Skip to Content

Join our Winter 2022 Commencement Celebration this Saturday at 2 p.m. Eastern time!

Walden Magazine // Feb 21, 2018

How I Did It: Dr. Karen Baumann '17

How one Walden grad turned a setback into the ultimate motivation

DEGREE EARNED: Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Karen Baumann
Dr. Karen Baumann


A PSYCHOLOGICAL ROADBLOCK: I remember visiting potential nursing schools with my father when I was a junior in high school. The dean—an old lady in a starchy white uniform—said I didn’t have what it took to be a successful nurse because I was an “average student.” I was embarrassed when she said that. I felt ashamed. It made me feel like I couldn’t do anything or be anything. That was in 1973.

FOLLOWING MY DREAMS: Over the years, I worked odd jobs and took prerequisite courses. I wanted to be a nurse, even though she told me I would never make it. But each time I hit a new milestone, what she said to me was still in the back of my mind. I carried it with me for 44 years—until I earned my DNP in July 2017. I wrote a letter telling my story to the current dean of the school that turned me down. I had finally proven the former dean wrong.

STAYING DEDICATED: I had great support from my husband. He knew that when I came home from work, I had to go straight to my computer and study. If we went somewhere, I would take my books with me. I remember studying for statistics on a cruise ship. We have a picture of it.

WHAT I’VE LEARNED: Since graduating, I’ve established a research council at our hospital, and I have people coming to me with questions because I have this breadth of knowledge now. The council serves as an opportunity for our nurses to learn about current evidence-based practices by reviewing and evaluating research articles. We are also available to help nursing students with their projects for school. Walden prepared me to have an evidence-based perspective and an open mind so that I can take care of my patients safely.

HOW I’M HELPING OTHERS: I became certified as an adjunct clinical instructor, so now I can apply to teach at a college or university. I don’t want people who are trying to become nurses to be discouraged the way I was at the beginning of my journey all those years ago. I want them to be able to find a nurse to help them, to be their mentor. That’s what I’m doing right now—mentoring several nurses—and it’s really fulfilling.


Our site uses cookies to provide necessary website functionality, improve your experience, analyze data & deliver relevant ads. By using our website, you agree to our cookie usage.