Cyndi Wolfer | Clinical Instructor, Pacific Lutheran University

Cyndi Wolfer | Clinical Instructor, Pacific Lutheran University

Year of the Nurse Scholarship Recipient

“I have always loved helping people, even when I was little,” says Cyndi Wolfer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to think about growing up to work in healthcare in some capacity, and by the time Cyndi was in high school, she was working part time as a nursing assistant in a nursing home in her Massachusetts town. 

“Helping people live healthier, better lives was rewarding to me and I started making plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing, even though the associate degree path was more common at the time,” Cyndi says. Her family valued education and reminded her often of its importance. In the early 1980s, she went to college, graduating with a BSN from Russell Sage College in 1983. 

A start at Duke University Medical Center

After starting her career for a year at a hospital in Albany, New York, Cyndi decided to try working somewhere else in the country. She was hired at Duke University Medical Center as a staff RN before moving into an interim orthopedic clinical nurse specialist role. Being in the academia environment rubbed off on her—Cyndi was a staff clinical instructor there as well—and Cyndi decided to earn the MSN Nursing Education at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, while she was at it. 

The itch the travel 

Armed with a master’s degree and hit with wanderlust, Cyndi started doing travel nursing in 1990, moving somewhere new in the U.S. every few months. Eventually, she settled in the Tacoma, Washington, area in the mid 1990s—and has been there ever since. “I took a job as a clinical nurse specialist on a medical-surgical unit, but really, I wanted to get into teaching,” Cyndi recalls. Full-time positions were hard to come by at the time, but she was fortunate enough to get an adjunct role at Tacoma Community College. Her ideal position was always top of mind, however: working for Pacific Lutheran University. 

Achieving her goal

In 2001, a colleague at Pacific Lutheran encouraged Cyndi to apply where she too was working: Pacific Lutheran. Cyndi worked half time as a clinical instructor while raising her young children. “I was thrilled, because I really believe in the BSN program, and I think it’s so important that nurses, who interact with everyone at the hospital, get that degree,” she says. 

To keep up her knowledge, Cyndi has continued working part time and now, per diem, in a clinical setting, both at a healthcare facility and an urgent care facility. She became a full-time clinical instructor at Pacific Lutheran in 2012. “I really love working with students on developing their critical thinking skills using case studies and things like that,” she says. “I love teaching the most evidence-based practice and showing students how to apply different kinds of practice.” 

Back for a doctorate

Though Cyndi had achieved many of her career goals, she wanted to further her education and a Doctor of Nursing Practice seemed like an ideal fit. “The DNP is focused on practice, and it fits really well with what I’m doing as a clinical instructor,” she says. A colleague attending American Sentinel University recommended the university to Cyndi and she liked what she saw and got started in August 2019. “Already, I’ve found some of the classes have opened my eyes to the fact that we need to step up and change the way students learn, based on great research out there. That’s something I’m now focusing on that was brought to my attention in my classes at American Sentinel.” 

Year of the Nurse Scholarship

Receiving the Year of the Nurse Scholarship will make Cyndi’s educational journey more achievable. “This helps me so much, as I am really focused on the finish line, and it was a big relief to get this kind of help,” she says. “What a year it has been for nursing! To receive this scholarship named for nurses this year of all years is special.” 

As for the future, Cyndi hopes to gain credibility and pursue opportunities for leadership at Pacific Lutheran. “My eyes are opened and there are things I hope to do and change,” she says. “In doing this, my hope is to give back to nursing—that next generation of nurses. I love giving back to the community. And that’s what nursing and my career has been about.” 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” and American Sentinel is celebrating by offering a Year of the Nurse Scholarship. Several scholarships are awarded per quarter in 2020. Congratulations to this quarter’s recipients. Learn more and apply here

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