Meet the Kaplan Experts: Ellie Wagner DNP, RN, Faculty Nurse Consultant

by Ellie Wagner DNP, RN, Faculty Nurse Consultant | August 16, 2021

The Kaplan Team is often cited as why schools stay with Kaplan, year after year. At Kaplan, there’s an expert at the heart of everything we do, whether it’s leading a class or developing innovative tools to help your students achieve their career goals. We stand behind our motto of, “For nurses, by nurses.” With our “Meet the Kaplan Experts” blog series, we introduce you to Kaplan’s extensive network of faculty, nursing, and educational experts and delve into their diverse areas of expertise so that you can learn even more about your Kaplan team. This week, we're pleased to introduce you to Ellie Wagner DNP, RN, Faculty Nurse Consultant.

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF

I was born and raised in southern Michigan, the oldest of two children. Myself and my brother grew up spending much of our time playing sports, swimming, farming, raising sheep, and showing our animals at the county fair. The responsibility associated with raising and caring for my animals helped to develop my passion of caring for others and drew me to pursuing nursing.

I received my diploma from the St. Vincent Medical Center School of Nursing and my BSN from Lourdes University, both in Toledo, OH. I began my career as a staff nurse at the University of Michigan Hospital in medical-surgical/pulmonary care and Intensive Care. From there, I joined a Family Medicine practice and had the wonderful experience of working with two physicians as a clinical affiliate. This experience allowed me to further develop my leadership skills, interprofessional communication, systems knowledge, and coordination of care skills. As a clinical affiliate, I developed several professional development sessions for staff, patient teaching and education sessions for the community, and mentored a number of new nurses, which grew my passion for education. 

What is your particular area of expertise?

I have been a nurse for over 26 years, focusing my career in nursing education, adult medical-surgical care, and critical care nursing. I have expertise in the areas of clinical and didactic instruction, curriculum development & planning, clinical judgement education, nursing program development, simulation, teaching innovations, and online education.

Who or what experience inspired you to pursue a career in Nursing? 

First and foremost, my aunt, who was also a nurse. One day she observed me caring for one of my cousins that fell and injured their knee. I had cleaned and dressed the wound. (AKA: soap, water, and a Snoopy band-aide). She commented to me how well I had done and that I should be a nurse. Well, that stuck with me!!

Second, my biology teacher in high school. He fueled my passion for science and encouraged me to always follow my dreams. Cannot thank him enough!! 

TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A NURSE EDUCATOR

How long have you worked for Kaplan and what drew you to your current role?

I joined Kaplan as a Faculty Nurse Consultant in April, 2021. As a nurse educator, I’d previously utilized Kaplan resources with students and assisted faculty to integrate resources into their courses and curriculum. I am a firm believer in teaching accurate nursing clinical judgment and critical thinking in the classroom and clinical areas for safer and more effective care. Kaplan is also dedicated to developing sound nursing clinical judgment, therefore, the transition to teaching other educators on a national level was a welcomed transition. 

In your opinion, why is it so important for institutions to prepare students to “think like a nurse?”

Hands Down: For the most Safe and Effective Care for everyone. 

What is the most pressing issue facing your institutional partners today and how can Kaplan help solve those problems?

Some of the most pressing issues our institutional partners are facing is the changing landscape of nursing. We are seeing greater emphasis on critical thinking and clinical judgment, changing NCLEX testing, and new Baccalaureate essentials. Kaplan has been preparing for all of these changes and is equipped with tools to help our educational partners be successful. This includes Kaplan test prep, i-Human patient simulations, professional resources, best practices, and educator-to-educator support and guidance. 

What will the future of education be like for students and faculty? 

Greater integration of technology that supports safer care, early problem recognition, prevention of errors, and greater communication across the healthcare continuum. 

ADVICE

Is there a quote or saying that you live by?

“I have learned that people will forget what you said, they may forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel” 

- Maya Angelou

The true art of nursing should never be lost in the technology we use. Do not underestimate the power of listening, a gentle touch, or a simple smile with your patients. 

NCLEX® is a registered trademark of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. Test names are the property of the respective trademark holders, none of whom endorse or are affiliated with Kaplan.

I received my diploma from the St. Vincent Medical Center School of Nursing and my BSN from Lourdes University, both in Toledo, OH. I began my career as a staff nurse at the University of Michigan Hospital in medical-surgical/pulmonary care and Intensive Care. From there, I joined a Family Medicine practice and had the wonderful experience of working with two physicians as a clinical affiliate. This experience allowed me to further develop my leadership skills, interprofessional communication, systems knowledge, and coordination of care skills. As a clinical affiliate, I developed several professional development sessions for staff, patient teaching and education sessions for the community, and mentored a number of new nurses, which grew my passion for education.  I obtained my MSN in nursing education from Lourdes University and then my DNP from Madonna University in Livonia, MI. As a nursing educator, I served in both faculty and leadership positions over the years and I continue my scholarship work in nursing clinical judgement development. I also maintain active membership in the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses and the Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society.

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