Featured Alumni

Karla Nygren, C’02Karla Nygren

The reason Karla Nygren, BSN, RN, CEN, CFRN, CPEN, CTEN-at-Large Representative, Sioux Falls, SD, chose MMC is because she wanted to remain close to her family. After attending USD, she wanted to earn her BSN and Mount Marty was highly recommended and the faith based community was very important to her. Karla added that, "MMC focuses on holistic nursing and the community was always such a strong support for me. No matter what I needed, someone was able to assist."

One MMC student nursing experience that Karla has seen pay dividends is the first time she traveled outside of Yankton to Marty and Wagner, SD., areas in dire need of healthcare professionals. She was assigned to do various tasks, assignments, and presentations in the clinics. At that time, Karla was not comfortable speaking in front of people, nor did she enjoy teaching. Ironically, however, her MMC instructor shared with her, that from what she experienced, Karla could be a great teacher. From that point on, it made her think that maybe she could actually teach.

After graduation from MMC, Karla accepted a nursing position at Mayo (St. Mary's Medical ICU). It was an outstanding learning opportunity while she was there, but she missed South Dakota and wanted to bring her experiences back to Sioux Falls. Karla was initially hired at Sioux Valley Hospital (now Sanford) in the ER, but since, she's moved to Avera McKennan and has been fortunate to function in many roles. Karla's true love is emergency medicine because nothing is ever the same. She has worked in the ICU, a short time in the NICU, and also as a flight nurse. She also had the opportunity to work in eEmergency, a service which enables the staff to bring specialty emergency care to rural facilities whosometimes need an extra set of hands during a critical patient's care. Karla will be utilizing her speaking and teaching talents this October, when, with one of her co-workers, she will be speaking on eEmergency at the national ENA conference.

Presently, Karla works as a flight nurse at Avera McKennan and also as a staff nurse in eEmergency. Her experience as a certified emergency nurse and her passion for all things emergency has led her to these roles. Having grown up in a rural community, she finds that both of these roles help her give back to her small town community roots. As an eER nurse, Karla has had the privilege to travel and help launch and educate new sites. She also is the President of South Dakota Emergency Nurses Association State Council. This has brought her great responsibility and she's learned so much from those she's served. South Dakota has been fortunate to receive the NationalState Council Achievement Award the past two years. This award demonstrates the activity of the council, the passion of its members, and the goal oriented nature of the board. Karla was recently selected to serve as the CPEN-at- large member on a national board of directors, the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. It has been an honor for her as well as a great source of networking and growth. She also serves as co-chair of the Avera McKennan emergency services unit practice council, and she holds a position on Avera McKennan's nurse governance council.

Karla, reflecting on her nursing career, is in continual awe of the dedication of the rural nurses within the eEmergency service area. Karla states, "We need to treat the whole person, sometimes the whole family. In the hospital setting, we aren't only there to be a nurse, sometimes we are a friend, a listener, and sometimes, even a tour guide. They, the rural nurses, are "everything" in their hospital!