Erin Schueller ‘19 said nursing has been a calling since she was very young. She worked in the medical intensive care unit (ICU) at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis immediately following her graduation from Newman.
Once again, she is close to the Newman campus, now working for the Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC), the founding order and sponsor of Newman University, as a registered nurse at the ASC Wichita Center located just south of the university.
“It’s just something I always knew I would do,” she said of her nursing career. “I don’t really have an emotional story connecting me to the field and there were never any ‘breakthrough’ moments. … I just knew I was going to be a nurse. I’m pretty sure this was just God’s plan for me.”
Where the road began
Attending Newman, she said, was also part of that plan.
“I was ready to send in my non-refundable housing deposit to another university when my mom suggested I wait just a little longer. The very next day, I received a letter in the mail from Newman. I called and we scheduled a visit for interviews and a direct admission test within the week. I was accepted into the program and that was it.”
Schueller said there was a time when she weighed the pros and cons of each university but overall, Newman was less expensive to attend and the nursing program’s reputation was one of high standards.
Even during her time at Newman, Schueller continued to earn scholarships and grant funding, helping her along the way. The early college credits she earned during her senior year of high school were also through the Newman advanced standing program, which allowed her to complete her degree a semester early.
The start of a career in nursing
Schueller’s time at Newman was memorable. Even though her schooling kept her very busy, she found ways to connect with the university on a deeper level through clubs and other activities.
“Looking back, I’m so happy I did this. By getting involved in the clubs, I was able to get that full collegiate experience. And I really liked all the professors. Honestly, looking back now, I feel like I had one of the better nursing educations compared to some of my co-workers. I always felt a little more prepared. I’m so grateful because I learned so much.”
Schueller is continuing her higher education by seeking a doctorate in nursing through Fort Hays State University. She said her time and education at Newman is paying off even now as she progresses in her schooling.
While she was a student at Newman, Schueller worked as a certified nursing assistant at the ASC Wichita Center. She was happy to answer the call this year to once again serve the ASC.
“I had continued to stay in touch. I actually started to work there part time back in November 2020 as a PRN, doing on-call work as needed. I did two shifts but just didn’t feel comfortable because I was also working in the COVID unit at the hospital. I just didn’t want to risk exposing someone, so I stepped back.”
An open door
During the first week of September 2021, some of her former ASC colleagues reached out and said they were looking for a full-time registered nurse, someone to share their hours between Caritas and their clinic.
“I’ve always had a connection with the ASC while I’ve been at Newman,” explained Schueller. “I was one of two students that traveled on a pilgrimage to Liberia with some ASC sisters. It was an amazing experience. I’ve often felt pulled back toward the sisters.
“So I was glad this new opportunity arose. I wasn’t really looking to leave my job at the hospital — it just played out that way. I’ll admit, I was very mentally and emotionally exhausted working in the ICU during COVID. We just saw so much loss. Moving into this role with the ASC was a nice change of scenery.”
Schueller’s long-term goal is to work in a clinical or family practice setting so the move to the ASC center was a natural one.
A degree of difference
Working in the ICU during the height of COVID was “the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced,” said Schueller. “When somebody recently asked me what it was like, I didn’t realize how many things I had mentally suppressed.”
She said her favorite part of working at the ASC center is just being around the sisters, who treat her with a high level of respect and acceptance, making for a very comforting work environment.
“They make coming to work not feel like work. We work together on their medications and discuss what’s best for them. They ask for my advice when they know they have a doctor’s appointment coming up.
“Overall, there is a feeling of peace there. And I love connecting with them on a personal level too. I love listening to the stories they share about themselves and their life experiences. They are a joy to work with.”
Earn a degree in nursing
The Newman University Nursing Program — a top Kansas nursing school — educates students to be a generalist and lays the foundation for graduate school.