January 23, 2018
Story and photo by Micah Oelze
CTE Month 2018: This feature is the first of four stories to be released by Barton Community College in February in celebration of Career Technical Education (CTE) Month.
CTE Month® is an annual celebration held in February of CTE community members’ achievements and accomplishments nationwide. CTE Month 2018, with its tagline of "Celebrate Today, Own Tomorrow!" gives colleges the chance to inform others of the innovation and excellence that exists within our local CTE programs and raise awareness of the crucial role that CTE plays in readying our students for careers and our nation for economic success.
Barbie Deschner, a Barton Nursing graduate of the class of ‘09, embodies what it means to celebrate today and own tomorrow.
Deschner was born and raised in Great Bend where she was inspired by her father’s career as a paramedic to enter the nursing field.
“Seeing people come up to my dad saying, ‘thank you’ for saving their life or being there for them drove what I wanted to do,” she said. “You could go to work all day and not feel like you make a difference because it is just your job, but with nursing, you go to work every day and you get to impact people’s lives.”
Upon her graduation from Barton, she started working in pediatrics in Great Bend before moving to Wichita and working at Via Christi St. Francis, then pursued a career as a travel nurse.
“After two years at Via Christi, I was itching to learn more,” Deschner said. “I ended up talking to a travel agency and within two weeks had my first assignment in Washington state. Two weeks later I moved across the country.”
She described the experience as both liberating and challenging. As a traveling nurse, Deschner did not know all the new hospital protocols and policies. She was left on her own and was expected to start working with only her knowledge from school to fall back on. During this time, she learned to trust herself, capitalize on her skills and acquire knowledge from her co-workers.
“I feel like those experiences made me a better nurse,” she said.
After her experience as a traveling nurse, Deschner signed on with Stanford University Hospital as full-time staff. She started in the medical surgery telemetry unit and hospice care. Two years ago, she became a Crisis Response Nurse, who responds to all crisis and trauma situations. If a patient is not doing very well, she assesses and applies different medical lines such as feeding tubes, which floor nurses cannot.
“It is pretty intense but it is really awesome,” she said.
Working in a hospital, Deschner realized the need to live each day to its fullest.
“I feel like every day you wake up is a beautiful day, and you should be so thankful for your life. In our profession, we see a lot of people who don’t have tomorrow,” she said. “I think you should take in every ounce of beauty around you and be fortunate for it, and that will make you a better and more motivated person for tomorrow.”
Deschner said she feels Barton prepared her well for the rigors of her profession.
“Having worked directly with new grads from other nursing schools as a seasoned nurse, I remember feeling like I was way more prepared to go into the nursing world than some people are,” she said. “I had a good foundation on which to learn and further my practice; at Barton, everything was hands-on and I am grateful for that.”
Deschner said her Barton experience was top notch, thanks to the well-educated staff and the valuable clinical and hands-on experiences.
“Deciding on where to go to school is hard, but if nursing is something you want to do, Barton is a great place to start. I never figured I would leave nursing school to work in pediatrics, then move to a bigger city, then across the country, then travel and live my life in such a fulfilling way,” she said. “I was then able to go back to school and get my bachelor’s degree and now I am in grad school working on my nurse practitioner degree. It all started here [Barton Community College] and I have Barton to thank. I have my dream job and I am part of a team where I can help someone in dire need.”
Barton Career Fair
CTE month will culminate with a Career Technical Education Fair open to the public from noon-2:30 p.m. February 28 in the Case New Holland Shop in the Northeast side of the Technical building. Registration opens at noon. The fair will feature demonstrations, hands-on-activities, refreshments, prizes and photo ops with the Barton mascot. To sign up, contact Denise Schreiber at (620) 792-9324 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students in eighth grade through seniors in high school are invited to attend a keynote address and tours beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the auditorium lobby in the Fine Arts Building on campus.