stating, “To be teaching, to understand nursing you also had to understand the system within which nursing was delivered.”  Dr. Goepfert (2) then led me along the numerous paths she took to become a teacher, and it was not until the end did she advance into the topic of why she chose to teach at Marquette.  During nursing school, Dr. Goepfert practiced on a Cardiovascular floor and also worked on a medical/surgical Intensive Care Unit floor, willing stating that she wanted the widest exposure possible to prepare herself for teaching (1).  She was able to get a feel for many different hospital environments and build experiences such as crisis management, skills, team management, social work and others (1). Nursing Interview Paper.

Furthermore, after graduating she went straight onto graduate school.  Unconventionally defying the odds, she became one of the youngest in the graduate program declaring herself as an adult educator for nursing, a cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist, and a health care service administrator (1).  At that time there was an unwritten rule that you needed to be in practice five to seven years before entering graduate school, which Dr. Goepfert found preposterous seeing that other professions sent their students straight to graduate school (1).  Receiving her baccalaureate degree in 79′ and her masters in 82′, Dr. Goepfert promptly took to academia, accepting a post and teaching for eight years at the University Wisconsin Milwaukee, where she was once a nursing student(1).  Still following her beliefs that a teacher should be well rounded in clinical experience and theory, Dr. Goepfert moonlit as a staff nurse and Intensive Care Unit nurse, so she could continue to feel and understand the practical side of nursing (1).  When I asked the Dean to clarify why she chose to specialize in the cardiovascular system, she chuckled as she explained that though she had never practiced officially outside of school, a cardiovascular nurse was the nurse to be.  At that time open-heart surgery was new, and it had peaked her interest (1).  She also explained that if the heart does not work, then no other system does either, so she needed to understand all systems of the body (1).  Certainly knowing all systems of the body gave her a good foundation for teaching.

However, after working eight years in academia, Dr. Goepfert (2010) decided that it was time to leave the school and learn the social side to nursing before she reentered academia.  Dr. Goepfert then opened her own consulting firm (1).  She helped hospitals, both in Wisconsin and in Illinois, develop integrated delivery networks for their systems; her job was tohelp keep nursing professional while increasing nursing autonomy and to study the outcome(1).  During her time consulting, the academia world was changing, and Dr. Goepfert (2010) knew that if she wanted to continue teaching, she would need her doctorate.  When asked later if she still owned her consulting firm, Dr. Goepfert chuckled and replied that she had dissolved her company, but she still consulted a bit through her job as Dean (1).

On the other hand, after dissolving her company, Dr. Goepfert did not go back to academia immediately.  She had just become a mother, and she was, and still is, very committed to her family (1).  She stayed at home with her daughter for a while, and only when her daughter was older did Dr. Goepfert start to look for a part-time teaching job(1).  Not long after she started looking, Dr. Goepfert was hired by Marquette University to teach a health care systems course at the graduate level (1).  She finally was able to answer my question, why Marquette? Dr. Goepfert (2010) recalled that she was attracted because of the difference, laughing since “be the difference” is one of Marquette’s catch phrases.  When Dr. Goepfert first started teaching, she was looking at the buildings on campus and people stopped to ask if she needed help or smiled when she made eye contact with them (1).  Dr. Goepfert (2010) willing announced, “It was a very different feeling, warm and caring.”  Dr. Goepfert (2010) also stated that she like the Jesuit ideals since she has always been a person of spirituality.  Everything about the school drew her to Marquette.  After her daughter was older she told the Dean at the time if there were any positions available, she would love to come on to the faculty as full-time (1).  Two weeks later she was working at Marquette full-time (1).  Though Dr. Goepfert did not exactly have a linear line to teaching at Marquette like she thought she would, the world changed and she stuck to her beliefs, all the while teaching her students to do the same (1). Nursing Interview Paper.

Teaching is not always easy, just like learning is not.  Dr. Goepfert (2010) unashamed announced that the students “ah-ha” moments are what gives her the greatest joy in teaching.  She loves seeing her students light up when they finally understand what they are learning and “get it”(1).  It is not an easy professions so when her students understand, she feels accomplished knowing she had a part in it.  For her, those moments do not always come with the most complex situations; it can be as simple as her students recognizing and learning (1).  Although seeing her students light up when they understand, the hardest part of teaching for her is when her students do not “get it”(1).   According to Dr. Goepfert (2010), she still has to hold her students accountable to the standards, structure, and process of the nursing program.   The teachers need to give more than 50% and the students need to come more than 50% to learn (1).  The worst part for her is when someone is not doing well, and she has done everything she can (1).  Telling them they do not pass when they think they should while trying to help them understand that it is for patient safety is the hardest part (1).  Although, Dr. Goepfert quickly followed up that students are allowed two substitute classes; if they fail those then they are put on learning plans to help them be successful (1).  Dr. Goepfert tries hard to make learning as easy as possible for her students. Nursing Interview Paper.

In addition to knowing Dr. Goepfert’s career and her career path, I wanted to know what shaped her career.  When I asked her if she had a career changing experiences, she thought about it and simply replied that she did not have a career changing experience, but instead the two that came to her mind were career enforcers (1).  The first, she was still in school and she had just switched from a clinical that was high tech/skills to the hematology/oncology floor that was more relationship building (1).  Her first day, her patient was a young man, about 18, and he was just diagnosed with aggressive cancer (1).  Dr. Goepfert (2010) had gone into talk to him, and he boldly proclaimed that he did not believe in anything after or any supreme being.  Dr. Goepfert (2010) confides that his belief left her shocked, and she did not know how to help him.  The Dean (2010) admits that she was relieved when she rotated and no longer had the young man.  It came as quite the shock when he asked for her one day, and she knew that he was dying (1).  Being a young student she had never witnessed death before, and she did not know how to deal with the situation at hand (1).  When she got to his room, he told her that there is a God and an amazing life that is very pleasant and filled with warmth after death (1).  Shocked she asked how he knew this, and he responded that he had already crossed over and seen it (1).  He also told her that he was going to die that day but that he had to let her know what he knew(1).  Dr. Goepfert (2010) remembers the information, “It was a gift.”  She then told me that as a nurse people entrust you with secrets but instead of you giving them anything, they give you so much more, stating, “Nursing is such a special profession to be in” (1).

Furthermore, Dr. Goepfert(2010) continued to tell me about another experience that enforced her career choice.  She called him her “little Nikki” (1).  Newborn Nicholas was a failure to thrive baby, and he was so tiny, he could fit on a washcloth (1).  For some reason Nicholas chose to have a special bond with the young Dr. Goepfert and would only stop crying for her (1).  According to Dr. Goepfert (2010), his gift to her was contentness.  It was through both examples above that Dr. Goepfert realized that teaching should be done through stories, that one can learn so much through a story (1).  Though, she chuckled as she said that nursing students still have to remember the basic things.  Everyone gives gifts; you just have to take the time to listen (1).

Dr. Goepfert also laughed when I asked about her free time.  She replied with a smile that as faculty her hours are a bit more flexible, but she is usually working even when she is not on campus (1).  Sometimes she works 20-hour days, but she is mostly free on the weekend (1).  Dr. Goepfert (2010) also vowed that she will not miss any activity her daughter participates in, that family always comes first.  She is glad that academia gives her that flexibility (1).

Compare and Contrast

Communication is key when working in nursing.  Without it we cannot relate to patients or help them get better.  Julia Riley, author of Communication in Nursing, writes that communication is the bottom layer of nursing.  Communication is the instrument of providing care and caring (Riley, 2008).  Dr. Goepfert shows excellent communication in her work everyday and in her past.  The young man that requested her by his bedside needed her because she originally planted the seed of a higher being in his mind just by talking to him.  She sat with him, talked with him, and cared for him even though it was not what she wanted to be doing at the moment.  Not only did Dr. Goepfert use excellent communication with her young patient, she was an assertive nurse.  She provided a nonjudgmental atmosphere but at the same time helped her patient by asking him about his belief system and what would happen to him afterhe died since he did not believe(Riley, 2008).  She was nonjudgmental but still asked him to dig deep inside himself to find the real truth for him.  She still uses those skills today as Dean.  She listens to herstudents and learns about them, all while challenging them to push themselves harder to learn and acquire information.

For a while nursing schools have been gearing learning approaches to creative thinking and giving autonomy to their nursing students (Darbyshire &Fleming, 2008).  Dr. Goepfert knew that she wanted to be a teacher that gives her students autonomy from the very beginning.  She gives them time to think for themselves instead of pressing them for answers right away, letting them have those “ah-ha” moments she enjoys.  Through telling of her clinical experience, she allows her students to think creatively by letting them figure out what she is teaching them while encouraging them each to provide their own views about the story.  By allowing them to form their own views, Dr. Goepfert provides mentorship to the students but not too much.  Some articles say that mentorship is the only key to helping students learn (Goran, 2001).  Saying that showing students constantly what to do in a clinical field is the best way to receive the best nurses (Goran, 2001).  However, Dr. Goepfert allows her students to learn and think on their own first.  She provides support and helps when needed instead of quickly throwing in her own ideas; she again lets her students have their “ah-ha” moments.  One school is trying practice-based learning while combining theories and methods during the teaching (Jones, Mayer &Mandelkehr, 2009).  Though this practice may be new to some schools, Dr. Goepfert has held this belief her entire life.  I do not know if she brought this belief to Marquette or if it was already here, but Dr. Goepfert has certainly reinforced it at Marquette. Nursing Interview Paper.

I used various communication techniques throughout the interview with Dr. Goepfert.  During the interview I made sure that I made eye contact with her to let her know that I was paying attention.  Though, I admit that I probably made too much eye contact at some points and looked really creepy.  Next time I will make sure not to engage in too much eye contact.   I also reinforced what she was saying by nodding my head and sometimes saying “mhhmmm” or “that’s really interesting”.  This allowed her to know that I was interested in what she was saying, and that I wanted her to continue talking about a certain subject.  Overall, I think the interview went really well.  I forgot to repeat the introduction on tape, so next time I will make sure that I get the introduction on tape.

During this whole experience I realized that I have a very hectic, yet special job ahead of me.  Nurses are busy and do not always have time even for themselves.  Though I struggled to find a nurse to interview in the beginning, I ended up finding something better.  Dr. Goepfert provided a powerful testimony to nursing and has inspired me to be as devoted to my future job and my family like she is.  Dr. Goepfert made me see that she has set aside a very challenging curriculum for the nursing program, but also ensured me that nursing students are not alone in their journey.  With the combined effort of the faculty and students, the nursing graduates are well rounded and strong in their beliefs as nurses.  As Dr. Goepfert said, “Nursing is such a special profession to be in” and I am very grateful to be studying to become a part of this awesome profession. Nursing Interview Paper.

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