Denisonians in Health Professions: Osteopathic Physician

Denisonians in health professions: osteopathic physician - douglas-kubek.png image #0Douglas Kubek ’90

Role: Osteopathic Physician

Professional School(s) attended: Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, graduated in 1995 

Current titles: Henry Ford Health System Director of Residency Program Otolaryngology Facial Plastic Surgery, Director of Sleep Medicine Lakeshore Ear Nose and Throat

Fun Fact: I’m an avid surfer and backcountry skier  

Describe the process you went through to select your career path: what impacted your decision?
I did several internships with physicians to decide what specialty to pursue. I have always wanted to be a physician and was influence by my father who is a physician.

What are your favorite aspects of your profession?
Making connections with my patients and being part of the process to achieve better health for them. I also enjoy the surgical options for treatment.     

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Caring for patients that, unfortunately, ultimately die from their disease process.

Describe what a typical day looks like for you.       
I’m in the office 2-3 days a week from 8:00am-4:30pm and then have surgery scheduled for 2-3 days a week.

What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your field?
Spend some time with a physician to see if this occupation/profession is a passionate calling. Study as hard as possible to achieve a high GPA and MCAT, get involved in clinical research and medically related community service.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Perioperative Nursing

Denisonians in health professions: perioperative nursing - kristen-oster-190x300.png image #0Kristen Oster ’08

Role: Perioperative Clinical Nurse Specialist  

Professional or Graduate Schools attended:
Regis University – Bachelors of Science in Nursing, graduated 2010
University of Colorado College of Nursing – Masters of Science in Nursing, Adult/Geriatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, graduated 2013
Future enrollment – University of Colorado College of Nursing Doctorate of Nursing Practice – expected start Fall 2017

Fun Fact: I love going to concerts. You will always find me at a small concert venue checking out the next big band.

Describe the process you went through to select your career path: what impacted your decision?
When thinking about the career path I wanted to take, I always knew I wanted to be in the medical profession. Growing up, my father was an orthopedic/microvascular hand surgeon and my mother was an intensive care nurse, so I was exposed to healthcare at an early age. I rounded with my father on the weekends and spent time at the nurses’ station when not visiting with patients during postoperative checks and dressing changes. I heard stories of my mother taking care of postoperative open heart patients in the intensive care unit with passion and curiosity. During my time at Denison University, I initially thought I wanted to become a physician and therefore focused my course selection on pre-med courses and a major in Biology. As I closed out my junior year and went into my senior year, my thoughts changed from wanting to become a physician to becoming a nurse. My decision was impacted by the future relationships I was going to have with the patients I take care of in the inpatient acute care hospital setting. I wanted to be at the bedside taking care of patients. My thoughts aligned more with the teachings of Florence Nightingale and the nursing care model.

I finished my senior year at Denison University already looking to my next degree program and chose an accelerated bachelors of science nursing program in my home state of Colorado. I was able to obtain my degree in under a year and move into clinical practice on a complex medical unit. During my nursing program, I fell in love with the operating room and worked intently to be able to obtain my dream position of working in the operating room a year after completing my nursing program. As I worked as a clinical staff nurse, I wanted to advance my knowledge to become an advanced practice nurse. I attended the University of Colorado College of Nursing to complete my Adult/Geriatric Clinical Nurse Specialist program in the Fall of 2013. This program allowed me to advance my nursing and leadership skills to be able to manage the Skullbase/Head/Neck/Neuro surgical service line for two years and assist in my development to my current position as a Perioperative Clinical Nurse Specialist focusing on quality, safety, and regulatory needs of the perioperative patient.

What are your favorite aspects of your profession?
Nursing as a profession is a great way to be able to participate in the healthcare of patients in a variety of settings. Whether you want to care for adults, children, or the elderly, there is a patient population for you. There is variety in the types of settings you can work in as well, ranging from hospitals, long term care facilities, mental health care facilities, and schools. Specifically, I enjoy nursing for the relationships I form with patients, their families, and the care team I work with on a daily basis.

I love being an operating room nurse because of the autonomy I have in my nursing practice and the collaboration between various medical professionals (surgeons, anesthesiologists, surgical technologists) I experience every day. I also love working in the operating room as the perioperative care continuum is complex and fast paced. The complex work environment requires nurses to be up to date on best evidence, technological advances, and research to provide the best care to patients. Also, as a nurse in the operating room you are able to function as an advocate for your patient who is not able to advocate for themselves. You provide a voice to a voiceless patient and offer comfort to them in their time of need.    

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
The most challenging aspect of the nursing career path is dependent on the type of unit you work each. Each unit offers different challenges ranging from large patient loads, long shift hours, extra call hours, and life/death situations. It can be challenging to be caring for 6 patients who are all critically ill, needing your time to care for them, and ensure they are getting the best care. In the operating room, surgical procedures may not go as planned and the outcome may not be what was expected. Each of these aspects can be emotionally and physically draining which can make it challenging.

Describe what a typical day looks like for you.
Currently, my “typical day” varies on if I am scheduled to provide patient care during my shift or if I am scheduled to work on quality/safety/regulatory needs in perioperative services. I will focus on my typical day as a clinical staff nurse providing direct patient care.

In the operating room at my facility, you are scheduled to start at 0630 and can work an 8, 10, or 12 hour shift depending on unit needs. I come into work at 0630 to receive my assignment for the day and then go to my assigned operating room. The room I am assigned to can vary in total number of surgical cases and various start times. Typically, my first case starts at 0730 so I spend the first hour of my shift planning accordingly based on the types of surgical procedures scheduled in my room and start accumulating supplies. Once I complete the setup of the operating room (with the team effort of my surgical technologist) I head to the Preoperative holding unit to meet and interview my patient. I also review any labs, medical/surgical history, consent forms, and other important information about the patient that may be helpful during the surgical procedure.

When it is time to take the patient to surgery I transport the patient to the operating room and assist the anesthesiologist with induction (putting the patient under anesthesia). After this I position and prep the patient based on the surgical procedure and surgeon requests. Specifically in the operating room, I function as a circulating nurse where I do not scrub in to the sterile procedure but act as a nonsterile team member in the room focusing on all needs of the surgical field and the anesthesia provider. This role focuses on ensuring the patient is safe and the surgical field remains sterile at all times. This role also requires me to have an in depth understanding of the surgical procedure to anticipate needs at all times. Once the procedure is complete and all safety steps are completed I assist the anesthesiologist with waking the patient up and transportation to the PACU. I continue this process throughout the day based on how many surgical cases are scheduled in my room.

What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your field?
Advice I would give to a student interested in pursuing a career in the nursing field is to spend some time volunteering in a hospital. This will allow you to have direct observation of what a clinical staff nurse typically does during their shift and the relationships/care they provide to their patients. Nursing as a field requires a person to think critically, act independently, work on a team, provide a shoulder to cry on, and a hand to hold during difficult times. Even during the most difficult times there are always rewarding moments that will change your life forever.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Dermatology

Denisonians in health professions: dermatology - oscar-hoffman-265x300.png image #0Oscar Hoffman ’13

Current job: Clinic Manager, Medical & Surgical Dermatology at Johns Hopkins Hospital

Professional School attended: Cornell University, graduated in 2017

Fun Fact:
I sail competitively in my free time.

Describe the process you went through to select your career path: what impacted your decision?
I completed my first administrative internship after my junior year at Denison with the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Johns Hopkins. It was during this internship that I discovered the complexities of running an outpatient specialty practice within a large medical institution such as Johns Hopkins. I learned that I could still help patients when they are at their most vulnerable by being a successful administrator. A good administrator allows medical staff to focus fully on caring for the patient while we manage the regulatory, financial and human capital activities.

What are your favorite aspects of your profession?
Being able to still have an impact even though I am not providing patient care. I have already been told by several patients in my new role that the staff I manage are what made their experiences with our clinic positive. It is not just the medicine that helps patients heal, but the environment of care and kindness that everyone from my front desk staff to our most famous physicians provide.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Relationships with medical staff. The constant challenge that a non-clinical staff member such as myself encounters is supporting the clinical staff the best you can. Since I am not clinical, I cannot help out some of my staff if one of my Medical Assistants calls out, as much as I want to. We all want to do what we can for the patients, but we are limited by what we are allowed to do.

Describe what a “typical day” looks like for you.
I don’t have one! Every day is different. My clinic sees upwards of 400 patients a week, but issues can range wildly. Just last week, the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene made a surprise appearance to the Outpatient Clinics. My entire morning calendar went out the window as I implemented “Just in Time” regulatory checklists and processes. The next minute I could have a patient complaint, provider concern, machine malfunction, staff concern, etc. No day is the same which is one of the main reasons why I love my job.

What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your field?
There are many avenues that one can use to enter healthcare. I specifically am an “operations guy,” but I have friends that work solely in finance, HR, and regulatory. Hours can be long because of the nature of the industry. I am expected to work regardless of weather, civil disruptions and most holidays.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Dentistry

Denisonians in health professions: dentistry - david-hickey-300x268.png image #0David Hickey ’08

Current Role: Associate Dentist at Daily Dental & Braces Bar

Professional School attended: Ohio State University College of Dentistry, graduated in 2015

Fun Fact:
I like to travel and I’ve been to 15 countries so far.

Describe the process you went through to select your career path: what impacted your decision?

I wanted to go to medical school originally, but after shadowing in the hospital and asking physicians if they would do it all over again, most said they would not.  They missed too many significant events in their family’s lives.  They were burdened by insurance.  Most thought the doctor-patient relationship had eroded over the years.

Then, when I chipped a tooth I went to get it fixed by my dentist and I just started thinking about how cool it was that he put my tooth back together.  I realized dentistry is a great alternative to medicine because you use a lot of different science and health knowledge, while also working with your hands and building trust with people.  Someday, I want to own a practice and this is much easier to do in dentistry than in medicine.

What are your favorite aspects of your profession?

Building relationships with patients, getting patients out of pain, and rebuilding their smiles

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

When you first start out after dental school, the procedures are difficult.  With practice and repetition, the procedures become easier to do.  But most challenging is working with people who hate the dentist or who have a negative attitude about you.  Almost every day someone tells you they don’t really want to be in your chair because they hate the dentist.  Although I don’t take this personally, after a while it still kind of drags on you.

Describe what a “typical day” looks like for you.

I can see 20 patients a day sometimes, for general dentistry as well as orthodontics (we do braces in my office).  Everybody is different in the dental chair, so it is hard to describe a typical day.  Generally, dental practice has a lot of different disciplines and you can decide what procedures you like to do, and refer the rest to specialists.  So there is great variety that makes each day interesting.  We do work long hours and occasional weekends at my job, but also get some weekdays off in return.

What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your field?

Ask your family dentist questions about the field and if you can shadow.  They were all in this situation before and they would be glad to help you!

Denisonians in Health Professions: Nutritionist

Denisonians in health professions: nutritionist - kathy-mcneely-300x300.png image #0Kathy McNeely ’82

Role: Nutritionist

Graduate Schools attended:
Harvard Divinity School and Maryland University of Integrative Health      

Fun Fact: While in Divinity School at Harvard, I worked at the Wine and Cheese Cask in Somerville, MA. I was one of the first taste testers for Sam Adams Lager when Jim Koch was introducing his product by going to individual stores and getting owners and employees to sit down and have a beer with him. In the following year, fellow Denisonian, Peter Brooke (1983), worked at an advertising firm in Boston and helped develop one of Sam Adams’ first ad campaigns with the slogan “I’m a revolting beer drinker.” I like to think that we played a small part in the local brewing industry – which has really taken off since then.    

Describe the process you went through to select your career path: what impacted your decision?
I found my way to the nutrition field after years of work in the area of adult education and counseling. I initially trained at Harvard Divinity School with some emphasis on education and counseling. I went on to work overseas accompanying people in war torn regions of Nicaragua and Guatemala. My work in these two countries was focused on adult education and being a healing presence offering support and counsel for people as they grieved the loss of loved ones. I also served as a chaplain at Williams College, and as an advocate for international peace and social justice issues focused mainly on access to medicines, health services and to healthy, culturally appropriate foods. It was my work on food security that peaked my interest in nutrition. I began taking core classes in nutrition and eventually completed my MS in nutrition in 2013. I have been practicing nutrition in a public health setting since 2014, and now specialize in helping people implement lifestyle changes to better manage chronic health conditions, especially diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

What are your favorite aspects of your profession?
I love helping people identify simple steps they can take to improve their health. Much of my work involves helping people develop problem solving skills.  

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Lack of resources. I find that many people are not food secure. Their incomes do not stretch to meet their needs mainly because they have no transportation and are limited to shopping at corner stores that do not carry fresh vegetables and fruits. These stores feature lots of very expensive junk foods and snack foods. I see people struggle with doing the best with what they have, but still finding it hard to make good choices.

Describe what a typical day looks like for you.       
I see 6-8 patients per day – spending 30-45 minutes with each one. We discuss the patient’s health goals (to lose weight, better manage blood sugar, or lower blood pressure); we review foods eaten in the past 24 hours, what kind of exercise the person got, what medications they are taking and when, we discuss aspects of the diet that can be improved and we come up with an action plan – usually 2-3 simple steps the person can take in the coming weeks to improve health outcomes.

What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your field?
The science of nutrition is very new. Every day new studies come out saying “eat this,” or “avoid eating that.” It’s confusing for the average person and challenging to keep up with the latest studies. My advice would be to find what works for you, and not simply believe that what you found is true for you will work for everyone. Nutrition counseling is much more a process of accompanying someone on their health journey – and food is a big part of that journey. It’s about helping a person see that food, diet and lifestyle habits all contribute to the bigger picture of what makes that person who he or she is. 

Denisonians in Health Professions: Clinical Research Assistant

Denisonians in health professions: clinical research assistant - lauren-jay-260x300.png image #0Lauren Jay ’14

Role: Clinical Research Assistant

Fun Fact: I’ve been to “Castaway” island in Fiji and met Wilson on the beach

Describe the process you went through to select your career path: what impacted your decision?
I wanted to get some experience in the field prior to applying to graduate school. I unfortunately did not get the opportunity to do research while I was at Denison, so I wanted to see if research was a potential career for me.

What are your favorite aspects of your profession?
I love meeting and consenting patients for our various research studies. I also enjoy learning new lab techniques and becoming more knowledgeable about current pharmaceutical trials. Engaging with doctors and other health care team members also has its perks. I’ve met a lot of great people while working for The Ohio State College of Medicine.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
The most challenging aspect of my work is meeting all the dynamic needs of pharmaceutical trials. Our lab is involved in a few trials that require very detailed documents, logs, and reports. I did not realize the amount of work, organization, and communication that goes into being the main clinical lab. There are very high expectations and you cannot afford to make mistakes. Thus, being proactive and staying organized can help mitigate some of the stresses that come with this job.

Describe what a typical day looks like for you.
A typical day involves running a clinical enzyme assay, gathering and processing samples, and helping with daily operations of the lab. When I first started my job, I used to consent patients for our research studies. Since then, I have strengthened my lab skills and am now one of the lead technicians. 

What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your field?
Reach out to alumni in the field. Do not be afraid that you’re “bothering them”, because most alumni are willing to help! If they can’t help get you a position, they may be able to point you in the right direction and/or even put you in contact with some of their colleagues. Networking is KEY. Use the power of the Denison alumni network to help you reach your next step in life.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Exercise Physiology

Denisonians in health professions: exercise physiology - lindsey-nock-300x289.png image #0Lindsey Nock ’14

Role: Exercise Physiologist at UC Health

Professional School: Miami University, graduated in 2016

Describe the process you went through to select your career path: what impacted your decision?
I started Denison as a Chemistry major, wanting to go to pharmacy school but quickly decided chemistry was not for me. I switched to a Biology major my sophomore year, still wanting a career somewhere in the medical field. I shadowed several professions during my junior year, searching for the right fit. I found that perfect fit in Cardiac Rehab as an Exercise Physiologist.

What are your favorite aspects of your profession?
The reason I love going to work every day is because I know I am positively influencing the lives of so many people. My profession is so incredibly rewarding because I help cardiac and pulmonary patients improve their health through exercise and education about living a healthy lifestyle. I physically see improvement in these patients as they make their way through rehab. I am very passionate about living a healthy life by eating well and exercising. I also love knowing how exercise positively affects the body, so getting to share that knowledge with individuals every day is a lot of fun.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Sometimes we get patients who are not willing to change. Trying to help patients who are stubborn or who really don’t have the desire to improve their poor habits is very frustrating. However, I’ve learned that sometimes it just takes more time for some people to want to change aspects of their lifestyle and that I might just have to try a little harder and be patient because usually these patients will improve in some way by the end of rehab.

Describe what a “typical day” looks like for you.
When I come to work, I first set up a few things for the day. By 8:00, patients start coming in for their cardiac rehab classes. We have 7 classes three days a week with up to 12 patients per class. During each class, the staff and I rotate jobs. The jobs include sitting at the EKG monitor and telling each patient what levels on the cardio equipment they should be on, taking blood pressures, and doing individual treatment plans with patients. We also teach various education classes every Wednesday. Tuesdays and Thursdays are for pulmonary rehab which is very similar to cardiac rehab, but patients aren’t hooked up to an EKG monitor. On those days, we also do orientations with new patients where we talk about their health history and document the evaluation prior to starting their rehab program.

What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your field?
I recommend shadowing an Exercise Physiologist in cardiac rehab first to see if that career path is right for you, do an internship during the summer to get some experience, get a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology after Denison, and then work on getting an ACSM certification.

CandidCareer – Career Video Platform

We want to tell you about one of our new online resources here at the Knowlton Center. In addition to enjoying our one-on-one career appointments, peer advisors, and career labs, we now have available a YouTube-esque video platform that allows students to explore career paths through informational interviews with professionals.

The platform is CandidCareer. Access the platform here at!

CandidCareer has a library of career-specific informational interviews with industry professionals. This is an excellent way to explore the field that you hope to enter. You are able to learn information about jobs directly from those who work them, and there are a lot of jobs represented too! CandidCareer has hundreds of videos available.

In addition to job specific interviews, CandidCareer also has a library of videos to help with anything career related. Need tips on writing a cover letter? Done. Need tips on creating a great LinkedIn profile? Done. Even if you aren’t looking for anything specific exploring through CandidCareer is an excellent source to peruse as you start gearing down for interviews and careers after Denison.

So if you want an edge on your job search and to learn reliable information about the process at any time, check out Candid Career!

Career Ready Bootcamp!

The week before the semester started the Knowlton Center brought 18 sophomore and junior students from back to campus to participate in a 3-day intensive career-readiness program. The students came from all over Denison representing different majors and extracurricular activities all with one goal: to prepare for internships and careers after Denison.

The Students all came together and participated in several preparation workshops with our career coaches. These workshops focused on writing resumes and cover letters, networking, LinkedIn Profiles, and interviewing. Additionally we were all able to participate in a voice training session with Voice Coach from Available Light Theatre, Acacia Duncan. Acacia demonstrated techniques to add confidence to your voice and covered the dos and don’ts of presenting yourself vocally.

The program also included a day business trip to Columbus. There the students toured companies from several different industries and were able to gain a perspective of professional life in Columbus, a hub of employment for recent Denison grads. The trip culminated with a networking event with several Denison alumni. The students were able to practice their networking skills and make professional connections with Denison alumni.

The last day of the program gave the students a chance to apply everything they learned in a series of mock interviews. They were given a chance to perfect their resumes and choose from a list of sample internships to interview for with our career coaches and other professionals around the college. This allowed the students to interview and receive valuable feedback. Later the students participated in a Designing Your Life Workshop, a program offered by the Knowlton Center in conjunction with the Red Fram Lab developed from the strategies of Design Thinking out of Stanford. The workshop allows you to plan several versions of your future and what steps you need to take and when, and is intended to keep your mind open to innovation.

This “Career Ready Bootcamp” is an idea that the Knowlton Center has been thinking of for a while now but was finally able to bring it to fruition this year. The program was a success and we hope to bring it to Denison annually so we can do what we do best: career preparation!

Denisonians in Health Professions: Nursing

A path to health professions: nursing - beverly-fleuter-200x300.png image #0Beverly Fleuter ’13 (Johnson)

Role: Registered Nurse

Professional Schools attended: Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (2014); Arizona State University

Fun Fact: I have been to all 50 states!

Describe the process you went through to select your career path: what impacted your decision?
Many of my family, friends, and mentors thought I would be a good nurse and that I would enjoy the professional development involved. I did A LOT of background research and preparation to decide how and when to go to nursing school. I knew I was doing the right thing when I enjoyed my prerequisites and was excited about the nursing curriculum.

What are your favorite aspects of your profession?
I get to work face to face with patients and families every day. I also get to participate in the science of nursing by doing research. Nursing has dozens of trajectories that all lead to very different lifestyles and a variety of specialties. I could decide to go into nursing informatics and help engineer the programming we use in the hospital or I could go work in the OR as a scrub nurse. There are so many options.  

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Remembering self-care. Nursing is a physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging job, especially at the bedside. Fortunately, many organizations provide support with this aspect.

Describe what a typical day looks like for you.       
I work a 12 hour shift, three days a week. I get to work at 7AM and leave around 7:30PM. I get a report on how my patients did overnight and then implement treatments for them throughout the day in conjunction with the medical team, social workers, and physical therapy.

What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your field?
Just like there are many career trajectories, there are also many different educational trajectories. Diploma programs, Bachelors, Masters, Doctoral (Clinical and Research), and Certificates. Talk to someone who has pursued nursing as a “second degree” or a second career to give you guidance on what will be the most cost effective degree for your goals!