Healing Mind, Body, and Soul

by Rebekah Bruckner ’18

With professors and students recognized for their advanced research and commitment to selfless service, Azusa Pacific University’s School of Nursing creates the finest nurses in the nation.In its 42nd year, the program provides a transformative education for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral students, called to enter this helping profession.

Recently, USA Today included the APU School of Nursing in a ranking of the nation’s top nine nursing schools. The consistent quality of APU graduates inspires confidence within the regional healthcare community. This award recognizes APU’s nursing graduates for their average starting salary of $67,000—among the highest in the nation. This distinction represents just one reason students select APU's nursing program as their top choice.

For more than four decades, APU’s School of Nursing has encouraged both students and faculty to serve the surrounding community and the broader world. Catherine Heinlein, Ed.D., RN, RDN, CDE, associate director of the Neighborhood Wellness Center and associate professor, embodies APU’s commitment to treat patients with a holistic mindset—healing mind, body, and soul. Working Nurse Magazine, a leading industry publication, recently interviewed Heinlein about her intercultural nursing experiences in India. Heinlein highlighted the importance of working in areas of deep need and points to a 2008 mission trip to Kolkata, India as the impetus for her pursuit of becoming a nurse and for her upcoming Fulbright project. Heinlein will partner with Indian nursing students to build an ongoing diabetes prevention program.

With this project, Heinlein also presents APU nursing students with the opportunity to join her, adding a missional aspect to their already vigorous training. “I want to guide these nursing students to be difference makers. This is a ‘train the trainer’ model, so they must become competent enough to eventually create and administer their own programs,” she said in the interview. After spending a month in India this summer preparing for her Fulbright project, Heinlein will return for six months to focus on diabetes prevention. She hopes to one day live and work in India as a connection between APU and the nursing centers that they work alongside.

Working Nurse Magazine also featured Aja Tulleners Lesh, Ph.D., RN, dean and professor, School of Nursing, in an article about nursing education. Tulleners Lesh focused on the importance of holistic care and bridge building. “Nurses must consider how the environmental, social, behavioral and genetic components of a population affect their healthcare needs,” she said in the article.

The School of Nursing emphasizes whole-person care and dignifying service, seeking to cultivate students who are prepared to make a difference. Through innovative programs and expert faculty, nursing students engage in challenging discussions, mentoring relationships in small classroom settings, and invaluable hands-on experiences in state-of-the-art simulation labs so that they graduate ready to be leaders in their field.

Rebekah Bruckner '18 is a public relations intern in the Office of University Relations. She is a English major and a graphic design minor.