Kedrick Nettleton, Staff Writer

Professor Rosa Ketchum wouldn’t have imagined being on the path she’s currently walking, but maybe that’s for the best – after all, she’s thriving where she is.

Ketchum received notice Monday, November 11, that her Direct Practice Improvement Project, which is somewhat similar to a doctoral thesis, was accepted by Grand Canyon University, signaling the completion of her doctoral program and the awarding of her degree. The project is entitled Increasing Self-Efficacy to Assist Intimate Partner Violence Victims Using Staff-Directed Education. Ketchum is graduating with a Doctorate in Nursing Practice with an emphasis in Leadership.

“Nursing isn’t just a profession, it’s a vocation. It’s something you’re called to. You’re not just taking care of the illness, you’re taking care of the whole person: body, mind, and soul.” 

Ketchum (left) has dedicated her life to the practice and teaching of nursing.

Even though she’s been a nurse for nineteen years and reached the top of the academic chain for the nursing profession, Ketchum didn’t expect to become an academic. When she was first considering nursing as a profession, she thought it of mostly as a way into the ministry. “Originally, I thought that I wanted to be on the mission field,” she said. “What I didn’t know was that nursing was a mission field in itself.”

She started out with an associate degree in nursing, which she received from Oklahoma Wesleyan University. With her RN license, she began working at Jane Phillips Medical Center, here in Bartlesville, but quickly discovered that it was the teaching aspect of nursing that she responded to the most. She quickly found herself orienting new employees, and she loved it.

“I just loved pouring into them and… seeing things click,” she said. “I love seeing nurses connect the dots.”

Understanding this calling, Ketchum went back to class, completing OKWU’s RN to BSN program—which she now, having come full circle, helps teach. After completing her bachelor’s, she completed an online master’s program with Indiana Wesleyan University. And now, of course, she’s conquered that last step: the doctorate.

For Ketchum, the best part of teaching is imparting the entirety of what it means to be a nurse and caregiver. “Nursing isn’t just a profession, it’s a vocation,” she said. “It’s something you’re called to. You’re not just taking care of the illness, you’re taking care of the whole person: body, mind, and soul.”

Making a Difference

Ketchum acknowledges that she didn’t take the easiest path when it came to her doctoral project. As the title suggests, the focus of the study was on violence between intimate partners, which created a challenging emotional component to the writing.

“It’s heavy,” she said. “It’s not a warm and fuzzy project, but it’s important… there’s a lifetime worth of consequences. Addressing that early on ends up improving the outcomes not just of the women but of their families.”

Not only that – it’s common. One in four women experience this kind of violence in their lifetime; the majority of instances happening before the age of 25. “Because it’s so common, that also means most of us know someone [experiencing it],” Ketchum said. “Personal experiences of people I loved having gone through that helped direct me to that further.”

She began the project in 2017, but Ketchum really dug deep into the study last spring. Despite the challenges it presented, she’s glad to have contributed, and she’s excited for the next stage of her life as she focuses on her teaching and her family. She fully admits that she doesn’t know what the future holds, but she’s ready to take it on.

“Wherever you think you’re going to be, you’re not going to be there,” she said. “I thought my life was going to be very different than what it is.”

In fact, that’s the advice that Ketchum has for students: get used to things differently than planned. “As you’re going through school, it’s really hard. You don’t have to be perfect,” she said. “Get okay with not being perfect.”

For more information about OKWU’s RN to BSN program, click here.

“It’s not a warm and fuzzy project, but it’s important. There’s a lifetime worth of consequences.” 

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