Self-designed major leads to career in nursing for Kelly Biallas ’11

The opportunity to create a self-designed major in health services at Ripon College led Kelly Biallas ’11 to later graduate from a nursing program at College of DuPage. She now is a registered nurse at Presence Health Mercy Medical Center in Aurora, Illinois.

“Upon my initial visit to Ripon, I was attracted to the small classroom sizes, abundance of extracurricular activities, and local community,” Biallas says. “Ripon just had that small-town charm. I knew from the moment I stepped on campus that Ripon was the place I was meant to be!”

She says her self-designed major allowed her to complete the necessary prerequisite classes she needed for a nursing program, such as biology, chemistry, psychology and sociology.

“In addition to these prerequisite courses, I was able to obtain a solid liberal arts education,” she says.

“Ripon College provided me with the close-knit learning environment that helped me flourish as a registered nurse. The small classroom size allowed me to actively participate in classroom discussions and hands-on labs.”

Biallas currently works on the medical/surgical and oncology unit of a small community hospital in the Chicago suburbs. “This means we can get patients who could have anything from colon cancer to appendicitis to pneumonia,” she says. “Throughout my 12-hour night shift, I assess patient’s vital signs, administer medications, educate patients and their family members, and help organize the patient’s overall plan of care.

“Occasionally, I serve as the charge nurse, which means I oversee other nurses on the unit, coordinate admissions onto the unit, and make sure patient satisfaction and patient care needs are being met.”

Through this position, she is establishing a strong nursing foundation, but eventually would like to explore the areas of pediatrics or post-operative nursing.

“The aspect I appreciated most about Ripon was the small community feel and attentive professors,” Biallas says. “At Ripon, you are not just a number! My involvement with Kappa Delta Sorority also helped me acquire leadership roles and practice upholding a professional demeanor. These educational and personal successes throughout my time at Ripon were nothing but rewarding!”


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