Dr. Bette Bogdan remembers watching her aunt, who was a nurse, leave for Vietnam in the 1960s. At the time, she didn’t think about the danger; she thought about how her aunt’s career allowed her to go on far-reaching adventures that seemed rewarding, exciting and glamorous.
It inspired young Bette to dress up as Clara Barton for a school report and put her on the path to eventually become a nurse herself. ACE recently welcomed Bogdan as the school’s new department chair of nursing. We spoke with her about her new role and what she has learned so far in her nursing career.
ACE: Can you share with us your professional journey?
Dr. Bette Bogdan (BB): I entered nursing as a nurse’s aide when I was 17 after I dropped out of high school. I had great mentors from the start, and was encouraged to work toward my GED, LPN, and ADN. Later, I returned to school for my BSN after working almost every area of the hospital. After I found that I really enjoyed school and teaching, I went on to obtain my MSN and Ph.D. I wanted to know more about learning, nursing theory, research, and cause and effect. I was fortunate to have excellent nursing mentors, so I myself have a deep passion for supporting students and peers on their own journeys, wherever that may take them.
ACE: You bring to ACE extensive experience in nursing education. What do you think is the most important thing a program can do to make sure its students are prepared for a career in nursing?
BB: As educators, we need to meet students where they are and create assignments that are relevant to what a student will be doing in “real life.” My hope is that by making learning relevant, a passion for learning will be ignited. As a result, a better educated and prepared workforce will result.
ACE: What should students do to truly make the most of their nursing education?
BB: Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek clarification. Ask for an analogy, ask why something is important and relevant. Faculty love to talk about their courses with students so take advantage of live events, or schedule a one-on-one meeting and chat with your faculty about your readings and course work.
ACE: What drew you to ACE’s nursing department and program? What makes it different from other nursing programs out there?
BB: So many things drew me here. I like being a bit disruptive, unique and thinking outside the box because there are many paths to reach a goal and be successful. ACE has an outstanding leadership team, and one of the strongest advisory boards I have ever seen. The mission and culture of ACE align with my own values. ACE has assembled a team that does think outside the box, is student centric, supports their faculty, and is mission driven. I’ve also always wanted to be associated with a B Corporation and an organization that has been designated a Best Place to Work.
ACE: As you know, almost all ACE students are working full time while they’re enrolled in our programs. What advice do you have on how to juggle a job, classes, and life in general?
BB: Having been an adult learner myself while working full-time, I appreciate this struggle. For each course, print off and read the syllabus first. Use a calendar to make a plan: Block off time for studying and family. Set deadlines a few days ahead of what they actually are, and commit to meeting those self-imposed deadlines. It’s less stressful to be fully prepared a few days in advance than to rush to complete a project. And always communicate with your faculty proactively when a “life event” happens.