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Carolina Nurses Go the Distance

While Rochester, Minnesota, might not be the first place you think of when you think Carolina alumni, several of our young alumni now call it home. Why? The Mayo Clinic.

Senna Desjardins, ’15 B.S.N., never imagined herself living more than 1,000 miles from Columbia, South Carolina, where she grew up. But after meeting with a recruiter at the South Carolina Student Nurses Association conference, Desjardins applied for and was offered a position in the cardiac surgery progressive unit at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus just a few months post-graduation.

“Being a new nurse is scary. There’s no one looking over your shoulder anymore. It comes with a great deal of responsibility. Mayo did a great job of supporting us as we started,” Desjardins said. “They have an incredible postgrad educational program to ensure new grads are well-trained to start off in critical care.”

Lauren Alexander, ’15 B.S.N., made the move to Rochester with Desjardins last July. Alexander, an RN in the medical intensive care unit, chose Mayo in part for its status as a magnet recognized program. She felt the environment cultivated by Mayo Clinic was the right place for her to begin her career.

Another alumnus, Blake Frazier, ’12 B.S.N., works alongside Desjardins in the cardiac surgery ICU. After interning at the Mayo Clinic the summer before his senior year, Frazier began in the ICU taking care of transplant patients before transferring to the cardiac surgery ICU two years ago as a staff nurse.

Like Desjardins, Frazier was a little unsure about moving so far from home, but clinical assistant professor Kate Chappell and retired faculty member Gloria Fowler gave him the push he needed to take the leap.

“Taking an opportunity far from home can be a great chance to be more independent, get experiences in a different health care culture or a type of patient unit that may not be available closer to home,” Chappell said. “They can bring those experiences back closer to home in a couple of years if that makes sense for the next step in their career.”


Reprinted from the Spring 2016 issue of the College of Nursing magazine.