By MELISSA SOLANO
“I knew I wanted to be a nurse at age 15 when I saw a nurse care for my dying grandfather,” said professor Elizabeth Anne Baljack.
She is the newest addition to the Franciscan University Nursing Department staff. A Franciscan grad herself, Baljack teaches core nurse practitioner classes at the master’s level for the program.
“I view nursing as a talent and privilege given to me by God. So to be able to share that with others in the same field and my patients is the best opportunity ever!” she said about teaching. Baljak began her road to nursing when she was a junior in high school by becoming a volunteer and then an aide at her local high school.
She views her students and the nursing program itself as “small and self-contained” but with a close-knit sense of family.
The field of nursing itself has evolved so much over the years, and most people would find that disconcerting—not Baljack.
“The fact that our field is ever-changing and there are so many aspects to help others never ceases to amaze me,” she said.
When asked why she decided to teach rather than simply enter the nursing field from a hospital, she was very clear.
“I loved being a nurse, but knew I was called to help people to the best of my ability … so I decided to return and get my master’s degree as a nurse practitioner. Now I am honored to work as both a professor teaching fellow nurse practitioner students and as a nurse practitioner taking care of patients.”
Though this is her first year teaching, she has very high hopes for her students and the influence she presents to them.
She wants her students to see the gift of being a nurse practitioner.
“It is an honor to be able to care for other people’s lives, and we should never take it for granted. We should think long and hard about our profession, even if we don’t feel this way from the start,” Baljack said.