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Eight students from the WIU School of Nursing spent several days at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. They are pictured with School of Nursing Director Lea Monahan (left) and Instructor Lindsay White (second from left) and include Carly Tracey, Francheska Viejon, (back) Robert Jacques, Cassandra Kerlin, Khayla Gutter, Jenna Kelso, Kayla Carter and Caitlen Hahn.
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Eight students from the WIU School of Nursing met with Lurie President/CEO Patrick Magoon and WIU Vice President for Advancement and Public Services Brad Bainter while they spent time at the the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
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WIU Nursing Students Get Study Experience Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

April 25, 2019

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MACOMB, IL – Eight Western Illinois University School of Nursing students had the opportunity to expand their academic experience earlier this month while working in the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, thanks to a partnership with the WIU alumnus who leads the award-winning hospital.

Students spent Monday-Thursday, April 8-11 shadowing hospital leaders, including 1976 sociology graduate Lurie President/CEO Patrick Magoon, in various parts of the hospital under the guidance of School of Nursing Instructor Lindsay White.

"These students got to see things they don't get to see here," said School of Nursing Director Lea Monahan. "There were outcomes the students had to meet through the experience. This was the school's first trip to Lurie; we have been trying to get up there since the nursing program started."

White said students went into the experience with a list of questions and they interviewed each of the leaders they worked with. At the end of each day, White said, she had a debriefing with the group and they were all excited to talk about what they observed.

"I think this was an eye-opening experience," said White. "It was interesting to watch them see things they have been learning in the classrooms and connecting the dots; there were a lot of 'a-ha' moments. We can talk about it in the classroom, but until they actually see it…it was really neat to see those lightbulbs going off."

Among the students who traveled to downtown Chicago were senior nursing students Jenna Kelso, of Macomb, and Khayla Gutter, of Chicago. Students had to apply for the opportunity and a WIU School of Nursing committee chose the eight participants.

Kelso shadowed the nursing director of research and attended quality improvement classes with hospital employees.

"These classes last six months and the goal is to improve communication between the emergency room and the floor nurses," Kelso said. "I was also surprised by how big the hospital is and how many leaders they had there."

Kelso said every one of the nursing students in the group thought the experience was amazing and beneficial to their education.

Gutter said she was impressed how "kid friendly" the entire facility was, with every detail thought out to be convenient and less scary for children.

"The emergency room is sponsored by Shedd Aquarium and has a huge fish tank and the MRI is made to look like a submarine so children think they are inside," she said. "It's all very well thought out."

On the third day of the rotation, WIU Vice President for Advancement and Public Services Brad Bainter joined Magoon and the students in Chicago. He said he was appreciative of the unique opportunity it offered students.

"When I visited our nursing students on location, it was wonderful to witness their excitement first-hand and see what an outstanding experience they were having at Lurie," he said. "Spending a week in Chicago is not an inexpensive endeavor, and I was very happy that the WIU Foundation invested in our students. This experience provided an excellent opportunity to get ahead in their careers after they graduate in May."

White added the opportunity allowed students to move beyond the classroom experience and see what a career in nursing will offer.

"It was a fantastic experience for them to get to see and experience the theoretical concepts in place," White said.

Return trips to Lurie by School of Nursing students will depend on available funding. Monahan added that nearly one-third of the students graduating in a few weeks already have jobs in the nursing field. All graduates must first pass a national licensure before practicing.

For more information about the WIU School of Nursing, visit

Posted By: Jodi Pospeschil (
Office of University Communications & Marketing