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Kansas Wesleyan University

From the age of 6, Sydni Koppes felt drawn to become a nurse.

“My brother passed away when I was 6. He was in the NICU his entire life,” she said of her newborn brother. “I was really inspired by those nurses and have always loved taking care of people.”

After two years at a community college, Koppes said Kansas Wesleyan was the right fit for her nursing studies.

“[The professors] truly care about you, they want you here, they want you to pass your exams and boards,” she said. “You get such a good education because the professors honestly care.”

With small classes, she said the one-on-one education is valuable.

“I like the familiarity of the professors and classmates,” Koppes said. “They make you feel right at home. Everybody feels like a big family. You can go to anybody and ask any question, and someone will be able to help you.”

The Nursing Education Center, which opened in January, is also an asset. With several simulation suites, students gain real-world experience.

“The technology that we have now is so close to the technology that we use at the hospital. It gives us more space and feels more like a hospital,” she said. “It gives us opportunities to practice skills. Before the new building, we had to split our classes up, but now we’re able to be all in the same room, learning skills together.”

Koppes is in her second semester of clinical experience. She is currently working in mother/baby, medical surgical and community health in Salina.

“It’s easier to understand content when we go to clinical because we’re using what we learn in class,” she said. “Clinicals are crucial in your nursing journey. It’s easier to retain skills and diagnoses. Clinicals help pull all of the information together.”

Scheduled for graduation in May, Koppes said her current goal is to work in trauma or critical care.

Story by Karen Bonar