Krysta Litherland, MSN'19

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): Entry-Level

As a Katie, you’re in a community as opposed to on an individual island. Having those partners and friends that you can reach out to is so important in this program.

Interview and photo by Amy Mullowney '19.

Hometown

Plymouth, Minnesota

Deciding on an Area of Study

Though Krysta resisted, her family remembers instances that showed her calling to be a nurse from a young age. “I used to play with my Barbies like they were pregnant and have the other Barbie help them deliver,” recalls Krysta, laughing. “My mom always wanted me to go into nursing, and I would say, ‘No, I’m never going to be a nurse.’ ”

Once Krysta realized that there are more options than “hospital nursing” and that, in fact, the options are limitless, everything changed. “I want to be a DNP. I want to travel the world. I can do anything, and go anywhere with a nursing degree.”

Building Experience

After earning an undergraduate biology degree, Krysta worked for a short time at an infectious disease laboratory. However, she wanted to feel like she was helping people directly, not just working behind the scenes. So she started volunteering at Planned Parenthood and Minnesota AIDS Project. Plagued by the feeling that she still wasn’t making enough of a difference, Krysta joined the Peace Corps.

For the next 27 months, Krysta lived in Ghana, Africa. Her work centered around maternal health, malaria, HIV, and family planning with local communities. Being exposed to the reproductive health field sparked an interest and a search for more knowledge in Krysta.

During her last month in Ghana, she went to a hospital to observe their sanitary health practices. Krysta was thrown right into a delivery and told to catch the baby! “I had read a few books, but I hadn’t studied or practiced… I caught the baby, put the baby on the mom, and cut and clamped the cord.” This surreal, hands-on experience was a pivotal moment for Krysta. She decided she would go back to school to further her education and training in nursing.

Today

Krysta chose St. Kate’s accelerated MSN: Entry Level program for its holistic feel and hands-on approach to learning. When she returned to the United States, Krysta also trained to be a doula. With her rigorous class schedule and workload, however, she hasn’t had much time to expand her clientele.

In just a little over a year in the program, Krysta has already worked with Health Partners day clinics, done outreach nursing where she went into patients homes, worked in pediatrics, the NICU, postpartum, labor and delivery, and taken a three-week class in Zambia.

So what’s next for Krysta? She’s secured a job with The Birthplace after graduation. As a nursing station technician, she’ll float between postpartum labor and delivery and triage. “And then look in to a DNP program for midwifery. I would love to know all the birthing strategies around the world.”