Pediatric nursing spurs growth at Kramer School of Nursing
by James Coburn, Staff Writer
Angela Bowen has come full-circle from her days at a student at Kramer School of Nursing to being a faculty member at the Oklahoma City University campus.
Bowen earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Kramer School of Nursing in 2001, and recently earned her Doctorate in Nursing Practice in May.
In 2009, Bowen returned to Kramer as a faculty member. Today, as a clinical nursing instructor, she teaches pediatric nursing to undergraduates who are on the pathway to becoming registered nurses.
Course work in pediatric nursing encompasses all childhood diseases. Her major focus as an educator is sharing how different diseases impact a child’s growth and development. Students learn what to expect in a hospital setting to meet those developmental milestones, Bowen said.
“They have to learn those milestones and the interventions they can use to help the child,” she continued.
Pediatrics is taught everywhere, but what is unique to Kramer are the people who work there, Bowen said. They are very approachable and available to the nursing school students.
“We try to promote what we call ‘the Kramer way,’” Bowen said. “We treat people with respect, but we expect it in return as well.”
All of Bowen’s students have her email address, cell phone number and know where her office is. She tries to always be available not only for questions based on her class, but also for students with a need to vent about an issue.
“I think that’s unique to our school,” she said.
About 92 students were enrolled in her pediatrics course last semester. The class sizes keep growing, so it is currently split into two sections to make it more doable, she said. Bowen will often hear feedback from her students. They feel like the instructors want them to succeed.
“I was in clinical with a student today. They reiterate that the instructors at Kramer are available,” she said. “I’m still friends with a lot of the students outside of the school now. Once they graduate, we still talk and we still pass messages. They always come back to the same thing that it was a nurturing environment.”
Bowen said she must keep up-to-date with the modern world of pediatrics so that students can evolve to meet the needs of the industry. What drives her is gratitude when being told by a student that she cares about her work.
“Yes, I want them to learn about pediatrics,” Bowen said. “It’s more important that they feel a personal connection that someone cares about them. To me, if a student is connected in some way to a faculty member or a staff member in the school, they’re more likely to succeed and are more likely to stay there.
Bowen said she did not aspire to become a nurse when she married. It was her husband who enrolled her in nursing after he told Bowen’s mother that he would make sure she graduated from college if she would allow them to marry.
“At that time, I had stopped going to school because I was hanging out with him,” Bowen said. “So he went to Alva at Northwestern and enrolled me in their nursing program.”
Her husband was an EMT with EMSA, and when he transferred to Oklahoma City, they looked for a nursing school with a promising nursing program. Only 12 students were in her graduating class at Kramer. This was right before former Kramer School of Nursing Dean Marvel Williamson set Kramer on a new course of growth.
Bowen said she was impressed that she could visit her professors in their offices without the slightest hint of them not being interested in helping her to succeed.
“It was really comfortable. And so I graduated; I started working at Children’s Hospital and my husband took another job when we moved to Enid,” she said.
She found difficulty finding work in pediatrics in Enid because all of them were adult-centered in their care, she said. Bowen had practiced nursing with adults, but still felt leery about steering her nursing career in that direction, she said.
“My sister called and said they needed an instructor at one of the junior colleges,” Bowen said. “I applied, got the job, and ended up getting my master’s degree in nursing education. But once I was up there I felt I wanted to go back to Kramer.” The way Kramer presents itself to its students is different than what she had experienced when she first began her academic journey, she said.
“I wanted to be part of that,” she said of the connective environment of nourishment. “It’s home. We’ve just added more numbers, but we still try to make it more personable. We still try to learn everybody’s name. We try to connect on a personal level so that we all feel like we care about one another.” Her work flow has been steady at Kramer, but she still has time to enjoy other aspects of life such as crafting, Bowen said.
“Crafting and kids. My kids are pretty busy,” she said.