ALUMNUS RETURNS TO HIS FIRST LOVE

NURSING IN HIS BLOOD

Kenneth Kirsner, B.S.N. '79, J.D. '90, can readily testify to the varied career paths open to nurses.With his degree in hand, Kirsner began work as a nurse at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.According to Kirsner, who subsequently decided to pursue a specialty track, "I enrolled in a nurse anesthesia program that offered a master's degree, which ultimately afforded great independence while maintaining close contact with patients."

Kirsner practiced anesthesia for several years at UM/Jackson and in the Jackson Memorial Hospital Maternity Center but again sought to expand his knowledge.This time he took a departure from nursing and enrolled in the University's School of Law. Kirsner became fully immersed in the law and upon graduation, went to work as a trial lawyer with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Kirsner says,"After some time with the NLRB, I realized that I really missed nursing and took a position teaching nurse anesthesia at the University of Kansas.This gave me the opportunity to write, lecture, and consult on legal issues in anesthesia. But the basic principles that were engendered during UM's B.S.N. program stuck with me: the focus on the patient, the need for communication, and the desire to seek new knowledge and share with colleagues. First and foremost, I am a nurse, and that focus has never failed me."

Kirsner is now a faculty member teaching nurse anesthesia at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.A dedicated alumnus, Kirsner supports the School of Nursing through gifts to scholarship funds, and he credits UM for his success. "I have been fortunate to publish papers in both nursing and legal literature and also to make presentations at state, national, and international nurse anesthesia meetings," he says. "I will always remember all the doors that opened to me based on the foundation I built as an undergrad at the School of Nursing."