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Unique mentorship program

Nursing student benefits from “Johnnie Network”

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January 16, 2015

By Elisabeth Leipholtz '15

SJU senior Nicholas Johnson

Luke Hattenhauer had no male mentors to look up to and ask questions while attending nursing classes at CSB and SJU. Now, the 1998 graduate is changing that.

About a year ago, Hattenhauer contacted the nursing department at CSB and SJU and offered to serve as a mentor, specifically for male students interested in nursing. He and current SJU senior Nicholas Johnson spent the fall semester emailing back and forth, with Hattenhauer answering any of Johnson's questions or concerns.

"The greatest benefit to our students is seeing their future as successful nurses through our alums," said Carie Braun, professor of nursing and chair of the department.  

Hattenhauer, who is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist for the University of Wisconsin Hospital, primarily at American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, has mentored students in Wisconsin. But this fall marked the first time he worked with an SJU student. When the chance to contact Hattenhauer arose, Johnson expressed interest and took advantage of the opportunity.

"It's very nice to have someone that has been in your shoes, as well as them being in a position where you would like to be in the future," Johnson said. "Because of his experience, I don't think there is a more reliable source of advice than Luke. He has helped relieve a lot of anxiety for plans after graduation, as well as clarifying any misconceptions that I may have had."

Nursing is a female-dominated field, as males represent 10 percent of nursing students and six percent of nurses employed in the field.  Because of these statistics, Hattenhauer felt that he could serve as a good resource for males entering the field.

"As I've gotten further in my career, I've realized that I didn't have that (a male mentor) when I was in nursing school," Hattenhauer said. "I love what I do, and I'm in my element doing it. I always try to express what a rewarding career it is, how much enjoyment comes out of it. If I'm not mentoring, I'm missing out on that."

Johnson agrees that there is a lack of male mentorship in nursing programs, and therefore is appreciative of Hattenhauer making himself available for questions, concerns and advice.

"Communicating with Luke has been my only opportunity to network with a Johnnie alumnus with nursing experience," Johnson said. "When you look at my networking opportunities and then look at the opportunities that Johnnies from many other majors have, they really do not compare."

While Hattenhauer finds his career to be rewarding, he also finds that mentoring is beneficial and hopes to visit and speak to nursing students at CSB and SJU in the future, as well as meet Johnson face-to-face.

"There's obviously a lot of learning on the job, but I got a good foundation from CSB and SJU before graduation," Hattenhauer said. "It's a good thing to give back to CSB and SJU. I hope to eventually make it up there to meet him (Johnson) and to try to coincide with career day or something, that's what's on my radar now."