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Nursing Is My Life

Jordan Kilpela, Class of 2007

from the spring 2010 issue of the Bridge

J. Kivela ArticleDid you receive both your ADN and BSN from Finlandia?

I did, and in fact I have three degrees from Finlandia. I graduated summa cum laude in 2000 with an associate degree in education, and gave the Valedictorian speech. I won the Sampo and Sisu Awards in 2000, and was named toWho'sWho Among College Students in 2000, 2004, 2005, and 2007. In 2004, I graduated cum laude with an associate degree in nursing, and in 2007 completed my BSN, also cum laude.

Did you participate in the RN-to-BSN degree completion program?

I did complete the RN-to-BSN program. It was extremely convenient to do a hybrid/online program. Even better, because I did my ADN program at Finlandia, all of my credits transferred. I highly recommend it to all previous Finlandia ADN graduates.

Why did you decide to complete a BSN? Why did you choose Finlandia?

I decided after I graduated with my ADN that I was going to take my nursing education to the highest level possible, which meant I first had to obtain my BSN. I would like to see nursing get the credit it deserves as a scholarly profession, and that will happen as more people obtain higher degrees. I can't imagine my life without nursing in it, and this is one way for me to express my appreciation for all of the opportunities nursing has given me.

The theme of this Bridge issue is "Uncommon Attention." Describe some of your experiences.

The first person who comes to mind is Rose Hooper, who went above and beyond in getting me into the exchange program at the Porvoo Institute in Finland in 1998-99. Second, Finlandia's RN-to-BSN program was new to both me and Fredi (deYampert), but Fredi was with me every step of the way to ensure that I was progressing as one should. I make it a point to stay in contact with Fredi, as she taught me how to be successful in learning, even at the graduate level.

Tell me about what you are doing now.

Right now, I'm working full-time as a staff nurse in an ICU at a hospital in the northern Bay Area of San Francisco. It's a great place to work, and the experience with telemedicine has been incredible. Nursing has an extremely progressive, unified, and organized front here in California, which is very exciting to be a part of. I'm also going to school full-time to finish my master's in nursing informatics atWalden University. In January 2010, I accepted an adjunct clinical instructor position in the ADN program at Santa Rosa Junior College, which is two nights a week. I'm also helping out in their new simulation lab, which has been a blast! I am loving all of the technology that is being introduced into nursing programs. Nursing is an extremely technical profession, and students entering the profession today must be prepared for the high-paced technological environment.

When did you arrive in California? Will you stay there awhile?

I originally came to California on a travel nursing assignment in 2008. Once I saw the great opportunities for nurses, I decided to stay for awhile. I relocated to Santa Rosa in October 2009. I don't plan on leaving anytime soon!

What nursing specialties do you pursue?

Right now, I'm working in the ICU, but I've also worked in the ER, done some endoscopy, and gained supervisory experience. Through my employer, I am studying for the Certified Critical Care Nurse (CCRN) exam. My real passion in nursing is the field of Informatics and Health Technology. I want to be involved in making sure all hospitals are utilizing electronic medical records (EMR). I believe that increased utilization of efficient healthcare technology can improve the access, cost, and quality of healthcare.

What has been your favorite nursing assignment so far?

One of my favorite nursing assignments was working in Dillingham, Alaska, which is in the southwest corner of the state. The only way to get there was by plane. I was working at an Indian Health Service (IHS) facility that served as a regional medical center for 50 villages. I worked mostly with the Yu'pik population, who were absolutely amazing. I loved learning about their language and culture. It was interesting to see the different trends in healthcare there, too, in light of the trends I'd observed in the lower 48 states.

What are the challenges and rewards of your busy lifestyle?

Time management is the huge challenge for me. However, nursing is my life right now. The fact that I am involved in a variety of activities (instructor, student, staff nurse) gives me a great sense of pride in my profession and motivates me to push through the busy times.

What are your career goals?

Once I finish my master's in January 2011, I plan to work on the development of comprehensive electronic medical records. With the new provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, health information technology is soon going to need a lot of attention. I'm also in the process of looking into Ph.D. programs.

What do you like to do when you're not working or studying?

I try to stay fit, so I do a lot of outdoor activities here in California (jogging, hiking, etc.). It's very motivating when the weather is always nice. Also, I've been dabbling in learning Spanish. It's coming along slowly, but I'm learning the basics. Oh, and I love to cook whenever I can. I can really throw it down in the kitchen!!

What is your home town?

I grew up in Mohawk. My mother is the late Judith (Wilks) Kivela, and my father is the late Jack Kivela. I graduated from Calumet High School in 1994.

Do you have Finnish roots?

My great grandparents on my father's side came from northern Finland, and my great grandparents on my mom's maternal side also had roots in Finland. I have distant cousins in Finland that I stayed with while I was there, and I still keep in touch with them.

Do you miss the U.P.?

I definitely miss my friends and family the most. And I absolutely love the summers in the U.P., there is no other place I'd rather be during the summer. I definitely enjoy a good sauna, swimming in Lake Superior, and a bonfire on the beach with friends and family. That's hard to find anywhere else!

Did others in your family attend Finlandia?

Yes, my twin sister, Jennifer, graduated in 2006 with a B.A. in Rural Human Services. She also participated in the Servant Leadership program, traveling to Tanzania in May 2006.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I would like to thank all of my former instructors and professors at Finlandia. Their wisdom, experience, undivided attention, and guidance have truly inspired me to be a successful person in my prof

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