Nancy Bansemer_ Road to Retirement

Even after 18 years – or perhaps especially after 18 years—nursing instructor Nancy Bansemer gets emotional when she talks of the capping and pinning ceremony that signifies her students have made it through the nursing program. “The capping and pinning ceremony is a very meaningful time to us. It signifies that my students have met lifetime goals. My students and I spend days and nights together with sweat and tears to reach our goal,” Bansemer said, teary eyed at the thought. After watching them work so hard, the capping and pinning is touching. The next step is the National Council Licensure Exam. “It’s such an overwhelming achievement when I receive calls, texts, or Facebook messages from students that said they passed their NCLEX exam,” Bansemer added. Bansemer, who holds a master of science in nursing and is an RN, explained that nursing programs are different than other fields. “You have to be dedicated and have the drive within you to be a nurse because it’s extremely hard work mentally, physically and emotionally. Sometimes, seeing some students couldn’t make their goal is draining and heartbreaking for an instructor. The test in nursing is very difficult, unlike other basic knowledge tests.” When the time comes for her nursing students to go out in the world, Bansemer said she hopes that they have learned about compassion, critical thinking and work ethic. Work ethic is obviously something Bansemer teaches by example. Even with a brain tumor, she never missed a day of work. One Thursday night two years ago, Bansemer woke up with excruciating pain on one side of her head. “On Friday, the head pain hit me again,” she said. “So I went to the clinic the next day. The doctor said that I had trigeminal neuralgia which is the inflammation of the fifth cranial nerve, and they put me on Tegretol,” Bansemer said. “I was trying to teach a class on Monday, and I walked right into the wall,” she described. At first, Bansemer thought it was the Tegretol that caused the incident. But something seemed off, and she made arrangements to have an MRI. The results showed there was a tumor on her pituitary gland. “The neurosurgeon said that he had never seen such a large pituitary tumor before,” she said. “He also said that I should be dead or totally blind at the least,” she said. Nevertheless, Bansemer worked until mid-June to finish nursing clinicals in Wichita. Then, she had surgery on her pituitary tumor. She was not allowed to do anything for six weeks. But Bansemer was released to return to work by the time fall classes started. “The reason why I never missed a day at work, even though I had a brain tumor, is because I’m Nancy Bansemer, for one thing,” she said, jokingly. Remember, this is an instructor who values work ethic. Students can look at her and recognize an exceptional passion for being on the job. Beyond teaching and working with the students in clinicals, which requires extensive amounts of time, Bansemer is also dedicated to helping students find scholarships and assistance wherever she can. “One thing I really try to do is to help students get scholarships,” Bansemer said. She has worked with Stevens County Medical Foundation to help compile realistic expenses and scholarship parameters. She promotes scholarships to go to students who are already accepted into the nursing program. She helps match students with scholarship opportunities she learns about and has even followed through by helping fill out applications and gathering necessary materials. Once as Bansemer was looking through a list of available scholarships, she saw the Dr. E.J. McCreight Scholarship, and it surprised her. Dr. McCreight was her doctor when she was young and the one who inspired and encouraged her to become a nurse in the first place. Bansemer started a Preceptorship program through Client Care Leadership with Southwest Medical Center about five years ago to introduce a program for one-on-one with one nurse training. “They love it,” she said. Getting 36 hours with one nurse helps students and often helps Southwest Medical Center recruit the nurses it wants to hire. She also promotes volunteerism and is proud that her students helped raise $10,386 for SCCC/ ATS scholarship funds in the 2015 Phonathon. Bansemer received a National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Teaching Excellence award in 2002. She also has been involved with the Student Nurse Association at Seward for 18 years. Bansemer graduated from nursing school in 1974. She started working the night shift in the ICU in Garden City, earning a whopping $4.58 an hour. After she got married, she started working in Liberal in January 1975. In 1997, Bansemer took the job at SCCC. “I was working for Southwest Medical Center Home Health Care and Hospice, and Steve Hecox recruited me to come teach.” For about three years, she did both jobs. Other longtime co-workers she mentioned working with were Sandy Brisendine, who retired from Seward last year, and current division chair, Veda King. She and King have worked together since back in the ’80s, she said, when King was manager of the medical floor and Bansemer was manager of the surgery floor at Southwest Medical Center. “They coerced me into coming,” Bansemer said of her friends as to why she came to the college as an instructor. She still offers the highest praise to her former boss and recruiter. “Steve is one of the finest Christian men you could ever meet. He walks the walk and talks the talk,” Bansemer described Hecox. “He was very organized.” She said Hecox was always the first one at work in the mornings, and he walked around the Epworth Allied Health building and greeted every person there. “This is a great place, with great people to work with,” Bansemer said. She and King will both take early retirement this year. “I just want to slow down a little bit. I have worked so many nights,” Bansemer said. In addition to her job as an instructor, she also works many days, nights and weekends for extra clinical time for students. Bansemer doesn’t plan to stop working completely; she is looking forward to working some, just not the same load she’s had. Bansemer and her husband, Ted, live in Hugoton. Ted has worked at Southwest Medical Center for more than 30 years as a plant operator. They have three grown children, Jared Bansemer, who lives in Garden City; Charisse Fast, who runs a home canning business with Kansas Flavor products and is a stay-at-home mom in Wichita with Bansemer’s two granddaughters; and Alicia Powers, an alumna who worked for Dr. James Grote in the president’s office when she attended school at SCCC. Powers is now a PA at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. Bansemer looks back over her career with pride and appreciation. She appreciates getting to know a lot of great people during her time at work. She is thankful for the local facilities where students do clinicals. “We couldn’t do it without the support of Southwest Medical Center,” she said. Because other schools don’t always have the type of support SWMC offers, Bansemer recognizes how fortunate her students have been. And she can take pride in their accomplishments as she looks forward to one more capping and pinning and waits for one more set of phone calls from students with NCLEX results.

Crusader photo/Maria Lara Nancy Bansemer, nursing instructor, teaches at the Allied Health Center. She is retiring after 18 years at Seward.
Crusader photo/Maria Lara
Nancy Bansemer, nursing instructor, teaches at the Allied Health Center. She is retiring after 18 years at Seward.