Dr. Suzanne Bellinger
Allen College Class of 2009 – Master of Science in Nursing, Education
Associate Professor of Nursing at Allen College August 2010 – present. Prior to taking a faculty position I was an adjunct clinical instructor from February 2003 – August 2010. I have also worked at MercyOne Waterloo Medical Center, formerly Covenant Medical Center, since 1992. I started there as a student nurse tech and when I graduated with my BSN in 1994, I began my Labor and Delivery nursing career. I have worn numerous hats during my time at MercyOne. I am currently the Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Birth Center where I oversee education and orientation for about 75 nurses and techs.
I guess you could say that I am very passionate about education in general. I love working with students because they are like blank pages of a book that I can help fill with knowledge and respect for the profession they will be entering. I also love educating my nurses and seeing them put what I taught them into practice. Much of what I do is to make them feel safe and supported in all that they do. We also can’t lose sight of the patients who trust us with their care. I feel like my job educating future and current nurses ultimately helps them provide the most kind, compassionate, and safe care to their patients and families. At the end of the day, the patient is why we do what we do!
What led you to pursue your education at Allen College?
If I am being honest – Darlene Shipp. Darlene taught the OB class at Allen College for years and years and was the lead faculty when I was working as an adjunct clinical instructor. I had vowed to never go back to school once I graduated with my BSN, but Darlene said she would like to eventually retire and thought I would be a good replacement for her. So, after 12 years of working as a bedside nurse, I went back to school because I needed my MSN to teach in the classroom, and the rest is history. I will be forever grateful to Darlene who often tells people that she hand-picked me. I will never feel as if I could ever fill the shoes of Darlene or another role model in the maternal newborn world – Susan Junaid. Susan was the reason I became an adjunct clinical instructor for Allen College. She had Allen College students on the OB unit at Covenant and we got along so well. She was an absolute gem of a human being and I was honored to have known her.
What piece of advice would you give to current Allen students?
Without sounding too cliché, be the best you can be and always treat your patients like they are someone you love. Never forget your purpose and why you chose nursing as your profession. You can learn from the good nurses and the not so good… At the end of the day, the only person you have any control over is yourself so don’t waste energy on things or people you can’t control. Just love what you do and if you quit loving it – find something else to do that feeds your heart and soul. Oh, one last thing – when you are a nurse don’t ever forget what it was like to be a student! Students are our future and we need to help them flourish and grow.
Hobbies or Interests?
My husband Warren and I are empty-nesters and have three adult “kids” – Tyler (Amanda), Shelby (Taylor), and Shianne (Jarrett) and three grandsons – Cole, Kayson, Hudson and one adopted granddaughter, Jaelynn. We have had a very busy late summer/fall with welcoming two grandsons seven days apart and the marriage of our son, Shelby to his wife, Taylor in October. We live on an acreage outside of Denver and enjoy hanging out with our kids and parents. We collect antique tractors and steam engines, so chances are we are running around our acreage on something! We also enjoy being at our place in Harper’s Ferry. I have gone there since I was little visiting my grandparents. Just this year I purchased our family place that we have always called, “The River.” We look forward to making many family memories there with our kids and grandkids.
Any accomplishments, awards, proud moments, etc.?
I have received a few awards in my day but to be honest, my biggest accomplishments in life are my kids, grandkids, and having two jobs that I absolutely love. I feel very fortunate to be able to love what I do and to hopefully pass that onto tomorrow’s future nurses.