Several days a week, you can find Hannah Jo Selan cruising through Rapid City, driving from one position of advocacy to another. Whether she is editing notes as a medical scribe, studying physiology to better understand the needs of her future patients, or developing programming for students at Black Hills State University-Rapid City, Hannah lends her voice to those who need to be heard.
Hannah’s interest in healthcare was piqued at an early age by her mother’s job as an occupational therapist. After high school, Hannah went straight into the field, becoming a certified nursing assistant. While she loved the interaction with her patients, she wanted to develop a stronger voice to promote patient care. This desire drove her to the BHSU Applied Health Sciences associate’s degree program, which will provide all the core classes she needs before applying to nursing school.
“I want to get my bachelor’s degree in nursing to become the best advocate for my patients that I can,” says Hannah. “Nurses are the creative force behind healthcare—having a degree puts weight behind my words.”
BHSU prepares approximately 60 students per year for admission into nursing programs. The associate’s degree in Applied Health Sciences offers students like Hannah all the general education and core classes required for admission into nursing programs at South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota, as well as for other bachelor degree-level programs. The entire program is available on campus at Spearfish as well as at BHSU-RC.
The associate’s degree was developed to provide students with a straightforward track toward furthering their healthcare goals.
“At other colleges, you’re forced to figure out how to cobble all the core classes together,” says Hannah. “But coming from BHSU, it’s easier to be accepted into a competitive nursing program, because you already have a college degree. BHSU says, ‘Here’s the package—here’s your associate degree—now go to nursing school!’”
After pursuing her bachelor’s degree, Hannah hopes to continue her education even further.
“I want to go on to become a nurse practitioner, which will allow me to make even more health care decisions with my patients,” says Hannah. “I would also like to get into a teaching role, teaching nursing classes and inspiring those who will go into nursing.”
In the meantime, Hannah isn’t waiting for a degree to practice advocacy. At BHSU-RC, Hannah is the president of the Student Advisory Board.
“I wanted BHSU-RC to feel more like a college community,” says Hannah. “Because Rapid City’s campus has mostly non-traditional students, there is a cool challenge to get more activities, drives, and clubs started that could keep people on campus longer.”
Recently, multiple new clubs and student organizations have been formed at BHSU-RC, including He’Sapa Oyate American Indian Club, Sociology and Human Services Collective, and Speech and Debate Club.
“It’s been really exciting, seeing how students are making Rapid City a community,” says Hannah.
Hannah’s road to on-campus involvement and leadership began with her positive relationships with BHSU-RC faculty members.
“Dr. Amy Asunskis was my chemistry professor during my first semester,” remembers Hannah. “She is very approachable, so she was a great welcoming faculty member to the BHSU family.”
After embracing the BHSU-RC community, Hannah began to dive deeper into her challenging area of study. She soon realized the steadfast dedication required to become a nurse, but was always spurred on by her favorite professor.
“Pam Arneson is a great, intense science teacher who expects a lot from you,” says Hannah. Every semester Arneson stresses that the information her students are learning could make the difference between their patients living or dying. Hannah takes this to heart when studying difficult material, not just to pass a test, but to implement this knowledge for the rest of her career.
Hannah’s enthusiasm for BHSU-RC has apparently rubbed off on her family.
“My brother is actually coming to BHSU-RC this spring!” says Hannah. “Ever since he graduated high school, I’ve told him how I loved all my professors and encouraged him to come to campus with me—he was convinced!”
BHSU-RC is located at 4300 Cheyenne Blvd. on the east side of Rapid City with easy access from I-90. The University is committed to serving veterans, has a large network of alumni living in the region, and has a business program in the top five percent of business schools worldwide. In spring 2018, BHSU-RC will debut a new block schedule providing students a new and flexible way to take classes.
BHSU-RC continues to collaborate with South Dakota Board of Regents institutions to provide a variety of degree options to students. The public is also invited to observe classes through a $100 Visitor Pass program.
For more information on BHSU-RC, contact Jake Hamik, Jacob.Hamik@BHSU.edu or 605-718-4194.