Kara Warmke hasn’t quite decided what she wants to do after graduating in May with a nursing degree from Anderson University. But a recent experience with flight nurses from PHI Air Medical helicopter might help her decision.
“It was a really exciting experience,” the 21-year-old student said. “It was a great way to learn about some of the different aspects of nursing.”
Warmke, now a senior in the School of Nursing, was chosen as the outstanding junior in her class in May. That honor allowed Warmke to tag along with the PHI crew last month.
The Saint John’s Outstanding Junior Student Award was established by Saint John’s Health System to recognize excellence and the qualities the hospital values in the nursing profession.
This was the first year the award was given, said Karen Williams, director of AU’s school of nursing. The honor will be awarded every May at the senior nursing students’ pinning ceremony. The award will go to a student with a grade point average of 3.5 or better who best exemplifies the criteria of wholeness, integrity, servant-hood, excellence and respect.
“Partnership with Saint John’s is extremely important to us,” Williams said. “And Kara is a great, local example of how a student can live out the missions and goals of both Anderson University and Saint John’s Health Center in nursing.”
Warmke grew up in Indianapolis but moved with her family to Pendleton after her father, Thomas Warmke, was named the superintendent of South Madison Community Schools.
During her flight experience, Kara Warmke said she was able to go up in the helicopter with the medical flight crew a couple different times and was able to accompany the flight nurses while they were transporting a patient from Saint John’s to a Carmel facility.
“It is really neat to know you can care for a patient hundreds of feet in the air like they do,” she said. “They have almost everything that you could possibly need in that helicopter. It is so tiny but they were able to pack so many supplies. The personnel on the helicopter are so highly skilled so the patient can be comfortable and know they are well cared for.”
Warmke said she hopes to take the experiences from the medical flights and put them into practice after graduation. Her goal is to perform nursing overseas as a mission although she says she knows she first needs more experience stateside after graduation. She’s considering a job at a Naval hospital in Hawaii to get that experience.
In March, she and a classmate will spend nearly a month in Kenya, Africa, where they will work with a nurse practitioner who deals with orphans infected with HIV or AIDS.
“One of the greatest things about AU’s nursing program is that they have a mandatory cultural nursing program as part of the senior year,” she said, pointing out that she’s also taken missions to India, Mexico and Jamaica.
“Being chosen was a very humbling experience but I am grateful for it,” Warmke said. “I feel proud to be a part of AU’s nursing program and to represent the school.”
—Abbey Doyle is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Photo credit: Don Knight. Story republished with permission.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.