Faculty profile

Erin Wyatt grew up in southeastern Michigan. During high school, she followed her dad when his company transferred him to the Hoosier state. Erin enrolled as an arts education major at Ball State University, then transferred to pre-medicine … and continued to change majors as she looked for the right profession for her.

As with so many of our nursing students and faculty, it was a personal experience that led her to a career in nursing.


Finding the right path

During the summer before her sophomore year, she says, “my grandpa died from metastatic kidney cancer. Everyone in my family was so touched by the comfort and care he received from the hospice nurses that I decided to change my major, one last time, to nursing.

“My Aunt Beverly, who was a nursing instructor, told me that I should go on to graduate school, earn my master’s degree, and teach nursing, which she’d found to be a very rewarding career. After working several years in inpatient oncology and patient education, I went back to earn my master’s in nursing education. After my children were born, I started working in inpatient pediatrics and obstetrics. A few years later, I made the transition to teaching nursing full time.”

Some changes

Erin notes that, since she was a nursing student, “so many technological advances have come along. I never had the opportunity to take part in high-fidelity simulations like our students do today. But a lot of nursing school is the same.

“Just like students today,” she continues, “I was expected to complete countless online modules and NCLEX-style practice questions, only they were on MS-DOS-based programs instead of ATI. I also had to view many skills demonstration videos outside normal class hours, only I watched them on VHS tapes that had to be checked out of the nursing lab!”

New demands

In looking back at how the nursing profession (and not just nursing school) has changed – and the impact that those changes have had on nursing students – Erin says: “Recently, both my parents were hospitalized at the same time for life-threatening conditions, so I observed a lot of nurses performing their duties.

“What I noticed is that – through no fault of their own – nurses today are often required to provide care for a greater number of patients and often each of these patients has critical health issues that require much of their time.

Faculty Hanna Raber, Erin, and Deb Smith with the second degree accelerated class of December 2022

"I want any student reading this to know that all of us here at IUSON BL care deeply about you and want you to be successful. You are doing a great job, and we see that!"

                                             - Erin Wyatt

“When staff nurses are caring for more patients with demanding and complex needs, they often lack the time to mentor nursing students as closely as they would like. I’ve also noticed that students today feel much higher levels of stress than even a few years ago. So many students feel a tremendous pressure – either imposed by themselves or their family – to achieve a perfect GPA or flawlessly perform a complex nursing skill on their first attempt, which is not realistic in a rigorous program like ours.

“I want any student reading this to know that all of us here at IUSON BL care deeply about you and want you to be successful. So, please give yourself permission to mess up occasionally, because you don’t want to burn yourself out before you even get a chance to get started in your profession. You are doing a great job, and we see that!”

The need for advocacy

Those of us who know Erin know that she is passionate about the need for nurses to advocate for changes in both health care and in the nursing profession itself.

“I have worked in many areas of nursing: inpatient oncology, patient education, community education, pediatrics, postpartum, lactation, school nursing, and nursing education,” she says, “but an area of nursing that is important to me is health policy and legislative advocacy. I believe that – because nurses have such an intimate knowledge of the human condition – they have a responsibility to advocate for health care policies, a responsibility that should not end when their shift is over or after they pass through the doors of the hospital or clinic.”

Erin’s concern arises from the fact that “many regulations, legislation, and policies relating to health care are created and voted on by people who do not understand illness or the struggles of everyday people. Occasionally, these legislators may be influenced by stories from their constituents, which makes it extremely important for nurses to share our perspectives and stories with legislators. Sometimes, contacting a legislator leads to an important health care bill being passed or a harmful health care bill being voted down.”


Erin at the Indiana Statehouse with State Representative Ed Clere, "who mentored me as a Nurse Legislative Fellow during the 2021 General Assembly."

A seat at the table

“At minimum,” she continues, “nurses should know who their elected officials are so that they can contact them when the need arises. For nurses who want to go a step further, they should consider running for elective office. I can’t think of anyone who more deserves a seat at the table when laws are being passed regarding people’s bodies and their well-being than registered nurses.”

Several years ago, following her own advice, Erin ran for Precinct Committeeman and State Convention Delegate for her political party and won both elections! Last fall, after working for a year as a school nurse and seeing the challenges faced by children in the community, Erin decided to run for the Monroe County School Board. In a three-person race, Erin received over 50% of the votes. “I do believe it was, in part, my position as a nurse that helped voters relate to me,” she says.

Erin campaigning for Monroe County School Board.
Erin wins election to the Monroe County School Board and is sworn in by Judge Kara Krothe, daughter of IUSON BL Dean Emerita Joyce Splann Krothe.