Benedictine graduates a landmark 1,000 nursing professionals

May 16, 2014

Nursing Class 5-14-14 (18)

More than 1,000 students have completed nursing degree programs at Benedictine University since 2007, the school announced last week.

“This is a huge testament to the quality and strength of our programs,” said Elizabeth Ritt, Ed.D., RN, chair of Benedictine’s nursing programs.

“Our graduates leave with advanced knowledge and skills that prepares them to contribute to quality patient care outcomes within the communities they serve, and serve as leaders in advancing the profession by addressing the needs of diverse populations across the nation – all while working collaboratively to promote health, prevent illness and improve patient outcomes across all levels of care,” she said.

Benedictine’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) program is specifically designed for the working registered nurse (RN) who is juggling multiple life priorities. The program prepares nurses to address the health care needs of clients within the rapidly changing health care environment. Students enhance their knowledge of professional role expectations, evidence-based practice, community health and the management of complex health problems.

The Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) online program features two concentrations – Nurse Educator and Nurse Executive Leader. The Nurse Educator concentration focuses on preparing educators in clinical and academic settings through the application of knowledge in instructional design, teaching and learning theory, curriculum development and evaluation of learning. The Nurse Executive Leader concentration focuses on the development of nursing leaders to influence, design, transform and evaluate health systems and services.

Both the RN to BSN and M.S.N. programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Over the years, the University’s nursing programs have drawn students seeking a Benedictine degree so that they may leave better equipped and inspired to tackle the complex health care challenges of tomorrow.

Amy Seratt set off on a path to become a nurse after being diagnosed with cancer when she was 17. Her life-threatening ordeal introduced her to the profession and compelled her to seek an education in the field so that she could care for others in similar circumstances.

“I became an RN because the nurses who cared for me truly saved my life,” said Seratt, who graduated from Benedictine’s RN to BSN program in 2013. “There was a question whether or not I would live into my 30s, so earning an Associate of Science in Nursing was the quickest way to try and give back even a portion of what was given to me.

“At 42, I realized it was time to pursue my goal of going back to school to obtain my B.S.N. and eventually my M.S.N.,” she said.

Today, Seratt works for Advocate Healthcare at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove as a clinical informatics/RN analyst where she leads meetings, trains physicians and other staff on documentation and electronic medical records, and directly supports the emergency department.

“The fact that all of the instructors at Benedictine have either worked in a clinical setting or still do was a huge part of what prompted me to look into the program further,” Seratt said. “The ability to relate to students on a personal and professional level is extremely important to me. I do a lot of teaching in my current role and the biggest opportunity to connect to those whom you are teaching is through personal/professional commonalities.

“I chose Benedictine primarily because of this and the University’s overall reputation,” she said.

Michaela Klose, who earned an M.S.N. in 2013, plans to take the valuable leadership and teaching skills she learned at Benedictine and fulfill her dream of opening a nurse-managed health center in Dallas, Texas.

“It is a goal of mine to open many more throughout the country to serve individuals through not only nursing services, but desperately needed social, legal and mental health care services,” Klose said. “Benedictine University has prepared and instilled within me the passion for lifelong learning and a life of service to others.”

For Dan Clemente, the M.S.N. program at Benedictine encouraged him to pursue teaching as a potential career.

“This was an invaluable experience that I truly cherished as it gave me a perspective on the expectations of being a nursing educator as well as the preparation required,” Clemente said. “The passion that the Nursing faculty has about teaching was inspiring to see and made me more convinced that being an educator is my calling.

“Benedictine has encouraged me to be a lifetime learner who values involvement in a professional organization,” he added. “More importantly, I learned valuable leadership and teaching skills which I am applying as I continue to build upon my passion to provide direct patient care. My ultimate goal is to be able to teach while being clinically grounded because I feel that this will make me more effective in both roles.”

In addition to the main campus in Lisle, the RN to BSN program is also offered at partner institutions including the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn; Triton College in River Grove; Morton College in Cicero; Memorial Medical Center in Springfield; and Richland Community College in Decatur.

Benedictine University – the fastest-growing University in the country – promises its students an affordable and attainable education infused with the Benedictine values that creates better learners, leaders and world citizens.

For more information on Benedictine’s Nursing programs, visit or contact (630) 829-6300 or


Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 55 undergraduate majors and 17 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 1 among the country’s fastest-growing campuses between 2001-2011 in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of private nonprofit research institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the third consecutive year in 2013. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area in 2013.

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Gary Kohn
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(630) 829-6095