“Kansas’ Best” Nursing Even Better After Gift

Thanks to a generous gift from Lynne and Donald Connelly, nursing students at Benedictine College have the answer to a dilemma every nursing student has faced.

The dilemma? Hands-on training is of the essence in their profession, but clinical experience is only available in the final stages of training.

Lynne Connelly, PhD, RN (above, center) and Donald Connelly, PhD are funding the answer: initial creation of an additional simulation laboratory for the Benedictine Nursing School. This laboratory will provide Benedictine nursing students with a full range of nursing situations to hone their clinical skills and nursing judgement.

The Benedictine College Nursing School was recently named the Best in Kansas by RegisteredNursing.org. Director Dr. Jackie Pick Harris ’98, said she is grateful for the gift. “Our students come in after having two years of pre-nursing and the college’s requirements,” she said. “That helps them to be great communicators, very compassionate, and really look at their patients as Christ would see them.” The simulation lab adds the technical skills they need to make them excellent nurses.

The grant reflects the Connellys’ lifelong connection to nursing and their more recent association with Benedictine College. Lynne, from nursing aide in high school to RN to Colonel in the Army Nursing Corps, has been a practicing member of the profession all her adult life, primarily in emergency and medical-surgical nursing.

With a doctorate in Nursing, Lynne became an educator and came to Benedictine College as the founding director of the Nursing Program. She later returned from retirement to be the interim director and then an adjunct professor. Don’s connections are more indirect. His mother was a nursing supervisor at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and he also taught briefly at Benedictine College as an adjunct history professor.

Lynne and Don both grew up in Maryland and both are retired Army officers, Nurse and Military Intelligence respectively. After the military, they both became educators. Lynne has taught at Church Home and Hospital School of Nursing in Baltimore, the Army Medical Department Center and School, The University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio, and the University of Kansas School of Nursing before coming to Benedictine. After receiving his doctorate in History, Don taught at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, before retiring as Professor Emeritus.

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.