By Indiana State University
Apr 15, 2019
Renee Bauer brings a lot of extra zeal to Indiana State University’s already zealous department of baccalaureate nursing.
“There’s a lot of passion in the nursing department,” said Bauer, associate professor of baccalaureate nursing and director of accelerated BSN nursing track. “I get to meet with people from other degrees and be part of the team that grooms these students daily so they graduate from here already acting and thinking like nurses.”
Bauer’s expertise is in psychiatric nursing and for a majority of her 12 years at State she has taught the course in mental health nursing, a fielding subject for the former psychiatric nurse for children and adolescents.
“No matter where you work or what domain of nursing you’re in, you will use your psychology skills. They will help you in your communication with patients and you can’t separate brain and body. They work together,” Bauer said. “When I experience burnout and feel like I’m not making a difference, there will be a former student I’ve taught reach out to me and say that because of me they want to work in psychology. This is a career where I can pass on my knowledge to future generations and get the interested in nursing.”
After graduating from high school, Bauer attempted college a first time as a first generation student. Though her first attempt at higher education didn’t work, once she started her family and wanted more for herself intellectually, Bauer made up my mind and enrolled at Indiana State at the age of 28.
“When I came to ISU, I was non-traditional student with husband and kids so I took baby steps,” she said. “Once I got my feet wet and a few successes under my belt, I decided to initially come for interior design but I saw early on that I wasn’t good at drafting. I had a passion to help people and society, though, and found that I really had a calling to go in to nursing and be there for people at paramount times in their lives. Even in academia, you’re counseling students and make a difference.”
Once she found nursing, it was time to choose a specialty. Bauer originally selected obstetric nursing and working with laboring moms. That is, until she had upperclassmen friends working at a new psychiatric hospital that caught her attention.
She would end up working primarily as a psychiatric nurse for adolescents and children.
“Rather than it being a sad career, I was fascinated with mental illness and saw a need for mental health professionals in society and I have been practicing for 23 years on the floor now,” she said. “Now I’m working on my nurse practitioner degree because I see a need for it in society with mental illness and substance abuse issues. I want to help.”
Bauer found a perfect match in Indiana State, where faculty from the top down are groomed to be involved with and aid students along their college experience – and often beyond.
“Yes, research and publications are important and have to be done, but at end of day we’re a teaching college,” she said. “(Students) come away with a personal bond and connection with us and we are personally involved in their successes. Our doors open to them 24/7.”