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MSU nursing instructor practices what she preaches

When most university students graduate, they toss their mortarboards, ditch the textbooks and solidly look ahead to a career without notes, term papers, late night studying or tests. Jaci Jarmin was the exception; she always knew some day she'd be back.

Jarmin graduated from MSU in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in nursing. The Stanley native returned home and worked at the Mountrail County Medical Center for seven years. Typical to rural health care, she was a staff nurse in long-term care, cardiac rehabilitation and the emergency room. Although she loved her job, what she enjoyed most was new staff orientation and education. She decided to pursue her master's degree in nursing education.

"When I was a senior nursing student here at Minot State, one of our last assignments was to plan our five year goals," she said. "One of my goals was to complete my master's degree in nursing."

She graduated with her MSN in 2009 and started her second nursing career as an adjunct professor at MSU. She joined the nursing department full time the following year.

"The educational environment really fits who I am," she said. "I think it's rewarding and humbling to be able to mentor our future nurses into this dynamic nursing profession."

Jarmin teaches the semester 1 nursing students and finds them excited and eager to learn. Although the nursing program is challenging, she wants the learning experience to be valuable and fun, so she focuses on student-centered learning.

"I spend time visiting with students and getting to know who they are, finding out what's important to them - learning about family, jobs, extracurricular activities - and to support and help them find the balance needed between school and family commitments," Jarmin said. "The nursing program is intense, and I work to be present to facilitate learning and address individual student needs."

Since her days as a student, Jarmin recognizes that today's nurses have much more responsibility and many more expectations to meet in the complex healthcare environment. However, she said the opportunities available to new graduates are endless, and that MSU graduates are prepared for leadership roles in many venues, due to their wide range of clinical experiences.

That same excitement, opportunity and intellectual stimulation motivated Jarmin to return to higher education learning herself as she works to complete her Doctor of Philosophy in nursing.

"It will help me grow as an educator; to be better able to teach and understand the research process and incorporate that into the classroom and clinical settings," she said. "In nursing, learning is never done."