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Olivia Koehn, ’16 BSN, knew in middle school that she wanted to become a nurse.

For her, the role of school nurse was something she could see in her future. At that time, it was nothing more than a middle school daydream. Later in life, Koehn was faced with a family medical emergency and had to administer CPR on a family member. While the emergency had a devastating end, Koehn came out of the horrific experience with the affirmation that nursing was indeed her calling.

“I realized how easily acting on a situation came to me and that I’d rather run toward emergencies than away from them,” Koehn said.

Koehn grew up in Manawa, a small town of about 1,300 people in the heart of Waupaca County. She attended Little Wolf Jr. and Sr. High Schools and enjoyed everything her hometown had to offer–from Friday night football games to the annual rodeo in the summertime. Koehn credits her community for playing an important role in molding who she is and what she has become.

Shortly before Koehn’s graduation from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, she started looking for a full time nursing position. Not far into the applications process, Koehn learned that the school nurse position in her hometown school system had been posted. When Koehn heard the news, she felt as though it was fate.

“I was so excited about the opportunity of becoming the school nurse in my hometown. It was where I fell in love with the school nursing profession in the first place,” Koehn said.

Koehn was offered the job shortly after graduation. She explained that being a school nurse for the Manawa School District is her dream job because it will allow her to work with children of all ages, from pre-K to seniors in high school.

“I wanted to be involved in a school system because school has always been my happy place,” Koehn said. “I love to learn and teach others.”

Koehn loves that Manawa has a small school district where she is able to get to know the children and follow them throughout their school journeys. She will work with students at all grade levels and move between the schools as she is needed.

“Working with children and their health conditions, while being a source of information, is exactly what a dream job consists of for me,” Koehn said.


When asked about her time at UW Oshkosh, Koehn said that she chose the nursing program because of its prestigious reputation. Koehn believed the flexibility of the clinical options would be a perfect fit for her. Koehn said her favorite college classes were in the nursing program were pediatrics, childbearing families and community health nursing. She also loved her public health clinical course where she had the opportunity to get some nursing experience in both a jail and school setting while working with the Waupaca County public health department assisting with the WIC program.

“To me, nursing is an extremely meaningful profession where I can always feel as though I have done something to better the lives of others, which makes nursing not only my profession but also my purpose in life,” Koehn said.

Looking back, Koehn relizes that she has had many great opportunities and taught herself never to take anything for granted. She learned that many wonderful things can often present themselves in unexpected places. Koehn is a firm believer following your heart will lead you to exactly where you belong–and for Koehn, that was first at UW Oshkosh and now as a school nurse.

CON faculty member Patricia Vanderloop is sure that Koehn will lead a long and successful career as a nurse. Vanderloop said that with patients and families, Koehn is calm and caring. She values patient and family education and is very respectful of diverse cultural populations and ages, especially young families.

“I’m so happy for Olivia! I know that it is very difficult to be hired directly out of nursing school to such an independent position,” Vanderloop said. “I truly believe Olivia will be successful and serve her community well!”

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