Young Alumna of the Year Award

CarlsonEllen C. Carlson, Nurs ’11
Saint Louis, Mo.

Receiving a complicated medical diagnosis can feel like an emotional roller coaster. That’s where Ellen Carlson comes in. As a nurse practitioner in heart and vascular services for Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, she has a gift for comforting patients while explaining what’s happening to them in terms they can understand.

Ellen shows empathy to her patients by listening and learning from them while also teaching them about their diagnosis. She credits Marquette with giving her the education and social skills needed to interact with both patients and colleagues in a meaningful way, exemplifying the Jesuit ideal of cura personalis, or care for the whole person.

Ellen has embraced the concept of servant leadership on her own team, working with her colleagues to achieve a higher level of excellence. She focuses on educating different health care teams, such as nurses and medical assistants, about best practices. Ellen believes that when everyone is functioning at their highest level, it will lead to the best care for the patient and improved job satisfaction for all team members involved.

Not only does Ellen care for her human patients, she also cares for abused, neglected, and homeless animals at her local no-kill animal shelter. Ellen regularly volunteers at the shelter, helping to walk and train dogs. She also fosters dogs and has seen 19 of those dogs adopted into their forever homes.

Ellen plans to get involved with Advanced Practice Provider leadership in the future to continue to improve quality and processes and positively impact a greater number of people.

Fun Facts:

Name someone (past or present) with whom you'd like to have dinner.
I would love to have dinner with Loretta Ford, who founded the first nurse practitioner program. She was able to envision a way for nurses to further their education and provide a greater impact on the community. It would be interesting to see what challenges she faced doing so and how she was able to overcome them.

Name a Marquette faculty or staff member who had an impact on you, and how.
Dr. Christine Shaw was my pathophysiology teacher and the best teacher I've ever had. She would take complex concepts and break them down into a way that was fun and easy to understand. I don't think I've ever been as engaged in a class as I was with her. She has impacted my long-term knowledge on subjects as well as my ability to educate patients.


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