Every classroom a stage

Gregg Schroeder

Gregg Schroeder ’86 shines on stage. It’s where the self-proclaimed introvert is able to let his guard down and be a little outrageous. Only, Schroeder’s stage is not THE stage, but the nursing classroom.

Schroeder recalls his first theatre stage experience as lacking enthusiasm when he was placed in a high school drama class. A variety of professional experiences since then have helped Schroeder discover the role he was meant to play – the role of nursing educator. He now embodies that excitement for his students’ benefit.

“My life is quite convoluted,” said Schroeder. “I have a lot of experience in a lot of areas. I found a calling in teaching, and I have never looked back.”

So who is Gregg Schroeder, M.S.N., APRN/CNS?

He’s a nursing educator, starring primarily in the Hesston College Clinical Nursing Simulation Lab. He’s a practicing registered nurse in the intensive care unit at Galichia Heart Hospital (Wichita, Kan.) and a Kaplan NCLEX review instructor. He’s also a published co-author of Theoretical Basis of Nursing (2011), a Russian nursing education textbook and on the faculty at University Hospital in Veliky Novgorod, Russia. He’s traveled to Russia 15 times, leading students on half of those trips to experience a new culture and their program of study in a different cultural context.

Since he began teaching at Hesston in 2009, Schroeder has become famous among both nursing students and the greater campus community as an energetic, engaging personality.

“Class times with Gregg are never mundane,” said Andy McMaster ’16. “He has such a wealth of knowledge, and he knows how to captivate students with the presentation of that knowledge.”

Schroeder started his winding path at Hesston College fresh out of high school in 1976, but only stayed for a year, leaving to marry his wife, Cindy. Over time, his resumé has grown to include respiratory therapist, dairy farmer and nurse practitioner – all roles that weren’t quite the right fit.

After earning an A.D.N. from Hesston and a B.S.N. from Bethel College (North Newton), Schroeder was cast in the role of nurse educator in 1992. It was then that he knew he was on the right path.

“Seeing students have those ‘A-ha!’ moments and make connections is so rewarding,” Schroeder said. “Every experience with every person is unique, and it’s what nursing is about. At Galichia, we say ‘Every patient every time.’ At Hesston, it’s every student every time. Their failures are our failures, and we give all we have to help students be successful.”

When simulation as an educational tool entered the market, Schroeder was excited at the hands-on opportunity it provided students. He was instrumental in starting simulation labs at both Hesston and Bethel. The lab is where he thrives, giving a voice to the simulation patient “dummies” and creating backstories, medical histories and real-world experiences for nursing students.

“The clinical sim lab is my arena,” Schroeder said. “It’s my drama.”

Advanced degrees – an M.S.N. from Wichita (Kan.) State University and an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse – Clinical Nurse Specialist post-master’s certificate – and opportunities for management roles in the nursing industry haven’t distracted Schroeder from his calling as an educator and bedside nurse.

“I worked on a Ph.D. in nursing – it’s not who I am,” he said. “I found my groove, and I’ve gone with it ever since.”