First-hand experience dealing with domestic violence invaluable for future registered nurse

Biology major Leighanne Lacy ’15 has served as the domestic violence intern this summer at St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac. Her internship was made by the Career Ready Internship Initiative grant program developed by Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation.

St. Agnes provides intensive care for both inpatients and outpatients, as well as free and confidential psychotherapy and advocacy services for victims and offenders of domestic violence. This includes 24-hour crisis assistance and support groups.

Lacy says the program is crucial as domestic violence is “a serious community problem that is pervasive and often under-reported.”

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence is the “willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another,” and it affects members of nearly every community, regardless of age, gender, economic status or other background (NCADV, 2007).

Within the internship, Lacy participates in group meetings and assists in development and educational programs. “About half of my work consists of compiling statistics from client records,” she says. “The rest of my time, I’m sitting in on meetings and staff training sessions, and soon I will get to lead an inpatient education group,” she says.

Lacy says the internship has helped to open her eyes to her own skills and future career paths. “Through this internship, I’ve learned that I’m better at handling others’ emotional trauma than I thought,” she says. “By working in a good environment and contributing toward the well-being of others, I’ve learned that it is possible to have a job that you actually want to go to in the morning.”

As a senior graduating early in December, Lacy’s experiences will prepare her for graduate school. “I plan on getting my master’s degree in nursing and working as a registered nurse after Ripon,” she says. “Working with the domestic violence program can help prepare me for a nursing career in psychiatric care as well as get me used to some of the emotional/psychological challenges that come from working with people who have suffered from traumatic experiences.”

She is currently exploring master’s of nursing programs in psychiatric care, oncology and surgery.

Lacy credits Dan Krhin, Ripon College’s director of student support services and McNair Scholars, for finding the internship for her. Student Support Services provides students with opportunities to academically and personally develop, through grant aid, tutoring sessions and assistance in applying to graduate and professional programs.

“If it weren’t for the grant I got as well as the work of Dan in SSS, I really don’t know if I could have had as great of an internship experience,” Lacy says. “Internships like mine are extremely valuable to Ripon students. They’re a great way to gain experience, work in a setting atypical to work-study jobs, and get your feet wet in a career or field you are interested in.”

Kaylie Longley ’15
Saint Francis, Wisconsin

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