Faculty and Staff
The School of Nursing offers a nursing program designed to meet the needs of students for a broad general education essential to the professional nursing role. The faculty in this program bases the curriculum on the following beliefs:
Human beings are integrated individuals with physiological, psychosocial, cultural, and spiritual dimensions. Human beings strive for understanding and mastery as they attempt to meet basic human needs while progressing through the developmental stages of life. As open systems, human beings experience internal and external stressors to which they must adapt in order to attain and maintain health. Human beings have inherent dignity and have the right and responsibility to make choices as they cope with stressors and attempt to resolve problems.
Environment consists of all internal and external forces surrounding an individual which could affect life and development. Because internal and external environments are open systems, every aspect of the environment must be considered an influencing factor in health.
Health is a state and a dynamic process of being and becoming integrated and whole through life experiences (Roy) which involves the dimensions of physiological, psychosocial, cultural and spiritual. When the human being is able to cope with internal and external stressors which threaten any dimension, the individual maintains a state of health. When the human being is unable to cope with stressors or copes in a maladaptive manner, a state of illness may result. Illness then, results in a subjective feeling of not being well. While nursing assists clients to identify health care needs, clients ultimately are responsible for health care choices.
Nursing is a caring profession in which the practitioner facilitates health, wellness, and healing of individuals, groups and communities. The professional nurse uses objective data and the client’s subjective experience in the processes of diagnosis and treatment of human experiences and responses to health and illness through the roles of provider of care, member of the profession and designer/manager/coordinator of care.
Faculty members come here with the primary goal to teach. Our nursing professors and instructors have extensive real world work experience which they share with students every day.
Dean of Nursing
ADN 1977, BSN 1978, Lake Superior State University
MSN 1995, Northern Michigan University
Research Interests: BSN student academic recovery following clinical course failure.
Ron Hutchins joined the faculty in the fall of 1997 and is certified as a nurse educator. He is an alumni of Lake Superior State College, now LSSU, where he graduated with his ADN in 1977 and BSN in 1978. As a student, he was the first recipient of the Tempie Dubow Scholarship and graduated cum laude. He completed a MSN in 1995 from Northern Michigan University. He is currently completing his doctorate in Educational Leadership. His primary areas of nursing practice have included community health, healthcare management, policy and program design, case management, and education. He taught as a full time professor at LSSU for 15 years before accepting the role as Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. His primary goal as dean is to develop an educational environment at LSSU that promotes positive student growth and nursing graduates who role model “caring” in its fullest sense.
When not at work, he enjoys fishing, hunting, hiking, and biking with his family, woodworking, and reading adventure stories, American military history, and books related to American social issues.
Chair, School of Nursing
BSN 1989, Lake Superior State University
MSN 1994, Northern Michigan University
Professor Lynn Gimpel-Kabke came to Sault Ste. Marie from Duluth, Minnesota as an LPN working at War Memorial Hospital for the first 12 years of her nursing career. She graduated from the last offering of the Associate Degree in Nursing at LSSU. Professor Kabke continued her education at LSSU earning her BSN degree in 1989 and her MSN in 1994 from Northern Michigan University as a Clinical Nursing Specialist in Adult Health with a sub-specialty in Perioperative Nursing. Her thesis was completed on Exploring the Relationships Between Waiting Psychological Distress in Preoperative Patients. Professor Kabke is licensed to practice nursing in both Michigan and Ontario, Canada.
In January of 1992, Professor Kabke began teaching full-time at LSSU and earned tenure in 1998 while teaching within the School of Nursing in both the BSN pre-licensure tract and BSN pos-licensure tract. Professor Kabke was instrumental in the development of the Practical Nursing program at LSSU in 2001. Since 2006, Professor Kabke has been the Director of the Practical Nursing program at LSSU. She has served as chair of the School of Nursing for the past 3 year; with one summer serving as interim dean. During the 2011-12 academic year she was the acting chair/associate dean of the School of Nursing.
Throughout her years at LSSU, Professor Kabke has served on many different university and departmental level committees to facilitate students as her first priority and to create a positive learning climate. She has been actively engaged on the Simulation Center Committee, University Curriculum Committee, University Human Subjects Review Committee, and the Strategic Planning/Budget Committee. To promote student success, Professor Kabke also participated in the development of the Freshman Year Experience and the Advising Committee. She has also represented her peers through Faculty Association negotiations for 3 contracts. At the departmental level, Professor Kabke contributed to the writing of the School of Nursing BSN Accreditation reports and the Practical Nursing Self Study reports. In 2000, she was a member of the committee that initiated Lake Superior State University's Nursing Honor Society serving as secretary, newsletter editor, and webmaster over the first 7 years. Professor Kabke also re-activated the Lake State Student Nurses Association (LSSNA), serving as advisor for 15 years and two years at the state level of the Michigan Student Nurses Association. Ultimately, Professor Kabke’s love of teaching is evident through her strong commitment to LSSU and she takes pride in her past students who are now employed as successful caring nurses.
Skills Lab Supervisor
Associates 1997, Lake Superior State University
BSN 2012, Lake Superior State University
MS 2008, Saint Joseph's College
BS 1992, LSSU
Jodi Orm, MSN, RN, CNE is the Director of Simulation Education and Assistant Professor of Nursing. In her role as nurse educator, Professor Orm has focused on discovering new technologies and determining how they can be used to enhance the learning process. In addition, she is passionate about innovative teaching strategies that can positively affect student engagement and student outcomes. She has also had the opportunity through consultation to share her educational philosophy with many faculty throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia. She strongly believes that simulation in education plays a major role in augmenting this philosophy and adds excitement to any healthcare curriculum.
Lead Simulation Specialist
Judy Hering is a Registered Nurse who has extensive experience in the field of medical/surgical and out-patient surgical nursing. She has also contributed to the all-important practical education of nursing students as a clinical instructor. Her most recent role is that of Lead Simulation Specialist for Lake Superior State University. In this role, Judy‘s goal is to create the highest sense of realism for the students in this artificial environment. Using the latest education-based digital solutions, she is able to enhance her learners’ education in an innovative and creative environment. Judy is currently BLS (Basic Life Support), PALS (Pediatric Advance Life Support) and ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) certified. Judy's future goals are to become a CHSOS - Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist and eventually obtain a level of Mastery in the Science of Nursing.
Sandra Allen-Cary joined the LSSU faculty in fall of 2014 as an Assistant Professor in the Nursing program. She received her ADN from Mott Community College in 1991, BSN from Kaplan University in 2006, and MSN as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner in 2010 from University of Cincinnati. She has over 23 years of nursing experience working in both the hospital and in the community in a variety of settings including critical care, cardiology, medical/surgical, OB-GYN, oncology, home health care, hospice, and the MIHP at the health department. Her special interests are maternal child, women’s health, end of life, and palliative care.
Outside of work Sandra loves spending time with her fiancé and son traveling, working in her gardens and quilting.
MS 2012, Regis University
BS 2001, Lake Superior State University
Professor Adrienne Beckham is a Sault native who completed her undergraduate degrees at LSSU as an LPN, ADN and returned to LSSU as a BSN Completion nursing student, graduating Summa Cum Laude, in 2001. In 1999, during her BSN Completion, she received the Dixie Stanley Light & Morton Light Nursing Growth Scholarship. In 2010 she continued her education and earned a MSN from Regis University in Denver, Colorado in 2012, graduating with honors.
In Professor Beckham's nursing career she has worked in many areas of acute patient care, community nursing and correctional nursing. She continues her long association with War Memorial Hospital and teaching CPR for the American Heart Association for health care personnel and lay persons in the Sault Ste. Marie community.
Professor Beckham began teaching at LSSU in 2009 with the Practical Nursing program in the clinical and classroom settings. She also teaches in the BSN program clinical settings and campus labs. She has assisted with the development and facilitation of health fairs, first aid and demonstrating nursing skills labs to the LSSU Upward Bound, LSSU Summer Camp programs and the Chippewa County 4H groups for the BSN Pediatric students.
With her EMS background, Professor Beckham is involved with SIM presentations for BSN Pediatric student on emergent health care and other acute care instructional presentations. Throughout her nursing career she has maintained certifications in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Trauma Nurse Core Curriculum and as an American Heart Association Basic Life Support Instructor. She also teaches Introduction to Medical Terminology with varying degree students in learning the medical language and incorporating it into investigation and research of disease processes and the effect on humans.
Professor Beckham volunteers as an EMT-S on the Sugar Island EMS Ambulance caring for Sugar Island Township residents. She enjoys volunteering in health care oriented organizations to provide care for those in need of many different services. She is also on the Best of Friends Humane Shelter board assisting Chippewa County residents with financial assistance and education in caring for the dogs and cats of this area.
BA 1993, University of Windsor
BSN 1997, Lake Superior State University
MSN 2003, Michigan State University
2003 AANC Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
Dr. Kathy Berchem is an experienced educator in the School of Nursing at LSSU. She has taught many areas of focus for LSSU, including Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Health Assessment, Women’s Health Issues, and Anatomy and Physiology. Most recently, she has focused her work on Health Care Simulation Education, with an emphasis on faculty development. Her course designs demonstrate an evidence-based construct with an active learning approach. Through a consistent pattern of high quality teaching, Dr. Berchem was awarded the Distinguished Teacher Award in 2008 for LSSU.
Dr. Berchem was awarded sabbatical at LSSU in 2013-2014, and during that time was successful in completing her Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) from RUSH University in Chicago. Dr. Berchem’s work for this doctorate was focused on the creation and evaluation of a Nurse Faculty Simulation Development program which is being successfully implemented at the School of Nursing here at LSSU, as well as being utilized as a model for other faculty development programs at RUSH University. Her work was just accepted by The International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation & Learning (INACSL) annual conference in June as a poster presentation.
Dr. Berchem continues to serve LSSU as a member of the Scholastic Standards committee, and Infrastructure committee. In the School of Nursing, she is an active member of the Outcomes committee, as well as the Curriculum committee, and contributed to the writing of the Schools Accreditation report. Dr. Berchem has published as an editor in two Medical-Surgical Nursing textbooks in the areas of Nursing Care of Patients with Heart Failure. She is a member of the Lake Superior Nursing Honor Society while continuing her focus on student advising and success in the nursing program.
MS 1995, 1983, Michigan State University
BS 1974, Michigan State University
Cynthia Butcher is certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner, and joined our faculty in 2013. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (1974), Master of Arts degree in Education (1983), and Master of Science degree in Nursing (1995) – all from Michigan State University. She was exceptionally fortunate to conduct her Master's thesis investigation (Psychological and Sociodemographic Barriers to Health Care Access of Rural Women Diagnosed with Breast Carcinoma) under the guidance of Barbara Given, PhD, RN, FAAN, the top Nursing cancer researcher in the country. While practicing in Grand Rapids, she was a principle researcher in a vaccination study [Brintnall, Martin, Butcher, Miedema,,& Allen. (2011, March). Engaging community partners to improve immunization rates for Medicaid children in an academic nurse managed center] which was subsequently presented at both national and international (Malta) conferences. She practiced full time as an NP in a variety of settings – including at LSSU’s own Wellness Care Center back in 1995! – for18 years before deciding to return to an academic setting. Prior to becoming an NP, she worked in critical care, hemodialysis, and for Michigan Department of Public Health in health care regulation.
She presently teaches Health Assessment - a particular passion of hers–and serves on the Outcomes and Curriculum Committees within the School of Nursing. Serving on the University’s Diversity Committee has dovetailed nicely with the Multicultural Health Care course she teaches. The RN-to-BSN program has been compelling for her, luring her to teach in Petoskey and Escanaba in the summer. She is the Health Care Provider for the University of Michigan Biologic Station in the summer months – a post that is hard to beat with its rustic, serene location on the shores of Douglas Lake.
She recently attended the Teaching Professor Technology Conference in Denver to learn additional strategies for making classes as engaging and technologically-advanced as possible, as well as the Michigan Student Nurse Association state conference in Lansing, MI in her role as Faculty Advisor to the Lake Superior Student Nurses Association. She is Vice President of the Lake Superior Nursing Honor Society (LSNHS) and is anticipating robust attendance at the annual conference and new member induction ceremony at the Cisler Center on March 21st. The LSNHS was recently informed by Sigma Theta Tau, the International Nursing Honor Society, that formal chapter status will be granted in the international organization within the next year. In addition to being a long-time Sigma Theta Tau member, she is a member of the Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners and American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
MS 2009, University of Cincinnati
BS 2001, Lake Superior State University
BSN 1994, Lake Superior State University
Professor Gerrie serves LSSU as an Assistant Professor for the School of Nursing. Professor Gerrie is a graduate of Lake Superior State University with a BSN degree and a graduate of Walden University with her MSN in Nursing Management and Leadership. As a nurse of over 20 years, Professor Gerrie is ANCC Board Certified as a medical surgical nurse and has held positions in Medical Surgical Nursing, Obstetrical and Women's Health, Renal Dialysis, Surgical Short Stay, Intensive and Cardiac Care, Case Management, Emergency Transport, and Management.
Professor Gerrie is energetic and passionate about nursing as a profession. She believes that remaining active in practice brings real life experience to the classroom setting strengthening student learning outcomes. She is published in Nurse Leader and owns a consulting business focusing on Improving Outcomes in Nursing and Health Care Delivery.
On campus Professor Gerrie chairs the Shared Governance Oversight Committee, is a member of the President's Cabinet, and serves the School of Nursing as a member of the Curriculum and Outcomes Committees. Professor Gerrie served as the Lake Superior Student Nurses Association Adviser from spring 2010 until spring of 2015. She also role models the importance of advancing the profession of nursing by serving as the Counselor for the Lake Superior Nursing Honor Society. In collaboration with her peers, the Board Members of the Lake Superior Nursing Honor Society will be applying for Sigma Theta Tau Charter status in June of 2015.
MA 1993, Central Michigan University
BS 1979 Michigan State University
Prof. Gordon is a part-time Assistant Professor at LSSU and teaches nutrition for the School of Nursing. As the primary instructor for the Human Nutrition Minor, she is passionate about the impact of food choices on health and enjoys working with the students of LSSU to improve their personal and professional knowledge about nutrition. She is the recipient of two SAILS Golden Anchor Awards at LSSU.
Charla is a Registered Dietitian with 30+ years of experience in the areas of maternal child health and health promotion/disease prevention for diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension in Tribal communities throughout Michigan. She is currently enjoying the opportunity to work with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians as a contractual dietitian in the health department’s diabetes program and with the LMAS District Health Department as a WIC Nutritionist.
On campus, Gordon is a member of the Individualized Studies Committee and the Practical Nursing Committee and has provided education sessions and support for ENACTUS and residence halls students.
MS 1996, Northern Michigan University
BS 1989, Lake Superior State University
Professor Patricia Kellan is a Sault native who completed her undergraduate degrees at LSSU as an ADN in 1978 and obtained her BSN in 1989. While pursuing her BSN she was nominated for the LSSU Outstanding Returning Student Award and served on the SON curriculum committee. She continued her education and earned a MSN from NMU in 1996. Upon achieving her MSN, which also encompassed the role of a clinical nurse specialist, she became ANCC certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner.
While in her BSN role, Professor Kellan was also the director of the LSSU Health Center from 1989 – 1996 when she was nominated for the LSSU Outstanding AP employee award and the health center was ranked the number one student service department on campus under her directorship for several years. She was also appointed to the Michigan Board of Nursing by then Governor Engler and served a 2 year term from 1995 – 1996.
With her extensive nursing expertise, health care background, and commitment to LSSU, Professor Kellan provides strong teaching and learning strategies in her primary role as the BSN course coordinator in Pediatric nursing within the theory, lab, and clinical components. She has also been a leader in the LSSU Simulation Center by facilitating a full clinical rotation for her Pediatric students to provide valuable interactive and hands on instruction. In addition, she has been the Summer semester course coordinator providing instruction to our PN students in both obstetric/pediatric nursing and her other abilities have extended into instruction for our students enrolled in Pathophysiology and Nursing Research.
BSN 1999, Lake Superior State University
MSN 2010, Regis University
Research Interests: Use of simulation for mental health nursing clinical replacement.
MSN 2012, BSN 2009, Spring Arbor University
ADN 2000, North Central Michigan College
AS 1988, Davenport College of Business
Professor Oliver instructs in the Practical Nursing (PN) and BSN programs. Courses include Drugs and Dosages, Nutrition Lab for PNs, Legal and Ethical Issues for PNs, and Office Nursing, Adult I and Contemporary Issues in Nursing. She has also taught Medical/Surgical Lab for Practical Nurses and has taught clinical nursing at the Sophomore and Junior level. In the Spring 2015 semester, she expanded her teaching activities to the BSN Completion students, teaching Management & Leadership and also Contemporary Nursing in an online format.
Oliver was a Paramedic for 15 years before becoming a nurse. She taught many EMT Basic and Medical First responder courses. During her tenure as a Paramedic, she taught over 3,000 people CPR and First Aid. In 2000, she obtained her RN and worked in several different capacities including Emergency Care, Long Term Care, Employee Health and Medical Office Manager.
Oliver is active on several committees including the Practical Nursing Committee of which she has been Chair for 4 years, Retention Committee, and the School of Nursing Faculty Search Committee. She also serves as the faculty advisor for the Colleges Against Cancer (Relay for Life) team on campus.
Oliver is active as the seamstress for the University Dance Program. She has enjoyed several trips to Ireland and secured funding to bring the Irish Folk Musicians “Lunasa” to the campus Arts Center in Spring of 2014.
Oliver is known to be quite and soft spoken, an advisor who will laugh and cry with her students.
Research Interests: Transition of recent BSN graduates into the hospital workforce.
LPN 1973, Northern Michigan University
BSN 1977, Northern Michigan University
MSN 1996, Northern Michigan University
DNP 2010, Oakland University
Ph.D 2010, Northern Michigan University
Dr. Keegan teaches nursing students at all levels of their undergraduate academic career using project based learning approaches in her teaching of nursing research, community nursing, and nursing informatics.
Dr. Keegan received her Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree from Oakland University in Rochester, MI, in 2010. While finishing her doctorate, she completed a Post-Masters Nurse Educator Certificate program through Northern Michigan University, where she also received her Master’s of Science in Nursing Administration and her Bachelors of Science in Nursing.
In 2009, Dr. Keegan was one of three recipients to receive a Michigan Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, Student Award Grants, awarded to doctorate and medical students conducting applied research in Michigan. Dr. Keegan’s research studied the Validity of a Postpartum Depression Risk Assessment Questionnaire. In addition, Dr. Keegan also revived a $23,000 stipend from a grant from the Michigan Nursing Corps, in 2008, a state program initiative designed to address Michigan’s shortage of qualified nursing faculty.
Throughout her career, Dr. Keegan has held a variety of nursing positions in areas such as, staff development, public health administration, community based OB/Peds, skilled home health nursing, OB, ICU and as practice manager for an Occupational Medicine clinic.
At LSSU, Dr. Keegan is involved in several department and university committees. She chairs the Nursing Student Affairs Committee, is secretary of the Lake Superior Nursing Honor Society and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International. She is also a member of the University Policy and Procedure committee, the Faculty Center for Teaching Workgroup, and the LSSU Distinction by Design Committee.
MS 2011, Regis University
Assistant Professor Verdecchia instructs nursing students at both the Junior and Senior levels of their undergraduate academic careers. While making student learning both interactive and positive, she understands the value of incorporating evidenced-based research into teaching.
Verdecchia is a Registered Nurse who has 21 years of nursing experience in various areas such Medical-Surgical, Infusion therapy, Renal Dialysis and Management. She is an alumnus of Lake Superior State University; graduating with her BSN in Nursing and also a graduate of Regis University with a Masters degree in Nursing. She believes in the importance of continuing education and will be returning back to school to pursue her Doctor of Nursing Practice.
On campus, Verdecchia is a member of the University Curriculum Committee, the School of Nursing Curriculum Committee and the Student Affairs Committee. She is also the current President of the Lake Superior Nursing Honor Society.