Emily Weesner Clark
Infection Control Nurse
Indiana Department of Corrections
One glance at alumni Emily Weesner Clark’s resume and it is immediately recognizable she chose a career path one might yearn to hear more about. Since graduating in 2017 from St. Elizabeth School of Nursing, Emily has most recently taken a position with the Indiana Department of Corrections as an Infectious Diseases Control nurse at a male incarceration facility in Southern Indiana. She is also a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) at a local hospital and board certified in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing. A Lafayette, Indiana native, Emily finds solace managing animal healthcare on her family’s farm. What fortunate winged and four-legged creatures to be under her tender loving care.
WHY DID YOU BECOME A NURSE?
I was blessed to see firsthand how being a nurse had a positive impact on both the body and spirit of patients. My mom and I followed in my grandmother’s nursing footsteps. My mother and grandmother gave comforting words and bandages to children as school nurses. As an OB nurse, my mom aided mothers in bringing new lives into the world. As a nurse practitioner and professor of nursing, Mom educates, heals, and uplifts all in her care. Watching these important women in my life inspired me to do the same.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO ATTEND ST. ELIZABETH SCHOOL OF NURSING?
Fresh out of high school, I had the opportunity to travel to Haiti on two medical mission trips led by St. Elizabeth. I lent aid to a Haitian orphanage following the devastating earthquake of 2010, leaving many children homeless and without parents. Both opportunities inspired me to pursue my nursing education. These trips helped me fall in love with St. Elizabeth and the way they prepared nurses to continue Christ’s healing ministry.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO NEW NURSES?
Do not be afraid to ask questions, especially if you have a gut feeling about a situation. Find a mentor you’re comfortable with to ask questions, review information or approach with any problems you may be having. Making this connection is essential when growing your confidence as a new nurse.
HOW DID ST. ELIZABETH SCHOOL OF NURSING PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR CAREER?
One of my biggest takeaways from St. Elizabeth was the leadership opportunities and education provided to students. I learned how to delegate work, communicate with colleagues and troubleshoot problems in a professional and confident manner. Because of this foundation, I collaborate with my team of nurses, aides, technicians and physicians effectively.
IF YOU WEREN'T A NURSE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
I’d be a veterinarian. I grew up on a farm and currently help manage it with my family. I give vaccines, help deliver new animals, care for broken bones and provide any care the animals may need.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE FIELD AFTER YOU COMPLETED YOUR DEGREE?
My first job in the nursing field was as a mental health nurse at an independent pediatric and adolescent psychiatric facility. I treated a wide range of behaviors and disorders such as depression, anger, psychosis and addiction.
WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?
I am currently a corrections infection control nurse at a prison in southern Indiana.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR CURRENT JOB?
I love working in the correctional setting because of the vast experience it provides. I see patients who require routine appointments, urgent care-like needs, as well as treat those suffering from seizures or overdoses, much like an ER would. Mental health patients are also under my care. We care for not only offenders, but also custody staff when injuries arise.
WHAT POPULATIONS DO YOU SERVE?
I serve 1,600 adult male offenders and I also provide care to corrections officers.
WHAT'S THE TOUGHEST PART ABOUT BEING A NURSE?
In my opinion, one of the toughest parts about being a nurse is not only the physical demands but also the mental wear and tear. It’s critical to take care of yourself first before you can take care of others to avoid nurse burnout.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AND YOUR NURSING PRACTICE THROUGH THE LENS OF THE SCHOOL'S MISSION OF PREPARING NURSES TO CONTINUE IN CHRIST'S HEALING MINISTRY?
I strive to show compassion to my patients, every day, regardless if they are a victim or the offender in all situations.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU'RE NOT AT WORK?
I spend a lot of time working on our family farm. We have an outreach program and lease livestock to 4-H families in the city who do not always have opportunities as those who grow up in the country. They learn about agriculture, responsibilities and life on the farm. I enjoy going on hikes with my family and volunteering at my local state park.