Ellen Clusiau '19 dreamed of being a military nurse since high school. This past spring, she decided to apply for the Navy Nurse Candidate Program. After a rigorous five-month application process and a lot of waiting, she was notified that her dream had come true.
Ellen Clusiau ’19, Hibbing, Minn.
Why did you choose to attend Concordia for nursing?
I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and attend a college in an area that I am not very familiar with. I loved the atmosphere of the college when I toured and thought that it immediately felt like home. All of the nursing faculty that I met were so kind and really went out of their way to talk to me about nursing at Concordia and show me the nursing classrooms and simulation lab on campus. I was impressed by the professionalism of the nursing faculty, the reputation of the program as well as Concordia’s reputation, and all of the healthcare facilities in the Fargo-Moorhead area that I would get to do clinical rotations at. It was an easy decision!
What has been your favorite memory at Concordia?
My favorite memory at Concordia was attending the nursing vocation retreat in August. A few days before classes began, all of the junior nursing students and faculty attended a two-day retreat at Inspiration Point near Battle Lake, Minn. We did a lot of team-building exercises, which helped me get to know my classmates and professors, talked about vocation, and also had a candlelighting ceremony to induct us into the nursing program. It was a really cool experience that helped motivate me and get me excited for a career in nursing, and it was also a lot of fun!
How has Concordia encouraged you to BREW?
BREW has been integrated into all of the courses I have taken at Concordia, and it is such an important value that Concordia College holds. Because it is something that I have had so much exposure to in the time that I have been here, it has become an important value to me too. I have been interested in military nursing since high school, and attending a college where I have been taught the importance and value of being responsibly engaged in the world led me to decide to pursue being a military nurse.
What extracurricular activities have you been you involved in?
I am the junior co-president for Concordia’s Student Nurses Association, and I also am a member of Concordia’s Love Your Melon Campus Crew. I also worked for two years at Creative Care for Reaching Independence in Moorhead. I am really passionate about all of the activities and work that I have been involved in.
What are your plans after college?
After graduation, I will be serving five years of active duty as an officer in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. I will be working in a naval hospital on base, most likely at Naval Medical Center San Diego in California, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in Virginia, or Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. During my time in the Navy, I plan to attend graduate school to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner.
How has Concordia prepared you for what is to come postgraduation?
Concordia’s nursing program focuses on preparing critically thinking, culturally competent, well-rounded nurses. I feel prepared for all of the cultures and situations I will experience in the Navy, especially if I am ever deployed. I think that Concordia has prepared me not only for being a good nurse, but also a good military officer. The liberal arts education I have received and the activities at Concordia that I am involved in have provided me with leadership skills that are important for an officer to have. The critical thinking skills I acquired in my nursing curriculum will be useful to me in my officer role as well.
Tell us about the Nurse Candidate Program and what it entails.
The Navy Nurse Candidate Program is for students obtaining a baccalaureate degree in nursing and wish to serve in the Navy immediately after graduation. Only 65 students across the United States are selected each year, so it is highly competitive! While I am still in school, I will be enlisted in the Navy Reserve as an OCUI2 (Officer Candidate Under Instruction Second Class) but will have no service obligation until I graduate. After graduation and passing the Nursing Candidate Licensure Examination, I will commission as an ensign in the Navy Nurse Corps and begin my five years of active duty service. Following commissioning, I will receive orders to attend a five-week Officer Development School (ODS) located in Newport, R.I. Here I will learn naval leadership, organization, strategy, law, and anything else officers need to know. After I graduate from ODS, I will be off to my first duty station at a base hospital!
Danyel Moe '17 is a content specialist at Concordia.