Amanda (Mandi) Clark has worked her proverbial tail off preparing to become an advanced practice nurse—and she’s got the receipts to prove it from a Griffith coffee shop where she has spent countless hours studying.
Come Saturday afternoon (12/12), she also will have a Purdue University degree and a Chancellor’s Medallion around her neck, symbolic of being the top-ranked graduating senior academically in Purdue University Calumet’s nationally recognized College of Nursing.
For the 23-year-old Griffith resident, who will join nearly 500 other Purdue Calumet fall graduation candidates during two Commencement Exercises on campus, her hard work and commitment to excellence are really a no-brainer, so to speak. As she put it: “You want to be a nurse who knows what you’re doing, not just one who got by.”
‘Wants to understand everything…’
Purdue Calumet Associate Professor of Nursing Beth Vottero calls Clark—Mandi, as her friends know her–“an amazing student. She has a very strong sense of accountability towards her learning and studies. She is not content to just learn the material; she also wants to understand everything on a deeper level—why something was the way it was, or how a process worked.”
As Clark sees it, it’s all part of the process of preparing to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). It’s a position that requires her to gain at least two years of experience as an ICU nurse after passing her Registered Nurse board exams, then on to Chicago’s Rush University to complete a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with a concentration in nurse anesthesia.
“It’s very intense,” she said about her prospective career field, “but I really like surgery in a fast-paced environment.”
Her background suggests she has prepared herself well.
In addition to her rigorous nursing course work, she has been enrolled in Purdue Calumet’s demanding Honors College. “Other students told me I was crazy to be in Honors AND nursing, that it was too much, but I’ve loved it. The Honors College is like a big family; everybody’s accepting of everyone. And everybody knows the reputation of Purdue Calumet’s nursing program.”
That her mother is an alumna of Purdue Calumet’s nurse practitioner master’s degree program provided Mandi an insider’s perspective of Purdue Calumet nursing, which has included a significant research component that emphasizes evidence based practice.
Mandi’s research areas have focused on fetal heart deceleration and post-partum hemorrhaging, for which she developed learning simulations available for use in the campus’ Nursing Simulation Lab. She also has studied an autoimmune vasculitis called Polyarteritis nodosa.
Also busy outside classes, lab
Away from classes, labs, research and her favorite Griffith coffee shop, she has served as president of the campus student Nursing Club and is a member of the national Student Nurses Association and Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honors Society. She also has been an Honors College mentor and has developed a passion for horseback riding as a member of the campus Boots and Bridles Club.
“I had never been on a horse before I joined the club,” she said. “It’s been a stress release for me.”
She also has parlayed her newly nurtured equine interest into a part-time job—one of three she juggles—that promotes patient therapy through equine assisted learning.
“I like staying busy,” she said, “but you have to learn how to plan your days, including taking time for yourself.”
Desired smaller campus learning environment
Enrolled after high school for one semester at a large research university, Clark said she transferred to Purdue Calumet because she wanted a smaller, more family-like campus learning environment.
“Purdue Calumet has been great for me,” she said. “I’ve gotten close to my professors, all of whom care about and are willing to help you. The Honors College and College of Nursing also helped me strengthen my leadership skills by kind of throwing me into leadership opportunities.”