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Kansas Wesleyan University

Jonna Struble says she is a “nurse by nature.” But perhaps an equally important passion for her is education.

Her new job as director of Organizational Development at Salina Regional Health Center lets her combine those two passions.

The Organizational Development department is where new hires come for their orientation, but she also will oversee annual continuing education for the entire system.

“If new equipment comes in, we help facilitate that education on how to use that equipment,” Struble said. “As I am learning, the department is a resource for everyone.”

She and her team makes sure everyone is up to date in training and licensing, including trauma care and advanced life support, which she teaches to nurses.

“I love to teach,” she said. “There’s just nothing more gratifying than seeing the lights go on and the students get excited. People who know me would probably say I am very passionate about patient care. For me, everything comes back to patient care.”

Struble took on her new duties Dec. 27. Before that she was the ICU nurse manager for seven years, which led to her leadership role, she said.

She’s been a nurse at SRHC for 25 years, since graduating with an associate degree in Nursing from Kansas Wesleyan University in 1997.

Although Struble no longer gives direct patient care, she says she’s just as involved.

“It’s a turning point, but there’s so many different ways in nursing and health care that you can affect patient care,” she said.

Life-long learning has been a major part of Struble’s life.

“I think it’s very important for nurses, because health care changes continuously,” she said. “For us to stay up to date on evidence-based practice, I feel very strongly about putting the time and effort into developing our nurses and other staff members.”

This conviction goes back to Struble’s student days at Kansas Wesleyan, where she set the pattern. Her time at KWU led not only to professional growth but personal growth, too, she said.

“For me, Kansas Wesleyan changed my whole life course,” she said. “I had three kids, and nursing was always a dream of mine, from young on. I was always that person who wanted to take care of others. It’s a cliché, but nursing for me was a calling.”

As busy as she was as a nontraditional student and mother, Struble found time to join the student nurses’ association to enhance her skills. She is grateful for the support she received from her instructors at the time.

“Life-long learning is always important to me,” Struble said. “Whether it’s formal or informal, I think it’s very important for people to continue.”

Even before going back to school to earn her bachelor’s and Master of Science degree in Nursing Leadership, she was involved in nursing organizations and attending conferences, and studying on her own.

“I never stopped learning,” she said.

She expects to work more closely with KWU faculty now in her new role. SHRC was a major contributor to the new Nursing Education Center, which opened in January 2021. Many KWU nursing graduates often find employment at SRHC, where Struble will help orient and mentor them.

Story by Jean Kozubowski. Photo provided by Salina Regional Health Center.