BGSU graduates inaugural group of students from new School of Nursing

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Committed to supporting workforce needs, Bowling Green State University recently graduated its inaugural group of students from the new School of Nursing.

Nursing graduate Anna Winger is motivated to be a positive force for change within the profession, drawing on the passion of her professors and the nurses mentoring her in clinical rotations.

“The nursing program at BGSU fostered my passion for nursing,” she said. “I see my professors’ enthusiasm and deep love for nursing, and I want to carry that into my career. I want to help people rediscover their love of nursing despite all the challenges.”

Winger, a Tiffin, Ohio, native, is among the first cohort of nursing students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree from the BGSU School of Nursing, representing a profound achievement in the University’s commitment to addressing the nation’s rapidly growing demand for nurses. 

A growing program

BGSU provided pre-nursing education for more than 50 years as part of a unique consortium with a nearby partner university and established the School of Nursing in the College of Health and Human Services in 2020 as a direct response to nursing shortages in Ohio and across the country.

The program, housed in Central Hall, has since doubled in size, with 80 students accepted last fall. Beginning in January 2024, another 40 students will be accepted into the program and continuing every spring semester for a total of 120 students each academic year.

As a student in the first cohort, Winger said she appreciated faculty members' eagerness to solicit feedback throughout the program. Faculty members sent out surveys after each semester to gauge what worked well and evaluate what could be improved.

“We are all going through this new program for the first time together, and I liked that our opinions are valued,” she said.

The care and support of faculty were unmatched, Winger said, explaining that it was not uncommon to receive responses from faculty late at night or on weekends.

“They genuinely care about us and our success," she said. "There’s just so much support."

Dr. Annette Oberhaus, associate professor and skills lab coordinator in the School of Nursing, said student support is a core tenet of the program.

“A student’s first nursing program is always the hardest,” she said. “They need encouragement along the way, and I feel that’s our role as faculty members. We don’t want to provide false reassurance, but we must acknowledge and empathize that what they’re going through is difficult. I firmly believe that you have to model the behavior you want to see in others.”

Beyond BGSU

Upon passing her nursing licensure exam this summer, Winger will begin a yearlong nursing residency program in the neonatal intensive care unit at ProMedica Toledo Hospital. The program pairs Winger with a preceptor, allowing her to ease into the specialty with guided supervision.

“With something as specialized as the NICU, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to continue learning from and observing nurses with more experience,” she said. “While we are taught clinical judgment in school, evidence-based practice shows that recent nursing graduates often lack a firm grasp of it early in their careers. The nursing residency will help me build on the skills I learned at BGSU to ensure I provide my patients with the best care possible.”

Oberhaus said Winger is a leader inside and outside the classroom and expects she’ll quickly be recognized for that by her peers.

“Anna displays professional behavior in all she does and is an ultimate team player, consistently doing whatever it takes to get the job done well,” she said. “She will be a fervent advocate for her patients. It’s easy to see Anna's love for nursing, and I’m confident that will shine through in the care she’ll provide her patients.”

Updated: 05/09/2023 04:17PM