Meet Jennifer McFee, recent graduate of the University of Arizona College of Nursing’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing Integrative Health (BSN-IH) pathway. Fueled by a passion for the art and science of nursing, the Arizona native was one of 24 students to earn their degrees in the program’s inaugural cohort on Dec. 17.
“Jennifer was an outstanding example of the integrative nursing principles throughout this program,” says BSN-IH Program Director Betty Parisek, EdD, MSN, RN. “She consistently utilized a holistic mind-body-spirit approach in her communication and clinical practice, and was a leader among her peers. As an Honors student in the BSN-IH program, she acted as the student representative for the BSN-IH program, earned numerous scholarships, earned IHI Quality and Safety certification, and is a member of two Honor Societies.”
Learn more about Jennifer and her impressive nursing journey, which will lead her next to the Mayo Clinic’s Nurse Residency Program in Rochester, Minnesota.
“Our professors helped us navigate the unexpected challenges that come with attending a new program while providing us with unparalleled support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the difficult circumstances of 2020, I graduated from the College of Nursing feeling prepared and excited for my future in nursing," ~ Jennifer McFee, BSN-IH Inaugural Cohort
Why did you choose to pursue a career in nursing?
My first experience with healthcare came from the Certified Nursing Assistant program I completed my senior year of high school, and I fell in love with the art and science that is nursing. My career interests varied over the years but generally included fields such as teaching, social work and biology. I decided to apply to nursing school when I realized that nursing was the perfect combination of all my career interests and allowed me to provide the type of patient-centered care I believe in. The flexibility and variety of career opportunities within the nursing field was also a major draw for me, and I love that nurses have the capacity to better the lives of others in so many different ways.
What drew you to apply to UArizona’s BSN-IH program in Gilbert?
I grew up in Phoenix and have always loved the surrounding areas, so I was happy to hear that a new program would be opening up in downtown Gilbert. Moving back to Phoenix for nursing school allowed me to be close to family and friends and maintain a strong support system during my nursing school journey. I was also extremely interested in the Integrative Health emphasis of the BSN-IH program, and I felt that learning complementary and integrative nursing therapies would improve my ability to provide optimal patient-centered care. Nursing is an intrinsically holistic profession that focuses on caring for the whole person rather than just the disease, and I really enjoyed attending a nursing program that emphasized this concept.
How would you describe your experience over the course of the program?
It was a very special experience being a member of the inaugural BSN-IH cohort. Our professors helped us navigate the unexpected challenges that come with attending a new program while providing us with unparalleled support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the difficult circumstances of 2020, I graduated from the College of Nursing feeling prepared and excited for my future in nursing. This program brought me life-long friends, mentors, and memories, and I could not be more grateful to be a Wildcat Nurse.
What has been your greatest takeaway from the program?
My greatest takeaway from attending the BSN-IH program is the importance of acknowledging patients’ wellbeing in the context of their environment and relationships. An individual’s wellbeing is not merely based on the absence of disease but also the presence of positive factors in their life. Graduating from the BSN-IH program has encouraged me to address and promote my patients’ health on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels, and I aim for my nursing care to have a positive impact along multiple ecological levels. The best part of nursing is having the ability to touch and improve lives in such a wide variety of ways.
Tell us about your post-graduation plans.
This spring, I am excited to be joining Mayo Clinic’s Nurse Residency Program at their main campus in Rochester, Minnesota! I accepted a new graduate nurse position on the Cardiovascular Surgery & Transplant unit and cannot wait to explore my passion for cardiac nursing as I transition into the professional nurse role. Following the year-long residency program, I hope to precept nursing students and incoming new graduates while also contributing to research or quality improvement projects within the Mayo Clinic health system.