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R. Shelly Lancaster

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R. Shelly Lancaster teaches future nurses at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. As she guides her students to become nursing professionals, she never forgets those who've guided her in the past.
R. Shelly Lancaster

photo of R. Shelly Lancaster

By Morgan Counts
Student Multimedia Reporter

being an inspiration

In a pit class full of sleepy college students, R. Shelly Lancaster commands the room. Her voice loud and fearless, she asks the students, “Do you know how you are supposed to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner”? Are you supposed to be quiet or sing along?” A simple question, but every student seems to be sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for her answer.
One student suggests a polite silence. Lancaster shakes her head. Not in her world. She answers her own question with as much force as a gospel pastor delivering a sermon, “No, you are supposed to sing it at the top of your lungs. You have to sing it like you mean it!”

Lancaster 3
Dr. R. Shelly Lancaster at the Global Hospital and Health City in Chennai, India, holding the son of a local nurse with whom she has become friends.  
With that, Lancaster has everyone’s undivided attention. The large lecture hall is full of nursing students at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and Lancaster is volunteering her time to share her experiences as a medic in the Air Force. She explains what the national anthem means to her and how she still gets emotional when she hears Whitney Houston’s version of the anthem from the 1991 Super Bowl, performed right after the United States entered the Gulf War, when Lancaster herself was stationed in Germany.
Although she is not teaching this particular class, these students are learning, learning from someone who was once in their place, listening and looking for guidance and inspiration.

Every step in Lancaster’s life, from her decision to join the Air Force to going for her Ph.D. and becoming a nursing professor, is marked with a significant person, a person who inspired her to try something new, to take the next step. She says these people saw something in her that she never saw and inspired her to believe in herself, and it started from the day she was born.

To read the entire story, please down the R. Shelly Lancaster PDF.












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