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Changing course: a second degree and second career 


Debbie Robles, recipient of the Hospice of Michigan Second Degree-Second Career Nursing Scholarship, prepares for her nurse licensure exam and a new career in hospice and palliative care.

Debbie Robles, recipient of the Hospice of Michigan Second Degree-Second Career Nursing Scholarship, prepares for her nurse licensure exam and a new career in hospice and palliative care.

Debbie Robles was drawn to the nursing profession at a young age. She recalls dressing as a nurse for career day in elementary school, and also caring for her sick grandmother and great-aunt as a young adult. But as an 18-year-old college student, a nursing degree just wasn’t something she could pursue.

“I paid my way through college and had to work several jobs to pay the bills,” Robles explains. “The nursing program required a lot of time, homework and use of a car that I didn’t have. Instead I chose to pursue a math degree. Math always came easy to me, and I knew it wouldn’t be as time intensive, allowing me to work more.”

Robles graduated from Franciscan University with a bachelor’s degree in math along with a teaching endorsement. She went on to lead a successful career teaching middle school and high school and even working as an adjunct math professor at Grand Valley State University.

Eventually, Robles decided to put her teaching career on hold while she and her husband started a family. Five children and 11 years later, Robles was ready to go back to work and found herself back in the classroom where she intended to take a couple biology classes to keep up her teaching certificate and to expand the subjects she could teach. That’s when the stars began to align for her and a career in hospice and palliative care began taking shape.

“As I started to talk with other students in my class, I learned that GVSU offered an accelerated second-degree nursing program, and the two classes I was taking were both prerequisites for the degree,” Robles says. “I went home that night and told my husband ‘This is what I want to do.’”

GVSU’s second-degree nursing program is offered through its Kirkhof College of Nursing and targeted toward individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university and wish to pursue a bachelor of science in nursing. Students are admitted to the full-time, 15-month program once per year, applying in January for a May start.

By the end of her first semester back in college, Robles had made her decision to pursue the nursing degree when she learned her 69-year-old father was diagnosed with late-stage sarcoma. With no treatment options available, her father died within weeks of diagnosis.

“As I reflected on this experience with my dad, it struck me that in the health courses I’d been taking, the focus was on treatment and saving lives. No one talked about death and what to do when treatment wasn’t available,” Robles recalls. “Death is inevitable, but it’s something nobody wants to talk about.”

Shortly after her father died, Robles learned that Hospice of Michigan offered a Second Degree-Second Career Nursing Scholarship through GVSU. Responding to a shortage of nursing students interested in end-of-life care, HOM established the scholarship in 2009 to provide the funds and the opportunity for students like Robles to change their career path.

“I was amazed when I found out about the scholarship program,” Robles said. “Not only did I stumble across the second-degree nursing program, but then I found out there is a scholarship available for the exact type of medicine I had recently decided I wanted to go into. I knew then that hospice and palliative care is what I was meant to do.”

With funding provided by HOM, the scholarship, which was created to nurture future registered nurses in the field of hospice and palliative care, awards recipients full tuition, a stipend and a nursing residency with HOM that provides first-hand experience. After the student graduates and passes the licensure exam, he or she will enter into a two-year agreement to work as a full-time nurse for HOM.

“Since many students study nursing right after high school, the idea of a career in palliative care doesn’t interest them,” said Dr. Michael Paletta, executive director of the Hospice of Michigan Institute. “Offering the Second Degree-Second Career scholarship to those seeking nursing as a career change later in life allows HOM to reach students who may be more interested and comfortable with a career in hospice and palliative care. Scholarship recipients will receive top-notch training both in the classroom and in the field. To date, we have given three scholarships and have nursing students practicing around the state.”

Robles applied and was delighted to be selected as the 2013 scholarship recipient. She graduated from GVSU’s nursing program this summer and is currently studying for her licensure exam.

“The first-hand experience I’ve had working with HOM through my education has reassured me that this was the profession I was meant to be in,” Robles says. “I’m very excited to begin my new career and couldn’t be happier that it’s with Hospice of Michigan.”

For more information about Hospice of Michigan and its Second Degree-Second Career Nursing Scholarship visit www.hom.org.

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Public Invited to Nature Programs


Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

Grand Rapids Audubon and Michigan Botanical Clubs invite the public to enjoy two different free nature programs on February 22 and 24, 2014 presented by Ranger Steve.

Botanizing the Natural World sponsored by the Michigan Botanical Club will be at GVSU Allendale Campus in Niemeyer Hall, Room 148 on Saturday Feb. 22 at 2 p.m.

Program Description: Enjoy the world of plants that surround us throughout the year. Plants are friends that share beauty, mystery, and intrigue, while providing basic needs in ecosystems. Their adaptations help them survive where they stand for a lifetime. Enjoy a fascination with plants as we discover special features that serve their needs and those of other organisms in ecosystems. The program will provide a glimpse of wildflowers, trees, and associated animals we will be able to experience at Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary on a Saturday, September 13, 2014 on a field trip at 2 p.m. Bring family and friends for enjoyable pictures and dialog with Ranger Steve this Saturday.

Dorothy Sibley, president of MBC says, “Ranger Steve is a great presenter you won’t want to miss. See you there!” Refreshments will be served following the presentation.

Directions to Niemeyer Hall: Room 148 (Case Room) is on the 1st floor in Niemeyer Hall. If you come to campus on M-45 (Lake Michigan Drive) turn onto campus and follow the road called Campus Drive until you come to a four-way stop. This is Calder Drive. Turn left on Calder Drive and then turn left into parking lot M, where you may park. (Open parking on Saturdays).

The Grand Rapids Audubon Club program is Monday evening Feb. 24th at 7:30 p.m. with 7 p.m. refreshments at Orchard View Church on Leffingwell at 3 Mile Rd. Go 1 mile west from the East Beltline on 3 mile Rd. and left on Leffingwell. The church parking is on the right at the corner.

Program Title and Description:

Birds and Life at Ody Brook Sanctuary:

Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary in Cedar Springs is managed to enhance biodiversity. Discover the variety of life that could thrive in your yard when extensive lawns are limited in size and replaced with native plants that support bird and other animal populations. The sanctuary is located in the headwaters for Little Cedar Creek with both upland and wetland habitats. Over 100 bird, 24 mammal, 11 herps, 51 butterfly species have been documented along with nearly 250 species of plants and many other species.

Five acres were added to the sanctuary in 2011 to further protect the floodplain. Nature trails meander the property with bridges over the creek. Ponds, stream, field and forest comprise the splendor. Brook trout enter the sanctuary in spring. Green Herons, Wood Ducks, American Woodcocks, three species of owls, Pileated Woodpeckers, Eastern Bluebirds, Gray Catbirds, Blue-winged Warblers, Eastern Towhees, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks attest to habitat variety. Many Orders of insects thrive and create conditions suitable for bird abundance. Natural history of birds, flowers, trees, and insects will highlight the abundance of life that comprises local biodiversity.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433.  

 

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Taking the next step


Students show support for anti-bullying campaign

Cedar Springs Middle School students had a “white out” last Friday, May 12, and was one of several schools that participated in a helicopter flyover as part of the be nice. campaign (against bullying). Photo by Joe Corriveau.


By Autumn Fish

 

Students at Cedar Springs Middle School wore white last Friday to signal solidarity against bullying and participate in a helicopter flyover.

For the past couple of weeks, students at Cedar Springs Middle School have been learning about bullying and working out ways to get rid of it completely. A group of GVSU students and the West Michigan Mental Health Foundation visited CSMS last week as a part of the be nice. campaign, which encourages kindness and civility among all students.

To take the campaign to the next step, the Mental Health Foundation teamed up with Amway and Fox 17 News to fly a helicopter over participating schools. Students from middle schools and high schools across west Michigan were involved in this campaign. At CSMS, students gathered in the field on the west side of the school to form the words “be nice.” The helicopter then flew over the students to take aerial pictures of the words they created. Other schools involved included Grandville Middle School, Grandville High School, Grandview Elementary School, Century Park Learning Center, Forest Hills Central Middle School, West Catholic High School and Timberland Charter Academy in Muskegon Township.

Students also came together by having a school-wide white out in which all students and staff wore white in order to discourage bullying.

Following the flyover, teachers were able to bring their students to an assembly in the large group room of the middle school. Students from Cedar Springs High School directed the assembly. They presented a few skits and talked to students about bullying and other difficulties they may face as they enter high school. The skits exhibited troubles faced in high school such as bullying, drinking, smoking, depression, peer pressure, suicide, and more. CSHS students stressed the importance of keeping an open mind when students are in high school; to realize that they will eventually have to make choices that will change their lives. CSMS students were able to hear first hand about things that really do happen in high school by students that are currently going through those situations. Over 350 students and staff members attended the assembly put on by the high school students.

CSHS students can only hope that their presentation helped students of the middle school prepare for high school, to help them understand what to expect. What middle school teachers have been telling their students all along is true: They really are going to go through these troubles in high school.

To learn more about the be nice. campaign, visit www.themhf.org/index.php/education/be_nice1/

Autumn Fish is a junior at Cedar Springs High School.

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Red Hawk football player signs with GVSU


Andrew signs his letter of intent at Celebration Cinema with 39 other West Michigan college bound athletes. From Left: Rebecca Klompstra, Andrew Klompstra, and Chuck Klompstra.

Cedar Springs senior Andrew Klompstra has signed his letter of intent to play football at Grand Valley State University. He is the third Cedar Springs football player to receive a scholarship to play college football in the past 4 years and the first at GVSU.  Andrew was selected All-Conference and All-area this past football season as well as Academic All-State HM.
Coach Brian Busen says that he will miss Andrew, and his leadership and work ethic that he grew into over his high school career.
“I am very proud of Andrew. He has worked hard and is very deserving of this great opportunity. I look forward to see the growth and improvement in college for Andrew.  Andrew is not only a great football player but he is also a great student and I think GVSU is a perfect fit for Andrew both academically and athletically,” said Busen.

CS senior Andrew Klompstra and Coach Busen.

“I wish Andrew and GVSU great success, with the exception of the Ferris State game!”

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Emmorey chosen athlete of the week


GVSU junior sets new school record in 3,000-meter steeplechase

Tyler Emmorey hit the automatic mark in the 3000-meter steeplechase and the provisional mark in the 1500-meter run.

Tyler Emmorey hit the automatic mark in the 3000-meter steeplechase and the provisional mark in the 1500-meter run.

The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) announced on Wednesday, April 21, that Grand Valley State’s Tyler Emmorey was named the Track Athlete of the Week.

Emmorey, a Cedar Springs graduate and junior at Grand Valley State University, set a new school record in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the Mt. SAC Relays April 16-17. Emmorey ran an automatic time of 8:56.62, which is the fourth fastest time in division II this year. He also hit the provisional mark in the 1500-meter run at the Long Beach Invitational. His time of 3:49.17 is the second fastest time in GVSU history.

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