Ashland Nursing Student Earns Degree Close to Home

06/11/01    ASHLAND, Ore.

As a teenager, Desiree Gobel's volunteer job as a candy striper gave her an inside look at the career she always knew she wanted. On June 16 Gobel will realize her aspirations when she is awarded a bachelor of science degree from the OHSU School of Nursing at Southern Oregon University.

Her vocational choice draws on her interests in both people and medicine. To pursue nursing, "you definitely have to be a people person and be interested in people's lives," says the 22-year-old Gobel. "I'm also intrigued by the body and its systems."

When it came time to pick a college, Gobel, a Roseburg native, didn't want to venture far from home. She decided to attend SOU in Ashland, where OHSU School of Nursing maintains one of its four campuses. The others are in Klamath Falls, La Grande and Portland.

At SOU, Gobel found out the high degree of devotion that earning a nursing diploma requires -- especially during her final year when most of her spare time was spent in an operating room. She was one of eight students in her class selected by the faculty to take part in a highly regarded specialization program that places the best students in either a hospital operating room or an intensive-care unit. Each week, Gobel spent up to three eight-hour days in the operating room, where she relied on a combination of patient advocacy and technical skills to care for patients in surgery.

"It was definitely time-intensive," said Gobel of OHSU's nursing program. "You're pushed to your maximum capability."

Gobel was pushed more than most. Her operating-room duties came on top of the typical second-year student rotation, which for Gobel included working in a hospital delivery ward, in a home-health program for high-risk pregnant women and in a community health clinic. In her first year, Gobel was exposed to the nurse's perspective in an elder-care home, a hospital floor and a shelter for troubled teens.

Gaining a specialty such as operating-room nursing already has proven to have after-school benefits for Gobel. She was offered three jobs in the last months of her schooling and signed up with a Medford outpatient surgery center that had never before hired a nurse right out of college. She's already started working at the center as a scrub tech, and will be promoted to nurse once she obtains her license this summer.

Gobel, who will graduate with honors and as a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the honor society of nursing, is already thinking about future students at her soon-to-be alma mater. She's already talked to her boss about becoming a preceptor. "My goal is to let students see what surgery is like outside the hospital," said Gobel.

The pinning ceremony for 42 graduates of the OHSU School of Nursing, 34 B.S.N, eight R.N./B.S.) is planned for Friday, June 15, 2001, 5 p.m. in the Britt Ballroom at SOU campus. The commencement ceremony is planned for Saturday, June 16, 2001 from 9:00 a.m. to noon at Lithia Park, Ashland.

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