Name: Heather Askren
Company: Franciscan Health Lafayette East
Position: Director of Oncology
Graduation Year: 1999
Hometown: Attica, Indiana
WHY DID YOU BECOME A NURSE?
I always wanted to be a nurse! Ever since I was little, that is what I told my mom I was going to do.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE ST. ELIZABETH SCHOOL OF NURSING?
I chose St. Elizabeth School of Nursing because they had smaller classes and hands-on learning. Your clinicals started during your first semester rather than a few years in and they have an awesome staff!
WHAT IS YOUR BEST MEMORY FROM NURSING SCHOOL?
Some of my favorite memories from nursing school involve the study sessions we would have in the old St. Elizabeth building. The friendships that came from those sessions will last for a lifetime. We’ve since had families and been able to watch each other’s children grow up and that has been really special.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A NEW NURSE?
I would advise getting to know your unit and co-nurses, ask questions and realize you won’t know everything upon graduation. There is still so much to learn in the field of nursing.
HOW DID ST. ELIZABETH SCHOOL OF NURSING PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR CAREER?
St. Elizabeth prepares you from the very start. They get you into local hospitals and working with patients immediately. They help you get to know other nurses and, in the end, they help find you a place to work.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE FIELD AFTER YOU COMPLETED YOUR DEGREE?
My first job was at Home Hospital in the medical oncology unit. It wasn’t my dream job but it did get me interested in oncology which is where I have stayed for the rest of my career.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR CURRENT POSITION?
I love the variety that I have. I’m able to assess different policies and procedures and how those line up with what the nurses are doing and how that impacts patient care. Interacting with the staff and patients is also a favorite when I’m on the job!
WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST PART ABOUT BEING A NURSE?
The toughest part is long hours and the potential for weekends and holidays missed with family.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT AT WORK?
I love to travel, go on cruises, spend time with my family and I’m an avid Chicago Cubs fan so I love watching them play.