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Aaron Claussen and Sue Naumes

RCC nursing instructor Sue Naumes brings a wealth of real world nursing experience to her role in training students for careers in healthcare.

“I love being a part of students attaining their dreams,” said Naumes, who joined RCC’s faculty 18 years ago. “Our graduates will impact and change the lives of their patients and families and it is extremely fulfilling to have contributed to that process.”

Naumes, who earned a bachelor’s in nursing at Washington State University and master’s in nursing education at Clarkson College, began her career as an Intensive Care Unit nurse at Rogue Valley Medical Center. A year later she became the director of the hospital’s Cardiovascular Surgery Unit. She’s also worked in quality assurance for an insurance company and other nursing roles.

Second-year nursing student Aaron Claussen particularly appreciates how Sue Naumes, who is his advisor and instructor, is exacting yet supportive.

“She’ll walk you through it and observe, giving you the benefit of her experience. She makes sure you know what you’re doing.” Naumes has also helped Claussen design strategies for staying healthy and positive in a stressful profession.

“Helping a student develop into a poised, competent RN in just two short years is quite the transformation, and it is so fun to watch,” said Naumes. “I love helping these bright minds reach their full potential.”

Nursing student finding his niche at RCC

For Aaron Claussen the opportunity to interact with patients is the best part of nursing. “It’s really gratifying to go into a patient’s room and having them smile and be glad I’m there to help with their medical needs,” said Claussen, a second-year nursing student at Rogue Community College.

He’s becoming increasingly skillful and at ease in the hospital setting. “RCC instructors start you out slow and phase you into other duties. As training goes on, you became more comfortable and it becomes a fluid thing.”

Claussen, whose family moved to Cave Junction from California’s Simi Valley seven years ago, earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Southern Oregon University. The economic downturn, however, made finding work difficult. A friend who’d just graduated from nursing school and been hired right away recommended the profession. “I thought, ‘I could do that!’” Claussen said. “I like interacting with people and the teamwork aspect.”

Claussen enrolled at Rogue to complete nursing prerequisites such as microbiology and anatomy and physiology. After a year he successfully applied for RCC’s highly competitive nursing program. “I like the teachers and the education I’ve gotten at RCC. Classes are tough and stringent because they want you to know your stuff,” he noted. “It’s been good preparation for nursing to have a basic knowledge of how the body works. And communication skills I’ve learned help build rapport with patients.”

The first year was difficult, blending classes, homework, hospital shifts, and a commute to Rogue Valley Medical Center that required getting up at 4 a.m. “They tell you if you have a job, quit,” he recalled.

The nursing instructors’ diverse backgrounds and real-world experience helped. “They exude confidence,” Claussen said. “They give you more than just information from a book. There are anecdotes taken from real life that help you remember cases,” he added. “RCC teaches you how to be a nurse and have the skills you need, so when you go into a hospital you know exactly what to do.”

Claussen particularly appreciates how Sue Naumes, his advisor, instructor and mentor, is exacting yet supportive. Nursing students are required to compile a portfolio that includes a journal with personal health observations. In discussing ways to enhance physical and mental well being in a stressful profession, they’ve built a positive bond, Claussen said. “She’ll walk you through it and observe, giving you the benefit of her experience. She makes sure you know what you’re doing.”

Have a story idea for the website? Please E-mail Rand Hill

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