10 Questions with Deb Balthaser Poling '79, PhD, MSN, BSN, FNP-BC, NLN

Deb Balthaser

Year of graduation from Mount Carmel School of Nursing: 1979, Diploma

Other degrees/conferring university/certifications: After Mount Carmel, I went on to earn my BSN from Purdue University and my MSN from Indiana University. In addition, I earned a PhD from the University of Northern Colorado.

I was certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner by the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) before taking additional course work to achieve my current board certification: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-BC). I also am a Certified Nurse Educator through the National League for Nursing (NLN).

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

City currently living in: Fort Wayne, Ind.

Where do you currently work: I am graduate director of Graduate Nursing Programs, Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW).

Professional highlights: I ran a school-based health clinic in Denver, Colorado. In addition, I worked as a nurse practitioner and case manager as I completed research for my dissertation at Children’s Hospital Colorado. I have been fortunate to teach many nursing students throughout the years and continue to do so at IPFW.

When did you first feel the call to be a nurse? My mother had polio and was hospitalized a great deal of the time when I was growing up, so I spent lots of time in the hospital as a visitor. I am sure this inspired me. It was during my pediatric rotation at Mount Carmel that I knew I wanted to pursue Nursing Education. I loved the faculty and loved the children.

What television show do you have to DVR every week? I’m a little embarrassed about it, but I love “The Bachelor.”

What is your favorite memory of Mount Carmel? I have so many. For one thing, I met my husband during my first semester at Mount Carmel. We had a party with some of his fraternity friends at The Ohio State University, where he was a student. I also remember the receptionists who were like our “mothers” away from home. I loved all of my classmates and wonderful faculty. I also remember working every other weekend as a “ward clerk” on 8 North at Mount Carmel West until I graduated. My “head nurse” was Sallie Bobb, and I loved her.

How has your Mount Carmel network helped you in your life, personally or professionally or both? I moved out of Columbus shortly after graduation and lived in Indiana, Colorado, and back in Indiana again, so I have not had as much contact with my alma mater as I would have liked. I have returned to a few alumni events and plan to attend more often in the future.

What book is currently on your nightstand (or at the top of your Kindle favorites)? Lisa Terkeurst’s “Unglued.”

What advice would you like to share with other nurses as they move from student to alumni of Mount Carmel? Know that you are graduating from a wonderful program. When I was graduating, Mount Carmel graduates were sought after, as they are today. My strong background really helped me be a successful nurse and, when I went for my BSN, my classmates were amazed at my knowledge base. They had not heard about all the diseases that I was able to describe. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I was often bringing up the rear in class!

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