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Tesa Keeling Named New Dean for School of Nursing


Midland University is excited to announce the addition of Dr. Tesa Keeling as its new Dean for the School of Nursing. Keeling takes over for Linda Quinn, who is retiring after 12 years at Midland.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Keeling to Midland,” said Dr. Jamie Simpson, Chief Academic Officer. “She has a wealth of experience, expertise, and commitment to excellence in nursing education that will help ensure our nursing program remains relentlessly relevant.”

Keeling has spent the past 13 years with Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha. She began as a Certified Nursing Assistant and eventually transitioned into a role in nursing education, working with the onboarding process for new nurses. She also has spent the last several years serving as an adjunct professor at Midland.

“I served as a clinical instructor for pediatric care,” she said. “I would come to campus a couple of times, meet with students, and detail what the course would look like. Then we would do all our clinicals at the hospital, where I would provide feedback to them, see how they interacted with pediatric patients, and go over ideas and ways they could improve.”

Simpson said Keeling’s strong background in educating nurses makes her an ideal fit for Midland’s program. “Dr. Keeling completed her Doctor of Education in Nursing Education and Leadership, where she developed key skills that support the standard of excellence in our nursing curriculum and learning experiences provided to students.”

Education was not on Keeling’s radar when her nursing career began, but after interacting with nurses, she discovered where her true passion was. “After I started training new nurses, I really fell in love with teaching,” she said. “You’re so excited for every new experience you take them through and the impact it has. They are so grateful when you show them new things.”

Aside from her years as an adjunct, Keeling has a much deeper tie to Midland – her parents met as Midland students in the late 1980s. “I told people during my interview process that it felt like I was coming home,” she said. “Having those personal connections to Midland was very appealing to me.”

Keeling joins a nursing staff steeped in experience, something she is grateful for as she transitions into her new role. “A staff with experience is invaluable,” she said. “Having those people already established, and knowing what works and doesn’t work, is what will help make a team successful. I have told each of them I am going to rely heavily on what they can teach me. They are one of the best resources I already have.”

As she prepares to meet with current and prospective students, Keeling wants future nurses to be aware of the many options available as they enter the field. “The nursing field is so diverse, and there’s really something for everyone,” she said. “That’s something not many students are aware of, and I want to educate them and expose them to the many different opportunities they will have.”

In facing the challenges of a nursing shortage across the country, Keeling knows the situation isn’t a quick fix, and believes that digging deeper into what nurses need to be successful in their role will be crucial for the future. “We know we will be experiencing a shortage for the foreseeable future, so how can we address that?” Keeling said. “How can we think outside the box and do things differently, yet still meet the needs of our patients. I think we need to change our way of thinking of the way nurses take care of themselves. One of the things we’ve started to focus on is teaching strategies for resiliency among nursing students. If we can work with them to be resilient for a long time, that’s going to go a long way in keeping good nurses at the bedside.”

It’s part of an innovative strategy she has witnessed in her time at Midland, and is excited to see the continued growth down the road. “I love the innovation at Midland and the constant conversations that are taking place,” she said “If you have an idea, let’s talk about it, and if there’s a better way we can do things, let us know. That innovation is at the forefront of everything for me.”

Keeling graduated from Yutan High School and earned her undergraduate degree at Clarkson College. She and her husband, Jared, have two young sons.

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