Berndt to leave Ancilla nursing

KNOX — After spending eight years as a member of the nursing faculty at Ancilla College, Janeen Berndt is ready to move on — but her coworkers aren’t ready to let her go just yet.
“I’ve been told probably five times that they won’t let me go,” laughed Berndt. “The position director graciously said she felt like she was losing her right arm, and someone else just said ‘So you think you’re moving on?’”
Berndt was the first full-time nursing faculty member that was hired at Ancilla, and currently holds the position of Assistant Professor of Nursing. She recently found an opportunity to work at Western Governors University as a Student Mentor, and she feels that’s an opportunity she cannot pass up.
“It’s the opportunity for me to spend time at home with my boys,” she said. “I’m a homeschool mom, and working for an online university gives me the opportunity to stay home and professionally gives me the opportunity to work with graduate students.”
Western Governors University is an online university with its main campus in Utah, but the university is based in Indianapolis. Berndt will be working from home and doing her teaching online after completing her training, which begins Dec. 9 — less than three weeks after the end of the current semester and her last day at Ancilla.
“There are two things at Ancilla that I will miss more than anything, and that’s the faculty and the students,” said Berndt. “The students are wonderful, especially our nursing students (of course I’m partial to them) and all of the faculty here at Ancilla have been great. It’s like leaving my family.”
Berndt applied for the position at Western Governors University about a month ago after hearing advertisements for the position on the radio. With her contract coming to a close and the time nearing to decide whether or not to renew it, Berndt chose to start looking at other positions available and found that this university was hiring student mentors.
“Student mentors help students through the educational process, provide support, and kind of help them stay on track because they’re learning online at home and it’s a student-directed program, so they come up with their own educational plan and then my job will be to make sure that they stay on track,” said Berndt.
Ancilla College was Berndt’s first position in the field of higher education, but she has held other positions in various hospitals as well. After taking a lot of her prerequisite classes at Ancilla, she earned her undergraduate nursing degree from Bethel College and her master’s degree in Valparaiso. She has plans to finish her doctorate in May for nursing as well.
“I’ve always loved nursing, and then when Ancilla started their nursing program, I’ve always loved Ancilla too, so I was just finishing up my master’s degree and I applied here to be faculty in the nursing program,” she said.
A 1989 Knox High School graduate, Berndt has stayed loyal to the area. With her husband of 11 years, Keith, beside her, she plans to keep it that way.
“My husband and I talked about moving away, but it’s hard to leave,” said Berndt.