Words of inspiration from Linfield’s new nursing professors

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Art by Annemarie Mullet

Charlotte Abramson and Isabel Berger

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The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of everyday life─from school, to grocery shopping, to politics. However, despite the staggering loss of jobs around the country, Linfield University has made strides in filling their faculty positions with individuals who are ready to inspire the next class of Linfield nurses. 

Professor Linda Anzalone is a new, but familiar, face at the school. She graduated from Linfield’s accelerated nursing program in 2009 and holds a prior degree in psychology and women’s studies from Ohio State University. 

Originally from Pennsylvania, Anzalone moved to Oregon because she was ready for a change and admired the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She inspired her brother and a friend, both prior Coloradians, to move here as well. 

“I looked at different schools in the area because I knew I eventually wanted to get a masters. I also wanted a program that was academically strong and had a liberal arts program,” Anzalone recalls. 

Anzalone enjoys being back on campus because of fond memories of her own tenure as a student.  She is still excited for the move to the new Portland location, however, since she thinks the increased space and functionality will be fabulous for classes with interactive elements. 

“I decided to start teaching at first for a little extra money while getting a masters,” Anzalone said “However, I first got hired to teach for a for-profit associate’s degree program and I didn’t feel good about it. Teaching at Linfield is a lot more rewarding.”. 

She decided to switch to teaching at Linfield while attempting to start a private nursing practice. Since she finds the work at Linfield so rewarding, she has postponed the private practice goal for now. 

Although Anzalone was nervous to come back to work at first because of the pandemic, she “feels good about being back outside” after reading about the efficacy of masks. Relieved to be back for clinical classes, she admitted those were quite a challenge to do online with little preparation time. 

The most important advice Anzalone routinely gives her students is the importance of self-care. She admitted that nursing school is really hard and those that get into the program are used to thinking that they “have to get straight A’s.” 

Self-care looks different for everyone, so she tends to ask her students to perform at least one act of self-care over the weekend. 

She also recommends that students lean on each other for support since the competition eases a little once accepted into the program. She stressed that peer support is especially helpful during clinicals. 

“I’m glad to safely be back for those classes,” Anzalone reported happily.

Former East Coast resident Professor Susan Bell also joined the Linfield nursing staff.  Born in Jacksonville, FL, Bell spent her early adult life in the Tampa Bay area. Craving a change in scenery and motivated by school, she moved to Southern Oregon several years ago with her family to work as a neonatal nurse before deciding to teach at Linfield. 

Bell found out about Linfield’s nursing program through her daughter, who had encounters with current students. She followed her daughter’s suggestion to look into a professor position at the school. 

“I was a nurse for over forty years, but teaching has always been a long term goal for me,” she said. “I think it’s a good time to look back at opportunities I’ve had in my own life and give back.” 

Before COVID hit the states, the nursing campus was preparing to move from one part of Portland to another, and Bell expressed excitement about what the change could bring to the local community. 

She, like a lot of professors, is currently teaching remotely. She has recently started working in her office again, but still urges people to “be cautious and smart and think about the environment and maintaining distance.” 

Outside of teaching, Bell enjoys traveling to the coast for adventures with her 10-year-old Boston Terrier. She also enjoys amateur photography, especially taking pictures of “weird things.”

Bell urges students to “bring your passion. Bring your love and caring for people, along with your excitement for learning different ways of thinking.”