Linda Adams-Wendling’s career path was set about 46 years ago, but she says it doesn’t seem like much time has passed since beginning her journey in health care at a nursing school in rural Iowa. “I remember as if it were yesterday,” recalls Adams-Wendling, the DNP Chief Nurse Administrator and Director at Bay Path University. “From the minute of my first interaction with my first patient, I knew nursing would be my profession for life.” Her plan was to spend her professional career as a nurse, due in part to the influence of her mother and friends also entering the field, and at first Adams-Wendling did just that. But soon she also decided to keep moving along the academic route too. It started with her associate nursing degree from Des Moines Area Community College; then a bachelor’s in nursing at Grandview College, also in Des Moines; a master’s in nursing from Clarkson College, in Omaha; an MBA from Avila University; and finally, her nursing doctorate from the University of Kansas. Along that path, Adams-Wendling made it a priority to become a nurse educator. “I believed that to reach my career goal as a nurse educator, I should acquire as much experience as possible to share with nursing students,” she remembered. Her enthusiasm for nurse education was influenced by the work ethic instilled by her parents—she was raised on a farm in Iowa—by a mentor she had early in her education, and by Florence Nightingale, considered by many to be the patron saint of nursing. After her extensive schooling, Adams-Wendling was recruited as a nurse executive about 30 years ago at a hospital in Emporia, where she met her husband, Joseph Wendling. The two have made their home in Kansas now for decades. She joined Emporia State University in 2000, which then officially solidified her status as a nurse educator in academia. “I remember when I received the call for the interview at Emporia,” she said. “I was so excited when offered the position I could not wait for the opportunity to begin my career as a nurse educator.” Adams-Wending worked her way up through the ranks, from assistant professor, to associate professor, to professor and chair of the department, and now DNP Chief Nurse Administrator and Director at Bay Path University. “Many ask me when I might retire and my response is, this does not seem like work to me because I so enjoy what I do,” she said. “Each day I am inspired by the students I interact with, the incredible faculty that I teach with, and the positive environment of the university.”
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