Faculty Spotlight: Ann Bruch

Hope Beelman, IV Leader Staff

Before her 21 years of teaching at Illinois Valley Community College, Nursing Professor Ann Bruch dedicated herself to a career in nursing to make a difference in the lives of others. She felt as if her current career was a “calling” and pushed herself to pursue a field that was overall challenging, interesting, and involved people.

Ann earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from OSF Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing from Bradley University.

In addition, Ann completed a great deal of post-graduate work such as obtaining a Post-Master’s certificate in Nursing Education from OSF Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing, a Master of Online Teaching from University of Illinois, and a Life Coaching Graduate Certificate from Grand Canyon University.

During her time as a Nursing Professor, Ann commented that her favorite part of her job at IVCC “is working with the students,” and added, “The nurse educator role is essential to the profession of nursing. I have a direct impact in shaping the profession of nursing through my teaching. I get great satisfaction in seeing my students be successful in caring for their patients. I think I learn as much from the students as they do me.”

Through her career, Ann feels that her greatest accomplishment is teaching nursing since she feels extremely privileged to share her love and passion with students at IVCC.

One of Ann’s students, Insaf Khouaja, appreciates all that she has done to welcome students with open arms in the Nursing Program and is grateful for the encouragement and guidance she provides them with.

When describing a time when she felt Ann went above and beyond to help her students, Insaf mentioned, “She was committed to make us learn how to practice our skills and use different strategies. She stayed after class hour[s] to talk to students and answer their questions. Her smile was approachable and an indirect message to the students to feel comfortable and open up [about] their issues.”

Insaf added that she feels Ann has well-prepared her so far for what she may experience in her future career of nursing and notes that the instructions and advice she learned will never be wasted as Ann was always willing to direct and assist Insaf with any needed information.

With COVID-19 still present and persistent, an ordinary week for nursing faculty and students looks different from previous years. Ann mentioned that during the fall semester, students were able to attend clinical at local hospitals as well as participate in labs on campus; however, this spring semester started off with nursing classes being taught online synchronously for the first eight weeks.

“I spend a lot of time on Zoom with my students,” explained Ann. “We also have simulation computer programs our students complete, so they get hands-on experience with caring for the patient population we are studying.”

Insaf commented, “Labs and clinical were my best hands-on experience. But with the spread of COVID-19, everything is cancelled. So far, all the courses I took are interesting and every course is a learning experience to me. I love it!”

Although both education and experience are greatly beneficial in nursing careers, Ann feels that her clinical experience has prepared her the most for her teaching position. She has clinical experience in critical care specialty nursing units that ranged from pediatric to all adult specialties as well as was responsible for educating 350 employees across the peri-operative services as a hospital educator.

“These valuable experiences allowed me to relate the content I teach to daily practice, have expanded my knowledge, and help me ‘think outside the box,’” Ann elaborated on her clinical experience.

Ann continued by explaining personality traits and characteristics she believes are most essential and effective for students to have as they pursue a career in nursing: “Students need to be caring, [empathetic], [an advocate], and [accepting]. Nurses make personal connections with their clients from all different levels and backgrounds. We care for individuals at their most vulnerable states. Nurses need to pay attention to detail and be good problem solvers. Critical thinking is a foundation for nursing practice,” reminded Ann.

Along with Ann’s passion of nursing and teaching her students, she also loves to travel with her family, enjoys immersing herself in different cultures, and has been to over a dozen countries in Europe.

“The Nursing Program requires hard work and dedication. Having yourself properly prepared for the additional stress and work is important for your success,” advises Ann to students currently enrolled in the Nursing Program and those who are interested in pursuing a nursing career.