Video by Columbia College Video Production Strategist Dustin Hawkins

Dr. Heidi Monroe shares a simple message with students during orientation for the Columbia College Nursing Program.

“I tell them from Day 1 that they have entered the best career field that there is,” Monroe says.

Monroe, who received a Master of Science in Public Health Nursing and Doctorate of Nursing Practice from the University of Missouri, has been a faculty member at Columbia College since 2017. She is passionate about imparting knowledge from her more than 17 years of experience in the field.

Monroe serves as an assistant professor and the coordinator of CC’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program.

“My inspiration for teaching Nursing students is definitely the students themselves,” Monroe says. “We want to make sure that we are preparing students to make life-or-death decisions for their patients, and that’s a huge responsibility.”

Columbia College Nursing Professor Dr. Heidi Monroe poses for a photo inside the Brouder Science Center on main campus. Photo by Columbia College Photographer & Graphic Designer Abigail Wade

Monroe points to simulations as a real-world training opportunity that sets CC Nursing apart.

Professors and special guests provide instant feedback in an atmosphere that promotes learning and invites discussion and growth.

“We have real actors and different situations,” Monroe says of the simulations. “I love this because it provides the students with a place to put into practice what they have learned but to do it in a safe environment. They can ask questions and make mistakes. At the end of the day, they feel that they are more confident when they enter the actual field.”

Monroe says she adapts to the needs of each cohort and that no two cohorts are alike.

There is a lineage of CC Nursing alumni making a difference in their careers, with many graduates remaining involved in the program years beyond their graduation.

“I believe that the Columbia College Nursing Program is a good fit for anyone at any stage in their life,” Monroe says. “We have students who are a vast array of ages from all sorts of diverse backgrounds who have been very successful here.”

Columbia College Nursing Professor Dr. Heidi Monroe speaks with students during a simulation debriefing inside the Brouder Science Center on main campus. Photo by Columbia College Photographer & Graphic Designer Abigail Wade

Monroe enjoys getting to know students on a personal level and being part of a team that shares its wisdom with the next generation of health-care professionals.

She says she is proud of the 100% job placement for graduates of the program.

“We are actually getting requests from facilities and hospitals asking to connect with our students,” Monroe says.

In addition to mastering the practical skills of nursing, Monroe has a bigger picture in mind.

“We don’t just want them to succeed,” she says. “We want them to excel at being nurses and in life.”

Five questions with Dr. Heidi Monroe

How would you describe the culture at Columbia College?

“I believe the culture is really unique here. Faculty members all get to know our students on a very personal level. I love that all of us can tell you what the students’ names are in all the programs. It’s almost more of a family kind of atmosphere. Being able to have those smaller cohort sizes is definitely beneficial here at Columbia College.”

How does your personal career background influence the way you teach?

“My background is intensive care. All the experiences I have accumulated over the past 17 years have provided me with a rich set of examples to provide to my students. The students’ eyes will definitely look up once they hear you start the sentence, ‘I once had a patient,’ and all of a sudden, they are wanting to hear what this involves because this is real life.”

Columbia College Nursing Professor Dr. Heidi Monroe interacts with students during a simulation debriefing inside the Brouder Science Center on main campus. Photo by Columbia College Photographer & Graphic Designer Abigail Wade

What is something you are proud of with your role in the Nursing Program?

“One of the things that I am most proud of is bringing the Student Nurses’ Association to Columbia College and starting a mentorship program. It’s so important that students feel like they have at least one person who supports and encourages them. Having peer support is just as important. We really want students to feel that they are supported on all levels – that they have the support and encouragement of each other, that they are getting wisdom and guidance from different cohorts, and that they know their faculty cares about them and we are their cheerleaders and advocates.”

What would you say to a prospective student interested in a Nursing degree?

“At Columbia College, we as faculty and staff will meet you where you are. I would definitely say wholeheartedly that you are never too old and never too young to be successful in our program. We will do our best to support you. Our program values having a diverse population of people from different backgrounds, and we welcome it as much as we can.”

What career opportunities do students have with a CC Nursing degree?

“There is a huge nursing shortage out there right now and such a need. Our students are prepared to work in a clinic or in a hospital. We give them clinicals as part of their experience and we try to get them into different facilities. That could be a mental health facility, that could be a school. We are even looking at prisons, home health and other ways where they can get more experience. Once they enter into the field of nursing, they are able to work in any of those locations.”