November 21, 2018

By: Julie Kotewa

In the late 1970s, I was an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at Mankato State University in rural southwest MN.  County Seat hospitals had built Coronary Care Units and/ICUs in their hospitals. Hospitals approached Mankato State U. (MSU) with the complaint that nursing graduates did not have the assessment and technology skills to run these units safely.  Abbot Northwestern Medical Ctr. in Minneapolis closed their 3-year RN program at this same time. They approached MSU to utilize their teaching hospital for clinical learning. A contract agreement approved by MSU Administration and the Nursing Faculty was created.


In April, the Dean appeared at my office and said, “Julie, I would like to see you be the coordinator of our move to Abbot Northwestern; work with the RN Unit managers; choose the clinical settings, and teach the advanced skills to be learned.  My surprise and reaction was, “Why me, I am the youngest faculty.”


The logic of her answer made clear sense.  Before graduate school I had been a Head Nurse in a combination CCU/ICU and worked in the ICU at the U of MN Hospital with open heart surgery patients, complex neuro and GI patients.  My skill sets fit. I was over-whelmed, recognizing the stressors involved in implementing this curriculum in critical care settings; with new staff; and in a new hospital setting.

Underlined in my old Bible are these verses:  Psalm 25:4 Make me to know thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths, and Psalm 27:1. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?


Growing and Learning are processes involving change.  Both produce some stress, hopefully therapeutic stress.  Therapeutic Stress allows us to focus, actively listen, assess well, ask questions and offer creative ideas.  We are forced to leave our comfort zones. Our Salem Capital Fund Appeal, Renewing God’s House Together, is creating such an environment……Growing; Learning and some stress.


Gracious Lord, Thank you for providing Salem with the opportunity to change and improve our physical setting resulting in our planned future ability to love and serve and educate.  Help us look far enough into the future to create a structure that can still meet educational needs and fellowship needs 20 and 30 years from now.  Bless us as you inspire us with this renewed sense of purpose. Amen.

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Salem Lutheran Church affiliated with the E.L.C.A. Salem is a vibrant welcoming Lutheran community that, through the grace of Jesus Christ, is connected within by love and reaching out in hope to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with one another, the community and the world.

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