Mayo Clinic Selects ESU Nursing Student for Training

March 4, 2016

For the third consecutive year, the Mayo Clinic has chosen an Emporia State University Department of Nursing student to participate in its Summer Nursing Externship program.

Zach Mandell, a junior, will spend 10 weeks this summer living and working at Mayo’s Methodist Campus in Rochester, Minnesota. He will be mentored by registered nursing clinical coaches and will participate in direct patient care as part of the nursing team in the Critical Care/ICU department at Mayo.

“We have such a high caliber quality of students here at Emporia State and exemplary faculty,” said Linda Adams-Wendling, Ph.D., chair and professor in the Department of Nursing. “This really is wonderful. I am proud of our entire nursing program.”

Mandell already has completed clinicals at Newman Regional Health, and rotations at Presbyterian Manor, Wesley Medical Center intensive care unit in Wichita and the Topeka Veterans Administration psychiatric unit in Topeka.

“It’s definitely humbling,” Mandell said of the Mayo appointment. Competition was keen, with more than 1,000 junior nursing students across the country competing for only 53 openings.

“I was trying to keep realistic, but you know, when I got it, I was just overwhelmed they chose me,” Mandell said. “How I explained it to my family and friends was, ‘Hey, I just got drafted into the NFL of Health Care.’ Mom started crying.”

Mandell’s appointment, a paid externship, follows that of Emporia State nursing students Matt Nelson in 2013 and Joe Jager in 2014.

Nelson since has graduated and is working in the emergency unit at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.

A job is waiting for Jager after graduation, if he chooses to accept, as Adams-Wendling learned at a recent continuing education conference in Wichita.

“They said, ‘We want to hire your students that come through your program immediately. We want to hire Joe (Jager),’” Adams-Wendling said. “That is probably the most validating piece that could have happened.”

Emporia State recently was recognized by College Atlas as having top-ranked nursing school in Kansas and the No. 14 nursing school in the nation.

The school has an exceptional licensing “pass” rate of almost 92 percent and ranks high in affordability and accessibility, she said.

The top ranking was one reason Mandell chose to move from Lawrence, his hometown, to Emporia for his nursing education.

“And it’s a three-year program, where a lot of them are two year,” Mandell said. He also likes the affordability and the size of Emporia State.

Emporia State has been approved by the Kansas Board of Nursing to increase the maximum number of students from 44 to 50 for the next incoming class.

The nursing school also has partnered with Newman Regional Health and Flint Hills Technical College to create a hospital simulation laboratory with eight life-like “patients” from infant through adult sizes.

The simulators breathe, blink and have heartbeats and other functions like humans, she said, which allows participants to experience health-care scenarios in a safe, realistic environment while increasing competencies in all aspects of care.

“What is the outcome goal? Great patient care,” Adams-Wendling said.

Officials at Mayo Clinic seem to agree that Emporia State’s junior nursing students are well-prepared to perform at a high level.

“They’re what we would look at as the gold standard of medical care,” Adams-

Wendling said of Mayo. “... (O)ur male nursing students have really established a presence at Mayo Clinic. That speaks a lot about the capabilities of our students.”

Emporia State students also routinely participate in internships locally and at larger hospitals throughout the region, which provides additional experience crucial to building their skills and empathy dealing with patients. Mandell said that is a crucial piece of nursing.

“Part of my job as a nurse is not only to treat the physical signs but also make sure the patient wants to get better, has hope to get better,” Mandell said. “That patient-nurse relationship is very important to me.”

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