Bailey (Kusser) Tetrault from Highmore, S.D., graduated from Black Hills State University in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and minors in chemistry and business. Tetrault also played for the BHSU women’s basketball team. Today she works fulltime for Monument Health in Spearfish as an outpatient infusion registered nurse.
Falling in love with BHSU after only one visit, she knew that the aroma of the sawmill less than a mile off campus would soon become a symbol for home. Professor of biology and chief research officer Dr. Charlie Lamb was also a big part of why Tetrault chose to attend the university.
“I was able to meet with Dr. Lamb to discuss my course of study,” Bailey says. “His straight-forward, no-nonsense attitude drew me into the Yellow Jacket lifestyle even more.”
Bailey grew up on a ranch working with animals and the environment, so she was drawn to the science field. After her years as an undergrad, Bailey intended to pursue a physician assistant program, but adjusted her plan and went to a one-year accelerated nursing program. “Nursing has taught me so much. It is such a versatile profession,” she shares.
Bailey took a redshirt year during her junior season after having knee surgery, so she attended BHSU for five years. She has been working with Monument Health for three years now. Below she answers questions about her experience on the BHSU campus and in the healthcare profession.
Q: What is one of your best experiences as someone in the healthcare profession?
A: “One of my best experiences is when I meet a new patient that is having a rough go and I am able to make things better in some small way. I have a soft spot for my chemotherapy patients as I watched my mom go through that trauma. To be able to give some education, comfort or just a set of ears to listen to them for a while, it is often the simple gestures that comfort patients the most in my experience.”
Q: How did your experience at BHSU help prepare you for where you are today?
A: “I definitely learned how to work with a team when times are tough. That was one thing our women’s team had going for us, chemistry. Slumps happened, but we were able to pull each other out of them. The healthcare team I’m a part of is very similar.”
Q: What is it like working in the healthcare profession right now during the pandemic?
A: “It is stressful because everything is so uncertain and ever-changing, but our Spearfish crew works together so well that patient care hasn’t lacked in the slightest. Our Spearfish family is so fantastic, but there’s a chance I’m a bit biased. Because of the pandemic, providers are using a ton of telehealth or phone conferences; however, in my department my patients have to come into the hospital to receive treatment. Because of this, I am often the only healthcare provider patients see face-to-face so they usually have quite a few questions. Luckily through chart review and the close communication with their doctors, I can help clarify some things. We have taken extra precautions to ensure patient safety, those include employee and patient screenings, wearing masks and eye shields, etc.”
Q: How did BHSU help prepare you for life after graduation?
A: “BHSU gave me countless leadership opportunities that helped prepare me for any career I chose. Life is busy; staying active in college helped me prioritize, plan, and follow-through in my studies and activities. Being a member of the women’s basketball team, Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Health Sciences Student Organization, etc., taught me how to manage my time appropriately.”
Q: What three tips would you give incoming freshmen?
A: 1. Do not be in a hurry to grow up, but take your future into your own hands. 2. Approach each day with an open mind; after all, you are there to learn. 3. Ask questions. Study hard. Go to class.
Bailey is not only currently in the field she loves, but she has enrolled in courses at BHSU-Rapid City to advance in her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in the next couple of years.
About Biology at BHSU
A Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from BHSU provides students the opportunity to explore the diverse sub-disciplines of biology. Students may choose an emphasis in Environmental Biology with laboratory and field courses that focus on ecological principles, plant and animal biology, and conservation; or an emphasis in Cellular Biology and Physiology with lecture and laboratory courses ranging from Cell & Molecular biology, to Neurobiology, and Genomics. BHSU provides Biology majors with opportunities to conduct authentic research in labs outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment.
Earning a degree in biology will open the door to a variety of engaging careers. A biology graduate may pursue a career as a physician, physical therapist, pharmacist, marine biologist, forensic scientist and other high need areas.
Want to learn more? Visit www.BHSU.edu/Biology
or contact Lamb at Charles.Lamb@BHSU.edu