Celeste Kallenborn is a nurse executive as corporate director of care management operations, standardization and training for Steward Health Care System. She has worked in various hospitals, consulting firms and other health care environments. Her career history includes titles such as associate director of health care consulting practice, senior specialist for case management, throughput and performance excellence as well as vice president of acute care services at a large academic medical center.
She has published work in seven peer-reviewed journals, executed five grants, presented at dozens of state, regional and national conferences. She was recognized for excellence in her field — in 2006 as the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce Nurse of the Year and in 2006 as a Florida Hospital Association Hospital Hero of the Year finalist.
And right at the top of the education section of this outstanding resume is her most recent academic accolade: Master of Science in Nursing (Nurse Administrator Concentration) from The University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing. She began that degree program in August 2015 while working in a traveling senior specialist position for Tenet Healthcare, a position she had taken to balance work with her daughter’s University of South Florida soccer games.
“ANCC’s Magnet Program emphasizes the importance of obtaining advanced degrees in Nursing. I decided it was time to get my master’s in nursing to supplement my MBA.” The American Nursing Credentialing Center reserves Magnet recognition for organizations that “attract and retain well-qualified nurses who promote quality patient, resident and client care.” When it came to finding a master’s program that would work for Celeste, she had specific requirements in mind. “It had to be highly ranked, fully online and affordable.”
Celeste considered programs in her own state of Florida and her home state of Ohio. Ultimately, she chose UA’s online Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Nurse Administrator. “UA offered in-state tuition for distance learners and was ranked in the top 25 by U.S. News & World Report, and they have a nationally acclaimed reputation.”
As a seasoned nurse with extensive experience in trauma and med-surg, Celeste said the coursework gave her a broader understanding of nursing. “It allowed me to explore areas I wasn’t familiar with, like rural health care, telemedicine, and informatics.” She said the focus on theory and how to apply it was beneficial from a leadership perspective.
She found value in the variety of professional leadership levels represented by her classmates. “The discussions in the program gave me a perspective of people who were new to leadership in knowing what they did and did not understand.” She also appreciated the many leadership assessment tools throughout her coursework. “It didn’t matter where you were in your leadership development — new, seasoned or somewhere in the middle — those were so helpful in sharing insight for how to develop as a leader.” The clinical practicum assignment was valuable to both her and her preceptor. Her project was presented at the national conference for the American Organization of Nurse Leaders in San Diego, CA.
The online coursework helped Celeste balance family and her busy travel career. “Most of the courses had my assignments available at the start of the course. I could work ahead when I wasn’t traveling. Then, when I had a heavier travel schedule, I wouldn’t fall behind.” Her technical problems were few and far between. “I really liked that everything worked! I only had to call the help desk maybe one or two times.”
Master’s programs require a fair amount of research and writing, and Celeste said the services UA offers its distance students were top-notch. “Even though I wasn’t on campus, the library resources were super. The Writing Center staff were helpful in reviewing papers. Appointments were easy to schedule. Since I’m not a technical writer, I utilized those services often. I was very impressed.”
In August 2017, Celeste completed her degree and participated in UA graduation alongside main campus UA students and her fellow distance classmates. “It was so fun because I got to meet people I’d been corresponding with constantly over the past two years but didn’t yet know what they looked like! I really appreciated being able to participate in graduation and attending the distance graduation reception where I got a picture next to a Nick Saban cut-out.”
In 2019, she moved into her role at Steward Health Care System. She continues to aspire to publish and present her work at conferences, and she is currently focused on building the corporate care management structure at Steward. She hopes to forge a new partnership in the future where Steward’s 39 hospitals across nine states can serve as preceptor sites for Bama By Distance nursing students in leadership and administration.
“Having my master’s in Nursing has clearly helped my career path. I was really happy with the program, and I recommend it to everybody. The campus is unbelievably beautiful, and I have a lot of pride in the fact that I attended there.”
Published: October 16th, 2020