Kelti Rippenhagen ('14) | Nursing

Kelti Rippenhagen ('14) | Nursing

Austin, Texas

Extracurricular activities/organizations: Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, LYNAY, ACU track and field team, founder and president of Forward LENE ACU Women’s Running Club, Sing Song director, PULSE, Campus Crew committee, Welcome Week mentor group leader, intramurals

Favorite courses: Critical Care Nursing. Throughout my senior year, I have worked as a Patient Care Technician in the Critical Care Unit at Hendrick Medical Center. It has been incredibly rewarding to witness my education spring to life in my job, and my experiences facilitate learning in the classroom.

Advice to incoming students: I have always been very social and eager to be involved in anything and everything. When my nursing school schedule started to interfere with social opportunities and the ability to hang out with my usual crowd, I started to panic because I thought my social life was slipping away. What I hadn't realized was that I was one of over 80 other nursing students that were along for the ride with me. If you are entering into a demanding major, don't overlook the opportunity you have to turn your classmates into your best friends! As you grow, life will lead you to a number of different places, communities and activities. Don’t see change as a loss; see it as a new opportunity! When I realized that my time at nursing school was an opportunity to create a whole new group of friends, I stopped viewing my demanding schedule as a chore and it turned into the most enjoyable privilege I've had at ACU! With graduation approaching, I’m thankful for each of the last days I have with my best friends - those I never would have found if it weren't for my time in nursing school.

Why did you decide to come to ACU?

In my junior year of high school, I was certain I would NOT be attending ACU. I had attended ACU leadership camps every summer since I was in second grade. I wanted college to be a completely new experience to me, and I thought ACU was old news since I was already familiar with the campus. My senior year of high school, I attended an ACU college visit during Homecoming weekend. I met with the track coach and watched the team practice. The next day some girls on the team spotted me at the Homecoming football game and stopped to say hi. I felt wanted in the ACU community, and it seemed like an uplifting environment that the students enjoyed being a part of. ACU ended up being the perfect fit; I wanted to be a valued part of the community, not just another face in the crowd. I wanted to go to an exceptional nursing school and run track, and ACU provided both of those opportunities for me!

How has ACU prepared you academically for your future? 

Nursing is surely not an easy degree, but it has been 100 percent worth all the blood, sweat and tears (literally). Nursing is extremely demanding of your time, brainpower and energy - and I’m talking nothing short of total physical, emotional and mental energy. Although much is expected of you as a nursing student, I feel prepared to enter my future nursing career with a solid foundation under my belt. Most nurses will tell you that you learn more in your first years of working as a R.N. than you do in nursing school. While that may be true, I feel confident that my education has prepared me for the extended knowledge I will gain as a new nurse.

How has your experience at ACU impacted you?

I have always been a very independent person, which means that I like to come to conclusions and make decisions on my own. My parents raised me attending a Church of Christ, and I had never questioned my faith growing up. Choosing my own home church, and expanding my beliefs regarding topics I had never been exposed to before, has been an exciting process of growth (Side note: I ended up attending a church very similar to the church I grew up in, but that was my decision!). Throughout a time in my life that is critical in defining who I will become as an independent adult, ACU is a community that has kept me focused on priorities that are not of this world.

What have you gained through your involvement with LYNAY?

LYNAY keeps me connected to the ACU community and has provided me with networking connections that are not only advantageous to my transition into the workforce, but I've also connected with people who will continue to serve as mentors in my life after graduation.  

What do you hope to do after graduation?

I hope to secure an R.N. position in the Critical Care Unit at a hospital in Abilene. In the future, I hope to enter graduate school and become a Nurse Anesthetist.

Learn more about attending ACU