Alexa Haarstad

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Alexa Haarstad“In my clinicals I often attend rounds with the whole health care team, and it’s good to see how the nurses’ information and opinion is highly valued.”

As a senior in Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, Alexa Haarstad has mastered the art of juggling multiple responsibilities as she progresses through the full-time program. She is pursuing a minor in psychology, holds two jobs and has logged more than 400 volunteer hours in the neo-natal unit at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital.

“I absolutely love these tiny babies, and there is always a need,” she said. “My favorite clinical placement has been my immersion in the neo-natal intensive care unit.”

After considering majoring in business, Haarstad chose to enroll in the University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing. The decision was the right choice for her, as both the program and the career path feel right.

“Until I was in the program, I did not realize all the options nurses have and the range of opportunities,” Haarstad said. “In my clinicals I often attend rounds with the whole health care team, and it’s good to see how the nurses’ information and opinion is highly valued.”

“We have an ideal size class in the BSN program,” she said. “With 120 students per grade, you can’t get to know everyone right away. But we are placed in clinicals together in small groups and that’s where we have gotten to know one another and bonded."

In addition to her school and volunteer responsibilities, Haarstad works as a lab assistant for the School of Nursing. In that position, she sets up and prepares the simulation lab for students taking nursing classes. The work has given her a deep understanding of sophisticated equipment, including responsive manikins, an electronic health records system and telehealth technology.

“As a lab assistant, you have to be flexible,” she said. “Faculty are always thinking creatively about new and different ways of teaching and that can mean last minute changes.”

The school’s new simulation center, called the Bentson Healthy Communities Innovation Center, opened after Haarstad completed her sophomore year. “We have the very latest of everything, and now there are more events and demonstrations. It’s great,” she said.

After graduation, Haarstad’s goal is to work on a neonatal unit and she may continue her education someday, with a doctor of nursing practice degree.