Olivia Riggs in front of Cleveland Clinic
After spending the summer interning at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, Olivia Riggs will return to BGSU in the fall to complete her final year in the School of Nursing.

BGSU nursing student makes strides toward dream career at the Cleveland Clinic

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Olivia Riggs is completing a 10-week externship in labor and delivery at the world-renowned hospital, gaining crucial experience and industry connections

By Laren Kowalczyk ‘07

Bowling Green State University nursing student Olivia Riggs aspires to build a career at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, learning and working alongside the best and brightest in healthcare.

Her experience in the BGSU School of Nursing, known for its knowledgeable professors and supportive environment, is helping set her on a pathway to achieving that goal and following in the footsteps of several BGSU alumni.

This summer, Riggs, who is from Cincinnati, is completing a 10-week nursing externship in labor and delivery at Cleveland Clinic Akron General. She credits the comprehensive education and hands-on training in the BGSU Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program with helping her land a dream opportunity.

Riggs applied for the position after Cleveland Clinic representatives came to BGSU to speak to nursing students about career opportunities, demonstrating the University’s commitment to positioning students for professional success by connecting them with employers.

“I am the biggest advocate of the BGSU nursing program,” she said. “I have learned and grown so much. I know I have more learning to do, but I have felt well-prepared for this experience at Cleveland Clinic. My preceptor has placed a lot of trust in me, and I’m using that to gain as much experience as possible.”

BGSU established a standalone School of Nursing in the College of Health and Human Services in 2020 as a direct response to workforce demands. The program has steadily grown since then, adding a second enrollment in the spring to accommodate high interest.

This year, 56 nursing students graduated at the Spring 2024 Commencement, helping to fill a crucial role in healthcare as the U.S. grapples with nursing shortages. Nearly 200 students are currently in the program, with more than 80 beginning their final year in Fall 2024. 

During Riggs’ first few weeks at the Cleveland Clinic, she assisted in a cesarean section birth, drew blood, changed a dressing on a pressure ulcer and inserted catheters. She observed a spinal fusion surgery and hip replacement and spent time in a cardiovascular intensive care unit.

In addition to sharpening her technical skills, Riggs said she’s gained experience in therapeutic communication and clinical judgment, which are emphasized throughout the University’s nursing program for their ability to improve patient care and outcomes.

“One of the biggest things the BGSU nursing program has taught me is that it’s OK to feel for the people you’re caring for,” said Riggs, who will return to BGSU in the fall for her final year of nursing school. “Showing empathy to our patients can help them feel less alone.” 

Another distinct feature of the University’s nursing program is the dedicated support from faculty members who are committed to helping students succeed.

“My professors are some of the most encouraging and supportive people I’ve ever known,” Riggs said, noting that she’s received emails from several professors this summer inquiring about her externship and adjusting to life in a new city. "I know their primary role is to educate us, but they go above and beyond.”

Dr. Annette Oberhaus, associate professor and skills lab coordinator in the School of Nursing, is among the faculty members who have kept in touch with Riggs during the summer. 

Oberhaus said the excitement in Riggs’ voice is palpable. It reminds her of Riggs’ first day in the skills lab when she eagerly raised her hand to volunteer, unaware of what she was volunteering to do.

“Throughout her journey in the program, Olivia has exuded what we call a ‘spirit of inquiry,’” Oberhaus said. “She has a constant desire to learn and a curiosity to know. She is so intrigued by the mechanics of nursing but also focuses on the caring side as well. Olivia will be a wonderful nurse, and it has been such a joy watching her passion flourish.”

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349

Updated: 06/18/2024 11:37AM