Welcome to Baker College's Spotlight feature, a series of brief interviews with notable BC students, faculty and alumni who are making news and reaching new heights in their educational and professional pursuits.
This edition of Spotlight features Barbara Kelsey and Leann Harp, students from the School of Nursing who created a domestic violence training presentation for the Community Resolution Center in Flint, MI. Here we learn about Barbara and Leann's inspiration and motivations for helping others in the community.
Baker College (BC): Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us! Let’s start off by talking about what degrees you’re earning from Baker College and when you’re expecting to graduate?
Barbara Kelsey (BK): I am in the BSN-RN program and expecting to graduate in December 2021. I began my program in Flint until fall of 2020 when the Flint campus moved to Owosso. I am now part of Owosso-Flint. I am in the last graduating class of Flint Baker.
Leann Harp (LH): I’ll also complete and earn my BSN in Dec. 2021. My home campus is Flint, however, once that moved I became part of Flint- Owosso. I am a student of the last graduating class from Flint Baker College.
BC: Why did you choose Baker College for your educational pursuits?
BK: Baker was so helpful in getting me registered and helping with any needs I had to achieve my goals. The instructors in the nursing program genuinely want the best for their students and are always there when we need them. It has been a great experience.
LH: I have always been a hands-on learner and Baker College provided the tools I needed to succeed. Not to mention Baker College has one of the best nursing programs. Their students are held to high standards as well as every hospital where we had clinicals, making it known that Baker students are very sought after.
BC: That’s very true, our nursing graduates are second to none! So, what first inspired you to pursue a career in nursing?
BK: I have wanted to be a nurse since childhood. After high school, I got married and started a family. Life was busy and my dream was put on hold. I raised my children with a “do not have a would’ve, could’ve, should’ve” attitude. Look back on your life and always be glad for the choices you make. Becoming a nurse was mine and at the age of 52 I will have obtained my dream. You are never too old to learn and make your dreams come true.
LH: I’ve been in the medical field since I was 18. It has always been a passion of mine to help people in every way that I could. I was an aide for over a decade before I decided I wanted to become a nurse.
BC: Two very different journeys and yet you’re both following your passion for nursing. What do you like best about the nursing program at BC?
BK: The instructors are 100% there for their students. Appointments are encouraged and so is their desire to make sure we succeed.
LH: Again, I love that Baker College is a hands-on learning facility. I really owe it all to the instructors who pushed me and the clinical instructors who made clinicals a constant learning opportunity; always working to make lectures and clinical go hand-in-hand.
BC: You recently co-created a domestic violence training presentation for the Community Resolution Center in Flint. Can you tell us more about the presentation and how this training opportunity came to pass?
BK: Due to the pandemic, community clinical hours were hard to find. I called the Community Resolution Center and spoke with the director about possible volunteer hours. She explained a program they wanted to implement in the fall of this year. Ms. Harper asked Leann and me to create a PowerPoint that would be used in training mediators for domestic violence cases. Upon getting approval from the director, we were able to create the training presentation.
LH: Barb did all the leg work on finding this clinical opportunity. After we obtained the approval, Barb and I were able to create the presentation and it will be used to help train mediators in cases of domestic violence. It has been published and is officially being used as of May 15, 2021.
BC: How will the Community Resolution Center use this training into the future?
BK: We were able to create this training presentation that helps new mediators know the signs of domestic violence and be able to obtain resources for domestic violence victims. It also aids survivors in getting justice through the courts for their abuse. The program is staffed by volunteers who may not have expertise in this area, and this training will provide them with the information to help survivors of abuse. The program will be used in 9 counties across the state of Michigan.
LH: Exactly. We created the PowerPoint to educate the mediators on signs of domestic violence, how to handle these situations both therapeutically and professionally, and to provide different resources that could help them and their clients when moving forward.
BC: That’s an excellent contribution to the community. There are so many areas where nurses can be of support to public health, what are your career goals?
BK: I would love to work in endoscopy or pre/post-surgery. Later, I would love to become a travel nurse and help with natural disaster areas.
LH: I am unsure of where I want to start my career, but I do know that I have enjoyed every experience I have been exposed to.
BC: How do you feel your time at Baker College will contribute to your professional successes?
BK: Baker gave me the knowledge in increments so that I could comprehend all that we learn. In the final Med-Surg class, it all comes together and makes sense. I love how they encouraged me to participate with patients in my clinical rotations while other colleges make their students wait until last semester. This has not only helped me gain knowledge but allowed me to be confident in applying what I have learned.
LH: Baker holds its students to a high standard. For me personally, I think they’ve contributed to my success by setting the benchmark high and ensuring that their students live up to that benchmark..
BC: What best piece of advice would you share with current or incoming nursing students?
BK: Read your text and study. Learn the most while you can because it goes by fast. If you need help, ask your instructor or director. Everyone wants you to obtain your degree and are there if you need them. This last semester in the coming fall will be bittersweet. I will be glad that I am finished but will miss my nursing cohort.
LH: Nursing is not by any means an easy program, you will struggle with some things, while others just come naturally. Mrs. Powals and Mrs. Gilbert told the Flint students on orientation day “Remember your reason for wanting to become a nurse”. Those words have gotten me through every semester! When you think you can’t do any more, when you feel like you have nothing left to give, and when you feel like maybe this is all just too much- remember your reason!! This program is intense, but in the end it is worth all the blood, sweat and tears (and there will be lots of the last two- HAHA).
BC: What would you want others to know about Baker College?
BK: Baker wants all the best for you. They have resources like the Community Resolution Center that will help with tutoring, paper writing, and advice. These services are free, and you should take advantage of any areas that you need help with.
LH: Baker’s slogans of “You’ll do better with Baker”, and “Baker Proud” really do have truth behind them. It might not always feel like it, but when you’re one semester away from graduating and realize how far you’ve come, you’ll realize you didn’t get this far by yourself.
BC: Thank you so much for sharing your journeys with us today! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
BK: I want to thank my program director, Dr. Janessari, and clinical instructor, Mrs. Gonzales, for approving us to create this presentation. It has been an honor and a wonderful experience that I will always be proud of.
LH: Always push yourself. Think outside the box and never be afraid to hear the word “NO”. If it were not for Mrs. Gonzales and Dr. Jannesari, Barb and I never would have had this opportunity, so to both of you, I say, ‘Thank You’!
Learn more about Baker College’s nursing program options on our School of Nursing program page.