Leader in Nursing Born at Indiana University School of Nursing by Precious Little
Eric Kern’s mother broke her back in a tragic car accident his freshman year of college while he was studying law enforcement at another university. During her recovery, he spent most of his time alongside her, providing additional care and comfort. Kern recognized then that he belonged in nursing school and he chose Indiana University School of Nursing.
“I chose IUSON because of the challenge. IUSON’s reputation of being a very difficult but rewarding program would allow me to push myself and be part of something I have always heard great things about,” said Kern.
Kern is president of his nursing class, secretary and vice president of the Indiana Association of Nursing Students, and founder and president of the IU chapter of the National Student Nursing Association.
Student Nursing Association of IU hosts a variation of events such as professional nursing seminars, networking events and community partnerships events. Kerns mission for SNA of IU is to allow nursing student to better identify themselves within the different nursing professions and to allow them to get involved with their community.
“As nurses, we are advocates for our patients, but this process of advocating does not stop at the hospital doors. Nurses often get to know their patients on a personal level; therefore, they are capable of understanding some of the challenges their patients face in their communities. If nurses are involved in their communities, they have the opportunity to help address some of the issues. As healthcare professionals, we must begin to treat the root cause of illnesses instead of the symptoms. If this can be accomplished, we may see a shift in the way healthcare is conducted,” said Kern.
Kern has been responsible for conducting several impactful events include cleaning events and item drives at Jill’s House, an organization that temporarily houses patients at the IU-Health Proton Therapy Center; sexual assault nursing seminars, military nurse seminars, and most notable, the Air Evac event.
Kern partnered with Sarah Abel, then president of local chapter of the Emergency Nurses Association, to bring an emergency helicopter to IUSON and host a seminar about the inner workings of the Air Evac. Abel, now working as the director of an emergency room in Indianapolis, had more political pull and networks than Kern and was able to contact the Air Evac and help coordinate the event.
“The Air Evac event was a result of the power of networking. Without the help and collaboration with Sarah Abel and the Emergency Nurses' Association (ENA), I have no doubt the event would not have been possible. Despite the cold and windy weather, we had a large number of students attend. Most importantly, we were able to provide an opportunity for nursing students to learn more about the profession. Anytime you have a large number of students voluntarily attending events to learn, you know you are doing something right,” said Kern.
Indiana University Police Department setup a secure landing zone in the stadium parking lot and the Air Evac landed making this scene unforgettable. The Air Evac team gave demonstrations of emergency situations and attendees were able to ask questions and get involved with the scenarios. Amongst the crowd were not only IU nursing students, but Ivy Tech nursing students, paramedics, EMTs, and students interested in going into the Air force.
Kern will continue his growth as a nursing leader at Rochester, Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic working in Cardiovascular Surgery Intensive Care Unit.
“As a graduate from the IUSON, I will have many skills other new graduates will not. I have received my ACLS certification and completed inter-professional simulations with medical students. I have also conducted my own research that will hopefully be published in a journal in the near future. Aside from these skills, the IUSON has molded me into a competent new graduate capable of conducting myself in a professional manner,” said Kern.
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