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Barton Nursing students get real world experience
new slt nursing feature BCC
LPN and Barton Nursing student Kristin Wondra, left, Pat Kottas and CNA and Barton Nursing student Anissa Widiger pose in a nursing laboratory on the Barton Community College Campus. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Pat Kottas needed both knees replaced. The years of his youth spent crouched as a baseball catcher and playing football coupled with the subsequent years of chasing his kids around, coaching their sports teams and climbing multiple sets of stairs daily at work, had left him unable to stand up straight. After some badgering from his family, which included Barton Community College’s Director of Nursing and Healthcare Education Programs Dr. Kathy Kottas, the time had come for him to bite the bullet and succumb to his bilateral knee replacement surgery on Dec. 13, 2013.
Upon waking up in post-op at Great Bend Regional Hospital, Pat was cared for with great attention to detail by two young ladies. Pat noticed the high quality of care and the intense professionalism and shared his sentiments with his wife Kathy, who then informed him that both nurses were Barton nursing students who were working the night shift during their respective Christmas breaks. Kristin Wondra, who had finished her Licensed Practical Nurse Certificate, was working toward her Registered Nurse Certificate and Anissa Widiger, who had finished her Certified Nurse Aide Certificate, was working toward her LPN. Both were at his bedside during his initial recovery period.
“I was very impressed with how I was taken care of,” Pat said. “If I hadn’t been told by Kathy, there is no way I would have known they were still students because they were so professional and did such a good job.”
Kathy said seeing her efforts come full circle was very fulfilling.
“I felt almost like a proud mama,” she said. “It’s great to see students that my faculty and I have worked with and nurtured grow into the nurses that they are,” she said. “They came to us being good women, so that made our job easy — we just showed them the nursing side of it.”
The students said she they try to provide the kind of care they would want to receive.
“I want them to have the best experience possible,” Wondra said. “Everybody needs to be treated well.”
“I do everything I can to make them comfortable so they can recover and go home to their families,” Widiger said. “Nobody wants to sit around and be miserable any longer than they have to.”
Kottas said the nursing program at Barton emphasizes teamwork and clinical experience to produce nurses who are prepared for real-life situations.
“We get them to the bedside early,” Kottas said. “I’m very proud of the clinical experiences our students gain, and we have great clinical sites right here in Great Bend as well as Hoisington, Larned and Ellinwood. They also are able to go to Hays, Wichita, Salina and Dodge City. We utilize a variety of settings so they get to see a lot of different things.”
Both students said their experience at Barton has prepared them to be successful in the field.
“The instructors know what they are talking about because they’ve experienced it in real life,” Wondra said. “They are always willing to help out if you have questions. Barton is a great school with a lot of good opportunities.”
“The instructors definitely help us as far as what to expect when we get in the field, and really helping us understand why we are doing things,” Widiger said. “We are very prepared.”