Bethany Nursing Grad Tessa Chambers

Picture shows a Bethany nursing graduate.
Tessa (Anderson ’21) Chambers is employed at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato.

The bachelor of science in nursing program at Bethany is producing exceptional graduates who are making immediate impacts at the health care facilities they are working for. Among those graduates is Tessa Chambers (’21). A native of Princeton, Minnesota, Chambers first learned about Bethany, and the nursing program, through her church in Princeton – Bethany Lutheran.

Chambers said, “As I began my college search, I wanted to ensure that I found a school that was right for me. I toured countless other colleges and universities and Bethany was the only one that felt right. I visited for the Getaway Weekend, and it was after this stay on campus that I knew Bethany was where I wanted to attend.”

Chambers’s visit to campus helped to solidify her decision to enroll at Bethany, and she was assured that the school fit her needs academically. Bethany’s mission was also an important part of her decision process. And while she perhaps didn’t realize it at the time, Bethany’s Christian focus has proven to be a significant factor in her nursing career as well.

“Faith has always been important to me. As I was searching for a college, the spiritual component was not a necessity, but it was an added bonus. At Bethany, it was a blessing to be able to talk about religion while in the nursing classroom setting, because while caring for a patient, it is essential that nurses do so holistically. This means spiritually, mentally, and physically.”

Bethany’s right size and its commitment to personal mentoring for each and every student really shaped Chambers’s experience.

“I knew that the smaller classes would be very beneficial for my education. I knew that professors would go above and beyond to ensure that I was successful. I also knew that professors would be able to get to know all of their students personally and actually remember their names.”

One Bethany faculty member that Chambers credits for helping to shape her outlook and career ambitions was Assistant Professor of Nursing Cheryl Clendenin.

Nursing lab at Bethany Lutheran College
Professor Cheryl Clendenin in the Bethany Nursing Lab.

“She was an admirable mentor for me during my time in the nursing program. Her wisdom and expertise within the classroom and clinical setting were valuable beyond measure.”

That personal mentoring, when combined with exceptional experiences in the classroom, helped to focus Chambers’s outlook as a future nurse.

”When I look back on my time at Bethany, there are countless memories of wonderful experiences. One class that has meant the most to me was Maternal Childbearing Health. That class was such an amazing reminder that life is truly a miracle.”

Chambers contemplated studying nursing after experiencing exceptional caregiving firsthand after suffering a knee injury during high school.

She explained, “After having multiple surgeries in high school for a torn ACL and meniscus, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. During my personal experience in the hospital, it was the nurses who helped me to feel the most comfortable. They were the ones who walked me through every step of my surgical and hospital experience: pre, intra, and post op. After this experience, I knew that I wanted to provide the same level of care and comfort to others.”

For students who are considering nursing as a major, it’s important to make that decision as an incoming freshman, or as soon as possible, as the program curriculum is prescribed and sequenced. Bethany makes certain that all new students, regardless of their major, have the opportunity to meet with program directors or a faculty member to help put them on the right path immediately. Chambers took advantage of that opportunity.

“When I enrolled at Bethany, I knew that I wanted to major in nursing. I was able to meet Dr. Sara Traylor (Bethany’s Nursing Director) for the first time during early registration. And that personal mentoring continued throughout the program,” said Chambers.

She continued, “The Bethany nursing program is a rigorous program that prepares students not only to pass the NCLEX (nursing board certification), but it also prepares students to enter into the workforce. The professors want their students to succeed. There were countless times in which I met with professors outside of class to receive additional help to better understand the topics we were learning. The nursing professors at Bethany pushed me to always look at the whole clinical picture and to be a lifelong learner.”

Bethany’s perfect size wasn’t apparent to Chambers just in the classroom.

“I was hopeful that I would make lifelong friends while attending Bethany because everyone that I had met during my visit was very friendly and welcoming. And I certainly have made lifelong friends that contributed to my delightful Bethany experience.”

Chambers is now employed by Mayo Clinic Health System, and she credits her Bethany nursing education for helping her land the job she very much enjoys.

“Being a nurse is such a rewarding profession. It is almost too difficult to put into words how rewarding it is. We have the honor of caring for people in what may be a very vulnerable time in their life. We are able to make a difference in the lives of not only our patients, but also their families. We are given the opportunity to enhance lives and to promote wellness. The most rewarding part about my job is exactly that.”

As Chambers looks to the future, she’s now preparing for her upcoming wedding and continuing her nursing career, but also following the advice of Bethany professors – with perhaps additional learning is on the horizon.

“As I look to the future, I hope to one day be a charge nurse and possibly go back to school to get my master’s degree and work as a nurse manager. One of the best parts about nursing is that there is a vast variety of areas within health care in which we are able to work.”

Note: This story was originally published in 2022 Spring/Summer issue of the Bethany Magazine.