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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

Donna Beuk, Ph.D., discusses plans, potential for new nursing program

Lola Claire

Donna Beuk is a woman for the people.

Having dedicated her life to the practice of nursing and educating herself along with others, she aims to impact lives in a positive way. Now, she is the founding director of nursing for St. Edward’s University, a program started as part of Strategic Plan 2027.

Beuk didn’t always know that she wanted to be a nurse. It wasn’t until she had her own experience with another nurse that she realized nursing was something she was passionate about. While giving birth to her second child, her husband was not allowed in the room with her, so Beuk was left with only the company of her labor nurse, who promised to stay by her side until her child was born. 

“I want to give back to other people the way that she gave back to me,” Beuk said.

This level of caretaking was so heartwarming and moving to Beuk that she knew immediately she wanted to quit her day job and pursue a career in nursing. 

Her career transition began in 1996 when she graduated from nursing school. Following graduation, she went to work for the same hospital that sponsored a scholarship for her clinical rotations. She worked in the intensive care unit for 14 years, growing her experience in intensive care, critical care, emergency trauma, cardiology and internal medicine. 

Having received her bachelor’s degree from a small religious institution before going on to nursing school, Beuk knew she wanted to be able to share her knowledge in a similar setting.

“I wanted to give back to those that were also going to be educated in that environment,” Beuk said. “So, when St. Ed’s was announcing that they were looking to start a nursing program, it was just the perfect opportunity for me to give back.”

Outside of the hospital and into the classroom, Beuk wants people to be afforded the same experience she was able to gain. 

“The Holy Cross mission is integrated throughout (the program’s) student learning outcomes, and every single course addresses how a student nurse is to live the mission of Holy Cross in relation to professional nursing practice,” she said. “So, whenever they do graduate, they, too, can go out into the world and make a big difference, because that’s really what nursing means to do.”

Beuk is familiar with the mission of a Holy Cross education, and one of her biggest goals with this program is to educate both the heart and mind. Beuk was adamant about the idea that being a nurse goes beyond education and directly ties to someone’s heart.

She has seen the type of individual it takes to be able to care so deeply for another person in a time of need, and she knew exactly what she was looking for when aiming to hire nursing educators for this program. 

“Really, it was in depth qualifications, not necessarily academically or professionally,” she said. “But it was qualifications of who they are as an individual and their core beliefs that was the most important, because you can teach a lot of things, even to faculty, but you can’t teach the core values.”

Donna is excited for the potential the program has at this point and that students appear to be excited about the opportunities that nursing will bring to the campus. For now, the goal is to continue educating the next generation of nurses and to continue growing the program by getting more people involved. 

“I think that adding the science of nursing to the opportunities here is just going to enhance the portfolio that St. Ed’s is able to offer to students,” Beuk said. “It’s going to be really exciting to see the graduates start walking across the stage soon.”

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About the Contributor
Lola Claire
Lola Claire, Life & Arts Editor
Lola Claire is a junior writing and rhetoric major with a concentration in creative writing and a double-minor in Journalism and Digital Storytelling. This is her second year working with "Hilltop Views" and first semester as Life & Arts Editor. Previously, she has spent time with "Hilltop Views" as a Staff Writer and as Assistant Life & Arts Editor. She is quite excited for this opportunity to learn and grow as a journalist. Lola loves writing, digital media, playing the piano and learning new things. She hopes to bring something new to the table and make meaningful connections along the way!

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    Colby FountainSep 12, 2023 at 9:42 am

    Great job Lola!