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Leading with Compassion and Commitment

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As a CNS during COVID-19, Katie Brown, BSN ’12, MSN ’17, has earned accolades as a top performer and is responsible for implementing the ever-changing personal protective equipment (PPE) protocols at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Getting to this point was not an easy path.

“It felt like I was living in a nightmare for days,” says Brown, after losing her parents in a tragic car accident at the age of twenty.

Brown, who was living in Fowlerville, Michigan at the time, became the legal guardian of her younger brother while completing her registered nurse (RN) degree at a community college. Brown’s dog, Hunter, was the only one to survive the accident. “We considered him our ray of light through it all,” she says.

Through this unimaginable tragedy, the local community rallied around Brown’s family by providing emotional support and assistance with finances and gifts during the holidays. “Moving from Metro-Detroit to a smaller community was one of the best decisions my parents made,” says Brown, “I will forever be grateful for coming from a small town. Having that close-knit community truly did impact my upbringing and outcome of my story.”

Having also come from a family that bleeds green, Brown enrolled in the RN-BSN program, where her journey as a Spartan Nurse was met with faculty who influenced her greatly. “Kathleen Poindexter, Chastity Warren, and Linda Hansen were my favorite,” says Brown, “They all gave me the confidence to believe when I didn’t believe in myself.”

“Katie Brown was one of those students that made a profound impression on me that will resonate a lifetime. She approached her education the same way she approaches life – with commitment, compassion, and endless enthusiasm,” says Dr. Kathleen Poindexter.

With this level of determination, Brown went on to complete the Clinical Nurse Specialist program, where Dr. Kathy Poindexter encouraged her to submit an abstract presentation to a conference hosted by the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS). To her surprise, Brown was able to network and secure a position at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Now pursuing her Doctorate of Nurse Practice (DNP), Brown stresses the importance of accepting new challenges, a mindset that was instilled in her at the College of Nursing, “You really have to challenge your comfort zone to find out what you’re capable of in life. As cliché as that may sound, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without the people that truly pushed me as I reflect on my circumstances,” she says.

The perseverance that Brown has shown is what defines her as a leading voice in the field.