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CU College of Nursing student (and alumni) Kate Redlinger, RN, MSN '21

Adventures in Nursing: Finding Passion in Acute Care

Post-grad pursues AG-ACNP certificate to become a better-rounded nurse

Written by Bob Mook on September 6, 2022

Kate Redlinger fondly remembers the time when her mother was called away from a family gathering to take care of another family’s emergency.

“One Christmas Eve she got called in because there was an ectopic pregnancy and she had to save a woman’s life,” Redlinger recalls. “Despite the interruption of the holiday plans, I thought that was very cool.”

Redlinger continued to be inspired by her mother’s chosen profession of nursing while growing up in Littleton, Colo.

“Sometimes I got to shadow her at work,” Redlinger says. “I was attracted to the idea that you’ve got to be really good at what you do. We didn’t mind the inconvenient hours because we knew mom’s work was very important. I always thought that what she did was very selfless and admirable.”

Redlinger RN, MSN (’21) with a Family Nurse Practitioner specialty followed her mother’s example all the way to her own nursing career. Though her early college education focused on public health, she found her passion in the clinical side of healthcare and never looked back.

“I had this realization that I wanted to take care of people who needed help yesterday,” she says. “My public health background is very relevant, and I feel very passionate about public health and the way it affects patients. But day in and day out, I’d much rather be in the hospital.”

Choosing CU Nursing

Having earned her BSN from Oregon Health & Science University in 2017, she enrolled in the University of Colorado College of Nursing in 2018 to pursue her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) as a Family Nurse Practitioner while working as a registered nurse at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

“I chose CU Nursing because of the relationship that it has with other hospitals and the Denver community,” she says. “I knew that I would get high-quality clinical placements and faculty. Just the reputation of CU being a high-quality school was something that I wanted.”

Having completed the MSN program in 2021, Redlinger says the program delivered on its promise and reputation.

“We have outstanding faculty,” she says. “They are willing to help you reach your goals. They really go above and beyond. And, true to form, my clinical placements have been excellent.”

Redlinger began working in the cardiology unit of Denver Health earlier this year. The stark contrast of growing up in south suburban Denver and serving a community hospital with an underserved population has fueled Redlinger’s ambitions to make the world a better place.

“It’s a real eye-opener to learn what’s happening in our own backyard,” she says. “We have a meth problem and a homeless population problem. Unfortunately, so much of that hides behind closed doors.”

Next term, Redlinger will work in the surgical trauma intensive care unit at UCHealth. Having spent most of her life in school and with seven years of hands-on nursing experience, she aspires to explore many different specialties with the goal of becoming a well-rounded practitioner.

Career next steps

After obtaining her MSN at CU Nursing in 2021, Redlinger is currently working on obtaining the Adult Gerontology Acute Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) certification, a 48-credit-hour program that equips participants with skills to assist patients with acute and often chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma and hypertension.

Though most NPs work as family nurse practitioners, there is a growing and urgent need for practitioners in adult-gerontology acute care. As an added benefit, NPs with the AG-ACNP certification enter the job market with more opportunities and higher earning potential than family nurse practitioners.

“Coming from an original training in family practice, I wanted to do this training so I could be prepared to take care of anybody,” she says.

Even after earning the AG-ACNP certification in December, 2022, Redlinger has no plans to put her education on hold – quite the contrary.

“I’m a glutton for school,” she laughs. “I’m enrolled in the doctorate program next term.”

Redlinger says her course of study at CU Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing program will essentially focus on what she calls “a big quality-improvement project.”

“The nursing doctorate is really about taking research and putting it into practice,” she says. “So we collect data and try to make a change to what’s actually happening in the practice day to day and measure the outcome. I am hoping that I can do some good with that.”

Applications for CU Nursing’s 2023 AG-ACNP program are being accepted now. Post-graduate certificates are available in this specialty.

Topics: Alumni, Students